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The Shift From “HR” To Talent Management – to People Management?

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Business People ConceptJust a couple of decades ago, human resources was the umbrella term used to cover a range of activities from hiring to firing, and everything in between. HR's main job was seen as managing and supporting employee needs. Then came talent management.

Talent management was defined as “a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees.” In plain English, it meant that in order to run a company well, HR needed to focus on hiring the right people, keeping up with training and development, and retaining the best employees. A popular catchphrase used to describe the thinking behind this approach was "from pre-hire to retire."

In the past, HR handled hiring, training, and retention, often without much input from the team they were hiring for. With a talent management perspective, managers took a more active role in helping to identify and choose the people they wanted for their departments; HR was to focus more on administrative tasks like pay, vacation days, benefits, and complaints.

One major component of talent management was that it was supposed to be integrated with company-wide, long-term plans and overall business goals. And so is the new kid on the buzzword block: people management.

Why this, and why now? Because the “war on talent” has been raging on for years now, and the term "skills gap" is being used more and more, some have decided that a different approach is needed. And this approach focuses on three main issues: engagement, empowerment, and environment.

According to HR, talent management and leadership analyst Josh Bersin, the idea of "managing talent" needs to be replaced with "engaging people." Instead of seeing employees in terms of what productivity can be squeezed out of them, they need to be viewed as people. That sounds basic, right? But here's his breakdown of the differences between the two:

  • Talent management looks at identifying and incentivizing top talent.
  • People management is concerned with empowering and improving performance across the board, using coaching and management.
  • Talent management thinks of people in terms of their ability to add value to the organization and training them so they can deliver against business requirements.
  • People management sees each employee as an individual and strives to create an environment where those individuals want to contribute to the business mission, in a manner that suits them.

In short, if you create an attractive environment or culture to work in, then people will perform better. It's not a new concept, but maybe one that's been forgotten.

What do you think? Is Bersin on to something, or is talent management working just fine for you? And if you need assistance with your human resources function, please call Complete Payroll today.  We can help!

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