What Is the New HR?

Remember when our department was called “personnel”?  Then all of a sudden, management teams made the decision that personnel would be called “human resources”.  We got new business cards.  Did our job change?  Nope.

For the past few years, there’s been speculation that the term human resources is passé.  I went to a seminar last week that made me wonder if that just might be true.  The seminar was on Talent Management and, according to the presenter, it included:

  1. Analysis, sourcing and selection of the right people (i.e. talent acquisition)
  2. Training people to do their job (which includes on-boarding)
  3. Managing staff performance (as in a performance management process)
  4. Ensuring equitable compensation (i.e. wage and benefits administration)
  5. Rewards and recognition of talent (i.e. incentives and perquisites)
  6. Retention of top talent (including training, career development, career paths, etc.)
  7. Assessment of current and future staff (i.e. replacement and succession planning)
  8. Ensuring that staff are safe and healthy in the workplace (risk management)


Well, excuse me if I’m mistaken, but doesn’t that describe HR??  Before this workshop, I never thought of talent management as the “New HR”.  I thought of talent management as well, recruiting, staffing, on-boarding, retention …that kind of stuff.

It was interesting to hear much of what HR is responsible for lumped into this big term called “talent management”.  Does everything we do revolve around managing talent?  There’s an argument to be made that most of our time is spent getting, training, paying, recognizing or keeping talent.

The term Talent Management has been around for a while now.  But I doubt two people out of a hundred could agree on exactly what it encompasses.  Is it time to retire “human resources”?  Have we become “talent managers”?  Love to hear your thoughts on this one . . .