A Tale of Talent Management and Talent Experience

While I was still writing our Talent Management blog series, the importance of Talent Experience dawned upon me. This is not going to be a comparison blog, after all, talent management and talent experience aren’t the same. In this article, we will be exploring the evolution of integrated talent management(and how it feels dated now). We will also be looking at why ‘talent experiences’ are all the rage now in the HR market.

Having said this, it will help put things in perspective when you take a close look at how much HR tech is available right now. The craze for integrated HR solutions like integrated talent management is dying out. Talent experience solutions are making their mark in the market now.

History of integrated Talent Management

HR technology, like most trends now, follows the general tech and social trends. Automation was first introduced in HR around early 2000s. As soon as this first wave hit, a new market around ‘talent management’ tools came about to exist. Some of the early tools available were applicant tracking system(ATS), learning management system(LMS) and performance management systems(PMS). These tools broke the market open and have since become integral to HR operations in major companies.

Around 2006, competency-based job descriptions started to become a trend. Talent practices integrated around competencies helped this trend gain momentum. This gained momentum eventually fuelled the creation of ‘integrated talent system’ that ensured selection of right people as it was based on the job and competency models. It basically revolutionised the role HR played at that point of time. The word ‘integrated’ was at the core of this whole movement.

Building new integrated suites became very popular amongst the vendors. And thus, a decade of acquisition marathon started. While most of the companies vanished because of the giants eventually, many standalone ATS, LMS and PMS vendors had to pack up and leave the market. The focus was on creating an integrated version of existing tools. Issues like employee engagement, experience and diversity were not a concern at the time.

Cloud platforms and recession

With the massive recession in 2008, companies found it futile in investing huge sums of money in buying HR software. The scales tipped in favour of optimisation over integration. We optimise talent practices for output as cost reduction became the norm of the day.

Technology landscape changed with the introduction of iPhone in 2008. Other platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter gaining social attention, HR management became more focussed on the idea of engagement using mobile, video and social media.

With the launch of ‘born in the cloud’ Human Capital Management(HCM) systems, HR tech industry leapt into the future. The ease of use, low cost and cheaper operation, cloud-based platforms created the perfect storm. The HR tech industry at this point in time moved past older talent management systems that were essentially systems of record and the age of ‘engagement systems’ came to be. Social, mobile and analytics were still future trends and the cloud, their means of integration.

Digital Transformation, road to employee experience

Digital transformation was a major trend for CEOs around 2012, they started focussing on digital skills, agile transformation and new ways for managing jobs and careers. Meanwhile, HR departments became more focussed on culture, engagement and employment brand as the focus the recruiting market was being terraformed by industry leaders.

Economic growth in the sector has been steady for almost 12 years now, 40% of the workforce is independent today. An evolution in the nature of talent issues can be seen today. Finding smart people is a competition, transparency and mobility in the workplace are valued and a growth mindset is developing constantly. HR departments are now building a culture around trust, transparency, fairness and inclusion.

Business focus on productivity and stress levels of employees have led us to concentrate and focus more on ‘employee experience’.

A mindshift is seen in the way we approach HR issues now as opposed to older times. Integrated talent management has become a thing of the past. We now pay more attention to employees and how their work and personal life can be made better. And thus, we have moved on from ‘talent management’ towards ‘talent experience’.

Experience economy

How many of your encounters with HR were pleasant? I bet, not many. That’s not your problem anymore, unless you happen to work in HR, then, it is. In other words, HR is now responsible for fixing industry issues from the past. We take care of the integrated talent management issues behind the scenes.

When we take a closer look at our lives, younger people now prefer experiences over belongings. Otherwise, they become disengaged, they complain, post online about their ill-experience or just plain quit. HR all over need to step up their game to combat this.

Difficulty in creating ‘experience software’ still needs to be addressed. LMS market was disrupted with the sudden uptake in the Learning Experience Platforms. Similarly, talent experience vendors will be responsible for the disruption of talent management market.

Talent Experience Systems

Talent experience marketplace has just come into existence. This HR trend, unlike others, focuses on providing better standards for employee’s work, life and career and not on just automating HR. This is how the world of talent management has changed.

  • People don’t hold on to jobs that don’t satisfy them any more. Careers have become more flexible and cover a lot of things. They transition, move and work part-time. Side hustles are more common place.
  • Managers scheduling learning sessions is becoming old, employees now believe in perpetual learning and like to choose their own topics.
  • People no longer hold their breath for promotion. They like challenges on a regular basis and keep picking up new gigs and projects.
  • Employees have outgrown hierarchies, they prefer to work in teams. It keeps goals simple, transparent and makes updating easier.
  • Personal and financial fitness drives employees now. They are least worried about vacation policies, they crave wellbeing programs and mindfulness at the workplace.
  • Promotions are now data driven and awarded to people that are most likely to succeed and have extensive networking. Even younger people are given chances to prove themselves capable.
  • With the job descriptions constantly evolving, we need to do away with job descriptions and competencies. Analyse the capabilities you need the most by using systems and data, AI-based tools then help you perform better.

Focus on simplicity and productivity at work

Business now happens at a breathtaking pace. Doing away with job descriptions and competencies is a recent trend in HP. They took job titles out of the way to allow for more flexibility among their employees.

With increased global reach all companies are trying to make the most of a booming economy. The issues they face now are not the same as the ones they were facing during the last decade. Employees’ experience at work will continue to drive some major HR trends in the near future.


The take away from this article, if there is any, has to be that integrated talent management systems alone are not going to cut it in the future of workplace HR. You need to constantly plan for the wellbeing of employees on all fronts and develop thriving and encouraging cultures at workplaces. We openly embrace the transformation in the roles HR and include a lot more responsibilities than previously thought possible. Look future ward, embrace the challenges and transform with the new age.

Wondering how we manage and engage our own employees? Checkout our platform today.

We are really happy that we stumbled upon Josh Bersin’s take on this topic, it helped us with our article a lot.

Stay tuned for more updates. You can visit our website to connect.

Also, read our blog on Talent Experiences

Blog Cover Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash