Technology Is Bridging the Divide Between HR and Talent Acquisition

The following article is an excerpt from our most recent Breaking Down Silos: Bridging the Gap Between Talent Acquisition and HR. In this report, TTL’s experts collaborate to paint a full picture of the technology available to help break down unnecessary silos between human resources and Talent Acquisition. While this blog covers this specific topic, the entire Trends Report comes together to tie in expert Q&As, case studies, and more to further illustrate the impact of talent silos on HR and TA, respectively. 

Take a look at the entire Trends Report to grasp the full scope of how specialization and technology are changing the HR function.

At Talent Tech Labs, we organize the HR tech landscape – which consists of literally thousands of companies – into two broad ecosystems: Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. Historically, these two ecosystems developed independently and largely irrespective of each other, like two benevolent kingdoms close in proximity yet never engaging in trade or commerce. 

Over the last few years, driven by a variety of factors, the technology vendors that make up these “kingdoms” have begun to merge, building bridges between once disparate functions and paving the way for a potentially unified talent technology infrastructure. 

In this article, we examine how we got here, look at some of the early examples of vendor cross-expansion into Talent Management and Talent Acquisition, and consider the broader implications these developments will have on the Talent Acquisition function of the future.

The #HRtech landscape is changing. Learn how specialization and technology are breaking down silos between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management in our latest Trends Report. Share on X

Two Ecosystems Develop

In the Talent Acquisition technology ecosystem, recruiting and sourcing reign supreme. The cornerstone technology is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – the proverbial system of record into which (often several) sourcing, assessment, and selection tools are integrated. An increasingly common cornerstone application (at 63% Corporate adoption) is the Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system, which can act as both a recruitment marketing automation platform and as a candidate experience layer over the ATS. 

In the Talent Management technology ecosystem, employee experience and development are top priorities, and the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is the system of record organizations use to run their HR function or what other employee-facing tools such as learning systems, performance management, or listening systems must integrate with. 

Both of these anchor systems were designed to meet the needs of HR and Talent Acquisition administrators – particularly for risk management and compliance – and were not designed around employee or candidate experience. Thus, over the past decade, many point solutions came to the market to solve unique pain points across the candidate-employee lifecycle that were built with a more modern and digital consumer-oriented experience in mind. 

While individually, these point solutions provide a substantially better experience than their legacy (or, for some organizations, non-existent) counterparts, a limiting factor of this course of evolution was that eventually, talent technology infrastructure became “Frankensteined,” i.e., a collection of disparate point solutions more or less purchased at varying points in time for varying reasons and bolted together. 

The majority of these point solutions were designed around specific and niche use cases:

  • Matching
  • Resume parsing
  • Interview management
  • Interview scheduling
  • Video interviewing
  • Passive sourcing
  • Skills assessment and identification
  • External labor market analytics
  • Benefits administration
  • Learning content curation
  • Career discovery
  • Compensation management
  • Internal job search
  • Internal collaboration
  • Mentorship
  • And more

As a result, creating a holistic and seamless talent strategy underpinned with a core technology has become more difficult, given the variety of options and disparate feature sets on the market. 

That said, we are seeing two developments that hold some promise for a simpler and more technology-enabled future that spans the entirety of the talent lifecycle

Horizontal Expansion Within Each Ecosystem

The first development is rapid horizontal feature expansion among the vendors within each Ecosystem. This means that vendors are adding new features (whether through internal development or by acquiring other companies) to service a bigger piece of the pie within each respective ecosystem.  

For example, the ability to systematically text candidates was once a point solution that needed to be purchased; while still offered standalone, today, a majority of major ATS and CRMs on the market offer texting functionality natively as part of the platform. Video Interviewing platforms like HireVue have consumed other assessment providers and/or built their own libraries. They now offer holistic candidate assessment capabilities across a broad range of industries, roles, or psychometric capabilities. 

Similarly, modern learning platforms don’t just host content. They enable curated learning paths with both internal and external learning content and tie to workforce planning and analytics platforms that can map organizational capabilities and help inform recruiting and restructuring strategies. Employee listening is often still a bespoke exercise undertaken manually and annually, but many modern tools offer employee listening capabilities along with performance management to understand specific drivers of motivation and employee performance, helping organizations develop better people managers. 

Specialization and technology have revolutionized HR, but talent silos are still hindering its potential. Explore how vendor cross-expansions into Talent Management and Talent Acquisition can break down these silos in our latest Trends Report. Share on X

Bridging Gaps Between TA and HR

A newer trend, and arguably more powerful one, has been expansion not just within an ecosystem but across ecosystems, offering capabilities to both HR teams and Talent Acquisition teams. In most organizations, there are bespoke processes, systems, and organizational structures for hiring candidates and managing employees. That said, employees and candidates are often the same people; they just “live” in two systems. 

Given the increasing fluidity of the workforce, the rapidly changing skill needs of modern enterprises (which can change based on economic factors, the competitive landscape, or technological shifts), and the fact that TA and HR are significantly interrelated, there’s a compelling business case for more overlap in strategic process and technology between HR and Talent Acquisition to create holistic strategies that drive real business results.

Against this backdrop, we are starting to see early examples of cross-functional technology deployment. Arguably the most notable example is around internal talent marketplaces and skills platforms. While the category was pioneered by standalone solutions such as Gloat and Fuel50, Talent Acquisition platforms such as Eightfold, Seekout, and Phenom have added the ability to understand internal and external skills at the individual level across candidates, employees, and even the external market. Such insight is achieved by creating holistic profiles that show the entirety of experience and engagement with the organization regardless of current status or stage. Gloat recently launched the ability for candidates to explore career paths and suitability, providing a more personalized experience. 

The Current Market:

In the assessment space, we see organizations implement assessments post-hire to enhance learning content and provide a data-based approach to promotions, competency assessment, and lateral moves. Internal career sites are being infused with AI in order to proactively encourage existing employees to apply for roles they qualify for but might not be aware of or to connect with colleagues that can help fulfill an expressed career move.

Even technology as simple as engagement chatbots – which are often used at the top of the funnel in a recruiting context to pre-screen candidates or provide a more engaging apply experience – are starting to be leveraged in a post-hire context. Simply changing the context from screening candidates and providing info about a job to providing employees information about their benefits or an HR-related inquiry. With the recent introduction of generative AI tools, these capabilities will expand exponentially in extremely short order.

It’s important to note that technology shouldn’t lead your strategy process, but it definitely needs to enable it. And to the extent that your people strategy includes the ability to understand and provide a great experience to talent at whatever stage, department, system, or function in which they may sit, you will need technology that can span talent silos.

Why it Matters

These developments are important for two reasons. First, while people, process, and change management cannot be ignored, integrated technology is a critical and differentiating feature of the talent function of the future. It will have a significant impact on the results that HR and Talent Acquisition teams are able to deliver. Put simply, organizations (particularly larger ones) that leave their talent strategy to chance or ignore technology will be at a competitive disadvantage to organizations that invest the time to figure it out.

Second, while aligning a great people strategy to the right toolset can be challenging, it is possible, and organizations are achieving significant results today. In fact, technological capabilities are ahead of organizational capabilities in many cases. So, there is a huge opportunity for talent leaders to be champions of change in adopting technology that will position their organizations for success in the next decade and beyond. 

Overall, the emergence of cross-functional HR technology solutions represents a major shift in the HR industry. As we move towards a more integrated, data-driven model of HR, the boundaries between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management are becoming less relevant, and HR professionals are finding new ways to collaborate and achieve better results. By staying up-to-date with the latest HR tech trends and embracing the possibilities of cross-functional solutions, HR professionals can better position themselves and their organizations for success in the years to come.

Are you ready to gain expert insights into industry trends and take your strategy to the next level? Download the full Trends Report here and learn more about emerging developments across the field.