The terms talent acquisition and talent management are often used interchangeably. At the outset, it is vital to distinguish between the two – especially in today’s dynamic and globally integrated workplace, where almost every function is carried out by a specialist. Talent acquisition is the process of hiring skilled employees for specific roles, and involves not just recruitment but building a strong employer brand to attract the right candidates. It is basically checking the boxes before a candidate is hired. However, it is not enough to just hire the right candidate. At the end of the day, even, in fact especially, the brightest employees have to be engaged and retained. It is herein – after acquisition has been completed – that the role of a talent management professional begins.
Managing the right talent is not easy. Just as an organisation will have expectations from its people, employees shall have some hopes of their organisation. Professional growth aside, employees today focus strongly on personal development at their workplaces. A talent management specialist ensures that employees, once hired by acquisition specialists, are continuously motivated through training programs, mentoring, rewards and promotions when the time is right and / or ripe. Though these roles may sound vastly different, they complement each other with the final goal, the welfare of both the organisation and the employees.
A talent management specialist’s job follows immediately after a talent acquisition specialist’s job. The right talent management strategy can help improve retention and prevent attrition, through career pathing. Employees often need a sense of direction, and to feel that each step forward is towards realising their dreams alongside their organisation’s. Not only that, one needs to realise where the potential of an employee lies. For example, in a multi-functional role such as marketing, somebody who is good at direct sales needs to realise and implement her / his full potential to be able to make the most of the job role. If the candidate’s / employee’s soft skills are not identified and worked upon, it is very easy for such performers to lose focus and motivation. This will not only be a loss to the organisation in terms of a great asset, but also monetarily, with the company having to shell out at least 5-6 times the salary of that employee to hire a replacement. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a talent management specialist to ensure a situation as such does not arise, and if it has arisen, to identify internal candidates to fulfill positions so that losses are minimised.
What, in parallel, is important to understand, is that talent management is not a one-time affair. It is a continuous process in building the culture of an organisation via engaging the most crucial element of any workplace – its people. While annual performance reviews, promotions and rewards are great, incentives work only for so long. Multiple innovations have come about in organisations to engage new and existing hires appropriately. Learning and development, mentoring programs, company off sites, team building activities, buddy programs, rewards and recognition and mental well-being programs are among several such tools talent management teams use to imbibe and build organisational culture.
It must be ensured while hiring and within the first three months that not only are the employees hired aligned with the overarching vision of the organisation, but somewhere, each employee’s beliefs and goals complement that of the organisation’s. This can only happen if the talent acquisition and talent management teams work in tandem. Therefore, while their jobs roles may be different, both are functions of human resources and akin to two sides of a coin.
It is interesting to see how human resources has now turned into the growth engine of organisations. No longer is it a profession that is reviled by many and exists in isolation. An HRD professional will inevitably end up knowing the nitty-gritties and complexities of all job roles by dint of having to interact with employees across departments and sectors. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep learning and developing with a dynamic job culture. Several options exist for human resource professionals to enhance their skills and adapt to the rapid changes and innovations being brought in across sectors. Top-notch institutes such as the IIMs realise the need of the hour and are today offering learn-while-you-work courses specially for HRD professionals to realise their full potential. Initiatives such as The Second Wind by Times Professional Learning are continuously encouraging working individuals to upskill, by partnering with educational institutions to provide infrastructure and technology for these courses.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it”.
This quote perfectly encapsulates the importance of and difference between talent acquisition and talent management, and how they work best when hand-in-glove, rather than in isolation.