How is Talent Management Different than Traditional Human Resources?

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Today many businesses are talking about talent management, but is this just another face of human resources? The answer is that it isn’t a different face, but a part of the HR face, like a nose is a part of the human face. It is a concentration within the human resources department of a company, and it has advantages and disadvantages.

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Defining the Term

For any discussion to occur, the term must first be defined. This is a program within the HR department of a company that concentrates on recruiting, evaluating and retaining quality corporate employees. It also includes the concepts of onboarding, compensation planning, learning and development and career planning. Those things are also included in regular human resource practices, so what is different? The difference is in the focus of the program. The human resource department focuses on the big picture for all employees. That includes labor relations, salaries and legal issues, among other things. The process of managing talent focuses on selecting a few employees with the characteristics needed to rise in the corporate system and developing them.

Is It Necessary?

While businesses once were local companies that just competed with other merchants on Main Street, they now compete with huge conglomerates in a global market. The rising costs of doing business, including exporting and importing, staying on top of marketing and the complexities of international culture and legal differences require corporations to employ people who will give them the best return on their investment in them. One business blog said that 83 percent of businesses depend on their talent management programs to impact their business performance.

How is Talent Management Different than Traditional Human Resources


All of this competition makes the business world today an employee’s market in terms of talented executives. Businesses often secretly recruit the talent of other companies, luring them away with higher benefits and the promise of a path to promotion. Forbes Magazine says that the biggest asset a corporation has is its people. Recruiting the best managers, then onboarding them to corporate culture, investing in developing their abilities and planning a career for them that may eventually make them a candidate for successor is a recognized way to keep a healthy business environment.


It has been said that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and while that is certainly true, the business world has changed. An article in INC. maintained that 99.7 percent of all businesses in the US are small businesses. Depending upon the industry, a small business could be one that employs a maximum of 250 employees, or it could have a workforce of 2,500. In the US, nearly 90 percent of companies have 20 employees or fewer. For those companies, some of which are one-man operations, this procedure is too costly. It may require technology upgrades and other expenses that make it prohibitive to companies on a small profit margin. Additionally it can actually contribute to workplace discontent as businesses with high turnovers concentrate on the few employees they recognize as “ good investments.”
Still, for those companies large enough to have corporate boards and levels of management, this specialty of human resource departments is a new reality. It helps them to gain an edge over the competition and ensures a line of succession for the upper-level management positions in the corporation. As INC and Forbes both point out, the difference in HR and Talent Management is the focus on the long term.

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