Talent Management and Human Resources — the difference

Amelia Jackson
3 min readAug 23, 2021

If the top leadership of an organization is asked whether talent management is important to them, the answer is very unlikely to be a ‘No’. The difference between it and HR, however, is not always crystal clear. HR, simply speaking, is considered to be the team that hires and terminates employees, while the former is sometimes considered to be a more creative reference to the HR department and its responsibilities.

What is talent management?

Talent management refers to the strategy of the organization to attract, recruit, retain, and develop people. According to the course on ‘Human Resource Talent Strategy’ at Michigan State University, it is defined as the “systemic, planned effort to attract, retain, develop and motivate highly skilled employees and managers.”

This effort is exerted over the long term, and aims to build the talent in an organization by developing “a stable (but dynamic) workforce that thrives in your organization’s value system, while simultaneously filling gaps with new perspectives and skills.” The aim of this effort is to encourage employees to work to their highest potential as well as to value, nurture, and appreciate their talent in the organization. It offers a chance to beat the competition by innovating in how the workforce talent is managed.

What is human resource management?

Human resource management (HRM) delivers the core HR requirements and services to the organization. It covers day-to-day operations conducted by HR professionals as well as the procedures and processes having a bearing on the work of every employee. HR is a department every employee interacts with at some time, be it for interviews, training, or any personnel issues.

Some of the roles and responsibilities within HRM are as follow:

HR managers: These are the supervisors in the HR team, and they work with other departments to understand their people needs and to thereby identify and target the right candidates for job openings.

HR specialists: Also within the HR team, these are the people focusing on administering and executing particular responsibilities, such as compensation and benefits, compliance and safety, data management, training and development, and complaint management and resolution.

Do HR and talent management overlap?

The two are not alternatives, really — they are not two different approaches to a common goal, and there no question of making a choice. Managing talent is essentially one of the overall responsibilities handled by HR professionals. The full list of HR responsibilities is explained below:

  1. Administration: Core HR needs i.e. traditional, back-office responsibilities of HR
  2. Service delivery: Maintaining HR channels of communicating information to the workforce
  3. Managing talent: Processes related to attracting, recruiting, developing, and retaining people; the strategy to grow and maintain a workforce that gives a competitive edge
  4. Managing the workforce: Budgets, forecasts, schedules, and other attendance- and time-related tasks that help to optimize productivity and resources

Is a talent management strategy important for a business?

Statistics give a great answer to this. Talent management strategy was the focus of the efforts of 57 percent of HR leaders in 2016 looking to measurably impact their business performance. In 2019, the proportion rose to 83 percent!

The connection between the two disciplines is that the strategy for managing talent is what drives the decisions and actions of the HR team. And given how it is critical to leverage employee talent, the most important resource of the organization, managing talent must be fully integrated into the approach followed by the HR team.

How can a professional develop better skills in managing talent?

The best way is to opt for a good talent management certification program. When offered by a credible, respected institution, a talent management certification ensures the candidate has the latest skills and knowhow in managing talent. It also serves as indelible proof for the employer that the candidate has the requisite capabilities and can take on critical people roles and responsibilities in the organization.



Amelia Jackson

Human Resource Professional. Passionate about Human Resources. Writing has always been a passion with strong interest in talent management & HR Industry.