Friday, November 22, 2013

What Is The Talent Of Talent Acquisition?

Whenever, in the context of HR or hiring, I hear or see the phrase Talent Acquisition it creates a tiny speed bump within me. I need to slow down and navigate around it because I can't get the actor/artist meaning of the word out of my head. It must have something to do with living in Las Vegas.

So why the trip-up? Because it strikes me as a marketing phrase conjured up to promote "on-boarding" HR software. Thinking back, the term human resources hit me in a similar way when I first heard it, producing a mind picture of hoards of fenced-in humans ready to be used or put into service in some way. Okay it's just me, but why not simply say employee acquisition or employee department? Why the necessity to garnish and spin it?

Setting the forgoing aside, it's clear that talent (broadly defined) will become a very big deal in the job market going forward. I get it that out-and-out workplace superstars will be easily identified and described in terms of talent but what about Everyday Joe and Jane? As Tyler Cowen points out, everything in the workplace of tomorrow will be measured, rated, and graded (computers and digits of course, ruling the day). Therefore it follows that talent (traditionally the realm of the right brainers) will be measured, rated, and graded too (the act of which is the very essence of the left brainers).


Think about this. Quantifying talent on a mass scale - it's funny and chilling at the same time. I can only imagine where this is headed given the current trajectory. But what of the "it's more of an art than a science" argument? Will talent acquisition get to the point of stultification? (Note: a flash of the sadly performing Affordable Care website raced through my head ... huh, a little talent acquisition needed there, wouldn't you say?)

Anyhoo, imagine companies of the future, hamstrung in measurement mediocrity, chucking the whole rating and grading by digits stuff and going back to hiring the old school human-to-human way?

Nah, won't happen, but the ride will be interesting.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

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