HR or Talent Management: What is the difference? | culp

HR or Talent Management: What is the difference?

By admin Business, Talent Management No Comments on HR or Talent Management: What is the difference?

The title of this blog post suggests that there is a choice. What it should really be is; HR and talent management, are you doing them both? But the reason for this blog is that there is still confusion about the difference between what HR does and what talent management is (and does).

As an organisation having one without the other is possible, but not advisable if you want to achieve your organisational goals effectively. Can you have HR without talent management or vice versa? Yes, absolutely and many organisations today do and are performing well.

The question is why is there not a concentrated effort on talent management to enhance performance?

Let’s look at the definitions:

Amongst 89 million other Google search results. The definition of talent management, Josh Bersin defines the concept of “integrated talent management” as not only a process to integrate dozens of different HR and training practices — it is really a tool which helps your business leaders make better decisions and operate more effectively. Still confused?

Talent management is a framework for how an organisation strategically approaches the acquisition, development, engagement, retention, performance and planning of their talent to achieve business goals.

Amongst 471 million other Google search results. The definition for human resource management from is; the formal systems divided for the management of people within an organisation such as staffing, employee compensation and benefits, and defining/designing work.

According to Wikipedia, HR is the strategic approach to the effective management of people in a company or organisation such that they help the business gain a competitive advantage.

It is clear that both HR and talent management objectives are to support the organisation achieve its goals.

Let’s break it down. What exactly falls under the remit of talent management?

  • Succession and workforce planning
  • Talent acquisition, recruitment and selection
  • Onboarding
  • Employee engagement and motivation
  • Learning & development, training and career paths
  • Performance management
  • Reward and recognition

What exactly makes up the contemporary HR portfolio? (in no particular order)

  • EVP
  • Employer brand
  • Talent acquisition, recruitment and selection
  • Assessments
  • Onboarding and induction
  • Performance management
  • Transformation (skills development BBBEE)
  • Employment equity*
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Talent management
  • Learning and development
  • HR policy, process and procedures
  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Health & wellness
  • Internal communication
  • Employee engagement / experience
  • Culture management and values
  • Leadership development
  • Organisational effectiveness & development
  • Labour law & legal compliance – IR, ER, CCMA
  • Change management
  • HR technology / HRIS
  • HR metrics and analytics
  • People management

As you can see, the modern HR portfolio is vast and generalist. It requires a deep overlap of right and left brain-thinking, a purple squirrel if you will. A specialist in all 24 HR domains does not exist in one person! What we are seeing is specialisation evolve, particularly in this gig and remote working economy. How can any organisation’s HR operating model be strategic across all domains? It simply cannot!

In effect, talent management is the specialisation of HR domains that focus specifically on people, key processes and systems that drive organisational effectiveness and business impact. The talent management approach is a tool that allows line managers to become talent managers themselves with HR supporting and guiding their needs and the employee experience.

This approach shifts the mindset of HR from being a barrier to business (which sadly in most cases it is), to HR providing a tool and framework for managers to effectively manage talent, teams and productivity.

So what is the difference between talent management and HR? The difference is nothing, there is no difference.

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