“Talent Management? Isn’t That for Hollywood?”

“Talent management? Isn’t that for Hollywood?” asks Josh Bersin, speaking at the HR Tech conference, held recently in Las Vegas. Bersin, a highly respected consultant who is Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting, offered his research and tips for succeeding with the new talent agenda.

Most of HR is designed for long-term employment, he says, but the recession, coupled with the ages of employees, leads to a much more mobile workforce, and that’s a really critical issue for 2015.

Bersin’s research shows the following top talent priorities:

Top Global Talent Priorities


Percent of respondents rating “Urgent” or “Important”

Leadership Gaps


Retention & Engagement


Reskilling HR


Talent Acquisition & Access


Workforce Capabilities


Talent & HR Analytics


Globalized HR & Talent Management


Integrated HR Technology


Reinvent L&D


Fix Performance Management


The Overwhelmed Employee


Diversity & Inclusion


We used to look at these priorities as separate silos, says Bersin:

  • Learning and Development
  • Sourcing and Recruiting
  • Performance Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Workforce Planning
  • Compensation and Benefits

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We realized that an integrated approach was needed, says Bersin, but the old idea of integrated talent management didn’t work, for four main reasons:

  • Slow response to changing business needs
    • Inability to identify current and future talent gaps
    • Hiring strategy and development planning not in sync
    • No clear picture of future “talent profile”
    • Leadership pipelines in jeopardy
  • Disconnected decision making
    • Data and processes not integrated
    • Talent not shared across business units
    • Learning plans not linked to assessments and skills gaps in current talent pool
    • Lack of visibility into talent gaps
  • Not responsive to employee demands
    • Career development wanted
    • Defined career paths and competencies not clear and consistent
    • Talent mobility difficult during change
    • Managers still the weakest link in organizational performance
  • Administratively intensive
    • Repetitive data entry
    • High volume of manual work to complete HR review processes
    • Difficult to obtain executive-level talent information
    • Hard to plan for the future

Today, everything touches everything.  We need a holistic view, says Bersin, who offers this chart to help HR managers envision this new approach. If you have the right people, and you master the central point—driving engagement and retention—your problems go away, he says.

Copyright 2014 Deloitte Development LLC

Top Practices in Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is the most important challenge of all, says Bersin. He offers the following 12 practices that will lead to success in talent acquisition:

  • Hiring Manager Relationships
  • Candidate Pool Development
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Recruiter Training
  • Governance & Decision Making
  • Employee Referral Program
  • TA Program Management
  • Optimized TA Technology
  • Diverse Candidate Slates
  • Employment Branding
  • Assessment Against Requirements
  • Reporting & Analytics

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Talent Acquisition Maturity Model

Bersin’s model posits four levels of talent acquisition maturity, with Level 4 being the most advanced.



% at that level

Level   4

Optimized Talent Acquisition
Strategic enabler of the business. Successful social media campaign.
Recruiter training builds strategic capabilities. Ability to predict external forces and remain agile.

13 %

Level 3


Integrated Talent Acquisition
Strong employment brand. Active pipeline of candidates. Robust TA programs (e.g., diversity, alumni, employee referral). Investment in new talent acquisition products and services.


Level 2

Standardized Operational Recruiting
Effective assessment of candidates against job requirements. Begin to establish strong relationships with hiring managers. Some link to workforce planning. Standard interview documents.


Level 1

Reactive Tactical Recruiting
Recruiters are “order takers;” posting of positions on an as-needed basis. Minimal hiring compliance standards met; no real processes defined. No strategic focus on candidate experience.


What Difference Does It Make?

Bersin’s research found that Level 4 organizations are 2.6 times more likely to perform higher than organizations at Level 1 across all talent acquisition performance drivers.

The top three drivers of talent acquisition maturity are:

  1. Building strong relationships with hiring managers. You have to coach your line managers and give them tools.
  2. Cultivating pools of potential candidates long before hire. “Bring them into your ecosphere,” Bersin says, as Zappos is famously doing now.
  3. Driving the employment brand.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, more from Bersin, plus an introduction to the complimentary webcast download from iCIMS, Creating Talent Pools to Fill Your Pipeline.

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