HR in the Talent Economy

In the decade of human capital, HR is in the driver’s seat.

By Henry G. Jackson March 1, 2016

March 2016 HR Magazine cover0708CEO-Page.jpgAs business leaders, we keep a constant eye on the economy. How it grows, shrinks, overperforms or underperforms impacts our organizations. As HR professionals, we must also be aware of how the changing supply and demand of workers affects our companies’ ability to meet goals. This is the impact of what I call the talent economy—and it’s a volatile element.

Talent is now more global, mobile and social than ever before. The job market is stronger, and the competition for talent is intense. Today, if you ask any leader what is most important to business success, he or she will tell you it’s all about people—attracting, engaging and retaining them. That’s why I say we are in the decade of human capital. In this environment, the competitive difference between the highest-performing companies and everyone else no longer lies just with technology or innovative products but with exceptional people strategies.

Consider the worldwide coffee chain Starbucks, named one of Fortune’sWorld’s Most Admired Companies” in 2015. Starbucks has become known not only for what many consider a great cup of coffee but also for the way it treats its employees, who are referred to as “partners.” As Starbucks’ chief partner resources officer Scott Pitasky shares in this month’s issue of HR Magazine, “I’ve never been at a place where HR is so central to the success and future of the company, and that’s because the partner experience is the core of the business.”

Although not every organization has found its version of the Starbucks people model, more and more leaders are recognizing that, to compete in business today, they need the most talented people and teams possible.

In turn, HR and recruitment professionals are feeling the pressure to identify those star performers. According to the results of a 2015 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, turnover was the top challenge HR faced—and recruitment has ticked up the list. Further underscoring the idea that companies recognize the need for effective people management strategies now and in the years ahead, “HR manager” made lists of the best jobs in 2016 by CareerBuilder and Glassdoor, based on factors such as job openings, career growth and earning potential.

Demand for comprehensive talent management strategies is at an all-time high.

This is why, at SHRM, we are stepping up our efforts to help you find and attract top talent. You can expect more SHRM research, resources and events focused on talent acquisition in the year ahead—from our Talent Acquisition & Talent Management e-newsletter to our Talent Management Conference & Exposition, to be held April 18-20 in Orlando, Fla.

In today’s talent economy, HR is in the driver’s seat. According to Pitasky, “There is so much opportunity to do less chasing and more leading.” I could not agree more.

I urge you to seize this unmatched opportunity to lead your organization by building and sustaining the talented teams your company depends on. And know that, along the way, you can turn to SHRM as a resource.



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.


HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.