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#HRTechChat: What’s the Difference?

Between workforce management and talent management, that is. We’ve erected an artificial partition. Haven’t we? Or have we? Don’t technologies for the two reside along an unbroken spectrum of the employee lifecycle? We’re stealing this week’s idea for #HRTechChat. 
It’s Just Semantics
#HRTechChat Episode Thirty-Four takes place on Friday, Oct. 5, at 2pm ET / 11am PT. We'll explore the confluence of HR technology and semantics around workforce management vs. talent management vs. human capital management. Back in February—and then, again, in AugustWorkforce Magazine’s Senior Editor Ed Frauenheim (@edfrauenheim) did a fantastic job of laying out the case in favor of dropping the term talent management from HR’s lexicon. The past year’s large acquisitions in the HR technology marketplace have him—and us—wondering whether or not the term talent management will start to be called something else. What will that new term be, and how will it affect the ways we think about HR technologies?
One option is just to call the management of the entire employee lifecycle workforce management, a term that today refers only to the administrative tedium that leads people outside human resources to conclude that the HR professional’s job is all about time, attendance and payroll, and not much else. That probably won't work. The other thing about workforce management, the term, is that it fails to imply management of talent before or after that talent is a part of an organization’s workforce.
Talent lifecycle management—that's another term. How does it feel? Yes, it feels a lot like talent management. And that brings us back to the term talent management itself. What’s wrong with it, other than its genesis in a contrivance more than 10 years ago? Well, we refer you back to Frauenheim's thoughts.
For the Sake of Conversation...
For the sake of conversation this Friday, let’s say that workforce management and talent management are both terms that insufficiently describe the entire talent management lifecycle, and that talent lifecycle management, as accurate as it might be, sounds too much like talent management. That brings us to human capital management, which is accurate in standing for everything that HR practitioners do. And it's sterile. We’re equating humans to capital, which ought to be money, right? If we had to replace workforce management, talent management, human capital management, and even talent lifecycle management with another term to cover it all, what would that term be? A new term would probably change our thinking about human resource technology.
Ships Leaving Ports
The semantics will evolve anyway, so let’s do our part to try to steer them in a premeditated direction. Back to Frauenheim’s articles—workforce management technology vendors are stocking up on talent management functionality en masse. Whether they’re building it in-house or, more often, buying other companies or partnering with them, the trend is undeniable. At some point, they’ll want to call the aggregate of what they do one thing, not two things (or more). That thing needs to be something, and the technology around the semantics will need to fit together.
#HRTechChat Episode Thirty-Four: Join Us on Fri 10/5 @ 2pm ET / 11am PT
On Friday, Oct. 5, at 2pm ET / 11am PT, we’re going rethink some semantics, because, actually, it isn’t just semantics. Semantics mean something. So let’s get our semantics in order. Workforce management and talent management will converge. That’s evolution, baby. What should we call talent lifecycle management without calling it that or human capital management, either? How can HR avoid referring to humans as capital and still manage them along their entire career paths, whenever their two paths meet? At about 2pm ET / 11am PT this Friday, @talentmgmttech will begin tweeting the following questions with our hash tag. Watch for them, and please weigh in with your wisdom:

  • Q1: Where are the intersections between #wfm & #talentmanagement? #HRTechChat
  • Q2: In what ways is #hrtech for #wfm already tending to #talentmanagement? How so? Why? #HRTechChat
  • Q3: We categorize #wfm & #talentmanagement separately. So, where are the missed opportunities in #hrtech? #HRTechChat
  • Q4: Without calling it “human capital management,” what’s a good term that semantically captures all #HCM? #HRTechChat
  • Q5: We’ve seen much M&A this year in #hrtech. How is it affecting #wfm vs. #talentmanagement? How will it? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO: What are your suggestions for future #HRTechChat topics?

#HRTechChat thanks its friends at #TChat World of Work. And #HRTechChat Co-founder and Lead Co-host Brent Skinner (@brentskinner), tech editor for HRO Today, thanks #HRTechChat’s other co-founder, #TChat Co-founder Meghan M. Biro (@MeghanMBiro). And they both thank Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean), #HRTechChat’s co-host at-large. Please join them this Friday, Oct. 5, at 2pm ET / 11am PT for a “tweetiful” time.