What is Talent Management, and How is it Different From HR?

Talent management is a function within HR and can help attract, develop, and retain your workforce.

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Learn what talent management is and why it’s an important business strategy

The idea of Talent Management (TM) began to emerge in the 90s. When McKinsey launched the concept of “The War For Talent,” companies began to tune in and recognize the importance of developing the skills of its people and nurturing their internal talent.

Many consider TM as a company’s strategy towards managing its talent. John Hopkins University defines TM as, “a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees.”

Today, TM is a growing field emerging across industries and companies of all sizes.

There are many contributing factors to today’s increasing need for strong TM strategies:

  • The difficulties involved in replacing the large population of an aging workforce
  • The changing intrinsic desires of the employee, who now prefer to be pickier with their roles. Many employees now care less about job security and more about autonomy and balance
  • People now have more options and are less confined by geographical borders that once existed

Despite these changes, talent still remains the central component of any company’s success. This is where both Human Resources and TM have the opportunity to reinvent themselves and play a key role in maintaining the growth of their company’s top talent.

Having a TM plan in place will not only elevate your overall HR capabilities but act as a competitive advantage.

The role of HR

HR is the function in the company which – as its name reveals — takes care of and oversees its humans.

Traditional HR is responsible for everything that affects the employee experience, and can cover policies such as:

  • Making sure to pay people accordingly
  • Managing administration of employee information
  • Creating a strong benefits program
  • Creating company policies around dress code
  • Parental leave
  • Pets
  • Handling employee grievances
  • Maintaining and adhering to employment laws

HR will help support businesses in different ways and help advise the leadership team on matters related to its personnel.

What is Talent Management

Talent management is a company’s approach towards developing, growing, and retaining its best talent. Its mission is to build and maintain your workforce in order to achieve your company goals. It is a function that sits under the umbrella of HR.

TM has the following 3 pillars in its foundation:

  1. Attracting employees: This can be anything from workforce planning, job role definitions and descriptions, recruitment strategy, employer branding, building relationships with universities, and anything else that helps grow their talent pool.
  2. Developing employees: This typically focuses training and development and career development. Leadership development is a huge part of a successful TM strategy and can help create a culture of internal promotion.
  3. Retaining employees: Performance appraisals, succession planning, and having a better understanding of why people leave a company are all tactics used in employee retention.

In some organizations, there are “Talent Management Professionals” whose jobs oversee things like employee onboarding, cultivating mentorship programs, creating career paths, and more. This is becoming more common, as 88% of organizations with an annual revenue of  > $2.5 billion report having TM as a standard part of their HR function, according to a report by The Talent Strategy Group.

However, the responsibility of talent management goes beyond just HR and involves buy-in from the company’s executive levels and managers. According to the Talent Strategy Group report, 69% of their survey participants said the support of the CEO and Executive Team are “the two largest factors in making Talent Management successful.”

Leadership development, succession planning, coaching, and mentoring should be top of mind for every leader in order to create a culture of TM. These efforts are becoming increasingly more important, as being able to attract the right people into the organization.

Where HR and TM intersect

HR and TM often go hand in hand. TM is a function within HR, and they can partner to create a vision and to execute a strategy. Talent management is the strategy created to help attract, develop, and retain your workforce, and HR typically partners with managers in the business to implement the strategies and influence the needed behaviors.

Having a TM plan in place will not only elevate your overall HR capabilities but act as a competitive advantage. The best strategy is one where HR business partners and TM professionals work with synergies and alignment as they roll out their strategies to the larger organization.

How will your talent management strategies engage your top talent in 2020?

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