Generally, everyone in HR and recruiting says that they want to be more
strategic. But it takes more than just using the word "strategic" to actually
become strategic. As a former chief talent officer, I can assure you that most
recruiting managers have not yet made the transition into becoming strategic. In
fact, there's little chance that recruiting will transition into "talent management"
Many in recruiting use the term strategic without actually knowing it's meaning.
In business, the term means having a long-term impact on corporate goals and
objectives. To the traditional recruiting function, making the strategic transition
means that rather than focusing on short-term HR goals like filling reqs or
setting up interviews, they must instead directly impact corporate goals like
revenue growth, customer satisfaction, product development, market share or
These measures of success are dramatically different than most current metrics,
where success is measured in recruiting terms like cost per hire and time to fill.
It must become obvious to everyone that cutting the "cost of hire" by 10% in a
function that costs less than .01% of all corporate expenditures cannot have any
strategic impact on corporate costs. A true "talent manager" instead tries to
impact the revenue side of the profit equation by focusing on the business units
and jobs with the most impact. Rather than just putting "butts in chairs," the
talent function also focuses on the quality of hire, the fit (manager, team and
job), retention, and forecasting future problems that impact the productivity of
The scope of talent management is broader than recruiting because it also
involves not just new hires but workforce planning, redeploying workers within
the company, and "on-boarding," or orientation. Talent management is the
acquisition, retention, movement and release of workers in order to maximize
the productivity of a company's talent inventory.
A strategic talent manager doesn't necessarily "own" each of the above activities,
but he or she certainly coordinates with each and ensures that the entire talent
pipeline is constantly supplied and being updated so that the net measurable
impact on a business is an increase in workforce productivity (workforce or
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