Breaking Down Silos

Breaking Down Silos: Why Companies Are Taking a More Holistic Approach to Talent Acquisition Leadership


TA leaders are regularly taking on more than TA. Why, and what impact does that have on the kind of conversations they're having with execs and bottom-line impact to talent strategy? I cover that in my latest LinkedIn Talent Blog post where I highlight how TA leaders have expanded their roles into onboarding, DEI, L&D, internal mobility, and more.

This blog post first appeared on Linked Talent Blog.

LI Talent blog

I recall the late 1990s when some of us were calling for recruiting to live outside of HR. It was a time of massive change, as companies invested heavily in corporate recruiting teams. Sourcing, employer branding, metrics, and an onslaught of ATSs were all hot topics at recruiting conferences. And traditional HR didn’t seem like the place for this critical function to report into. 

We were headhunting, we could measure everything we did (not really) better than the rest of HR, and we felt we were more like sales and marketing than the world of HR generalists. (Side note: I recall the time our newly hired CHRO came to talk to my experienced recruiting team and said, “If you work hard enough, you could become an HR generalist someday.” Um, nope!)

Fast forward and today’s modern TA (talent acquisition/recruiting) leader is thinking it’s time to get the band back together.


Because the business wants, even needs, holistic talent leadership from us and — maybe because of COVID era leadership — sees many of us in TA leadership roles as the most capable to take responsibility for things like internal mobility, onboarding, rewards, and more. 

I’ve interviewed a number of global TA leaders about their evolution from pure TA leadership to something broader, something more like talent management (including TA). If you’re in a TA leadership role and see opportunities to make a bigger impact or you just want an idea of how other TA leaders are growing in their careers and — gasp! — possibly even setting themselves up to be CPO/CHROs someday, read on.

TA + Onboarding

“In a rapidly moving landscape, talent challenges are intensifying,” says Tom Simons, global director of talent acquisition for Google DeepMind, which is based in the U.K. “Skill sets are evolving quickly, geographies are broadening, and the backdrop of the market is super competitive. I’ve expanded TA over the past year — now I also lead onboarding and sit on the senior people and culture leadership team, which gives me more insights and the ability to input into the holistic talent strategy.”

Tom’s team gets the questions from new hires and captures candidate and new-hire feedback that informs his onboarding strategy. “There’s a much better feedback loop now,” he says, “so we can bring insights into our new-req kickoff meetings with hiring managers to predict challenges and recommend better onboarding to help set our employees up for success.” 

He added: “We bring insights from hiring and new hire experience into the broader HR strategy conversations now.” 


Tara Hsu, global head of TA for Marvell Technology in California, leveraged her success in TA to take on more responsibility in areas like DEI, internal mobility, immigration, relocation, contingent workforce, and apprentice programs. “I’ve been able to eliminate a lot of misalignment between these areas now that I lead more previously siloed programs,” Tara said. “When I speak to the C-suite now, I can speak more holistically, which makes a big difference in DEI, for example.”

TA + Talent Development + Employee Engagement

Manjuri Sinha’s role at OLX expanded from TA into a new group called talent success, which includes talent development, employee engagement, DEI, internal mobility, and other areas. Why did her role expand? “It was a combination of things,” Manjuri said, “some silo-breaking, some reorg and streamlining, some moving to a systemic HR model (Josh Bersin model), and some because the confidence my boss had in me and my team to prioritize business needs and deliver.”  

“My conversations with executives have become much more strategic and overarching. For example, in a recent workforce planning meeting, I’m now leading conversations around buy and build, what skills we need to hire, and what skills we can grow internally, with a clear owner for an integrated plan.” 

She added: “With my focus on employees — not just candidates — I’ve expanded candidate-focused employer branding to broader talent branding, which includes much more internal comms, events, and engagement work, all of which helps with retention.” 

I asked her if she had any hard ROI metrics to share as a result of your move into these other areas? “Yes,” she said. “This helped me build a streamlined, end-to-end talent strategy that drove internal mobility up by 40% year over year and even engagement up by 11 points, which is now four points ahead of the tech industry benchmark.” 

TA + Internal Mobility

Esra Huseyinzadegan, the head of global TA at Namecheap, is based in Turkey and is one of several leaders I spoke with who have taken on internal mobility. Esra shared: “Internal mobility required a single point of contact and more synergies across business units, and I was asked to take it on due to the success I had in transforming our recruiting team from an order-taker model to true talent advisors. It was a natural extension of my role.”

She added: “When I took on internal mobility, I had the opportunity to engage with parts of our business that didn’t typically hire externally, so it wasn’t previously a major focus. This allowed me to add more value to a segment of our business that primarily hires internally.”

TA + Global Mobility + Rewards

Yasar Ahmad, who started as the VP of talent for HelloFresh, has expanded his role several times after proving he could deliver as his company doubled from 10,000 to almost 20,000 employees during the pandemic. Why was he asked to take on more? “Honestly, it wasn’t just because I was a strong TA leader,” Yasar said. “Really, it was because I was a transformation leader — a change leader is what was needed in those other areas.” 

At first, he took on global mobility, including internal mobility and relocation. And as he succeeded in those areas, he realized he could do some silo-busting within his own team, looking to expand the scope of some of his direct reports. He started combining teams like branding and sourcing. And now that he owns internal comms and rewards as well, he’s seeing his ability to credibly and confidently lead strategic QBRs (quarterly business [talent] reviews) with the business as a way to better engage execs, get proactive with talent needs, and deliver more thoughtful, less “external hire only” strategies, which the business is loving.  

“I get pulled into really interesting business conversations now,” Yasar explained, “conversations that siloed thinking might have caused me or someone else to push back on. But now that I own more, I can engage better, and be a better partner to the business when they ask me questions like, ‘If we want to launch this new market or product, what are the talent implications and do we have talent ready to go?’ Or, ‘What if we stopped hiring in X location and shifted to Y instead or went fully remote for group Z?’”

I asked Yasar if his experience justifying bigger budget asks in TA helped him get more funding for these other, often underfunded areas. “Yes, that’s a million percent true!” he replied. “As a TA leader, I’ve been making cases for more headcount and funding for years. I’ve applied that same approach — sometimes pretty aggressively — to get the headcount and resources we need to do better work in these areas I now own.” 

“John, TA is becoming Talent now,” he told me. “I see my peers growing from head of TA to chief talent officers. My next job, after this, is probably CHRO. Some of that is because of my career aspirations, some is because of my track record.” I asked him if some of this was also because — let’s be real — TA leaders are kind of bred to take on tough business requests and push hard to deliver. “Oh, yes,” he said, “that’s a big reason I’ve been promoted. I could handle the tough sh*t.”

TA + Development + Performance Management

Rob Allen, VP of people at GitLab, was hired initially to look after TA but his role expanded to cover talent more broadly. “We needed to collapse the silos,” Rob said, “and get more holistic in the talent space. We needed our unique culture to show up in how we recruit, how we onboard, how we develop, how we reward. And it can get lost and lack innovation when it’s all siloed under different leaders, especially if your talent leaders and your employee base is fully remote.” 

What kind of strategic conversations are you able to have now that weren’t happening before? “As a TA leader,” Rob said, “I’d regularly engage directly with our execs. But our L&D leader wouldn’t necessarily be a part of those. So there was less visibility into the build strategy for execs. They just weren’t having the same conversations I was having when I just led TA. Now I’m able to have much more holistic, more strategic conversations and build out plans that look and feel much more integrated. All of the areas I lead now have a huge impact on who we hire, how we engage, and who we retain and even more generally cultural initiatives across the company.”

I asked Rob to share some more specific capabilities that impact how he can show up to execs now. “Let’s look at AI talent,” he said. “We need a lot of AI talent, like everyone else. In the past, execs would say, ‘Go hire AI talent!’ Now, I can have a much more integrated conversation focused on buy and build and can prioritize how I leverage TA differently by aligning them to the talent we absolutely need to hire externally, but focus other parts of the talent team on developing transferable skills — like engineers — and working out how intentional learning paths built by L&D can help strategic internal movement. This kind of conversation is much more strategic than traditional L&D might have. It’s very business aligned versus focused — for example — on generic training needs.” 

So, is the future of TA actually talent management? 

Yes, I think it is. As a consultant, I talk to executives in focus group conversations and in exec hiring manager training all the time. What do they want? They want HR to show up the way they think about talent: holistically. 

They’ve suffered from our siloed org models in HR. Even when engaging within TA, they’ll share how siloed it can be — they’ll talk to different folks about early career talent, exec talent, tech talent, nontech, and hourly needs . . . and then likely talk to different leaders based on geography. Now layer on top of that the more holistic conversations they want — or at least need — to be having about their existing teams and talent gaps, and you might have different leaders coming in from L&D, compensation, TA, onboarding, diversity, mobility, HR BPs, or elsewhere. And each of those people — leading those different areas — may have their own budget issues, priorities, metrics for success, and more.  

I shared one of the single most strategic questions a TA leader can ask the business back in October 2022 at the LinkedIn Talent Connect conference: “Here’s your org makeup today and the skills you have today. What do you want your org to look like in two to three years, and why?” (Link to the slides and video of my 34-minute talk on holistic TA leadership here.) 

This question should be front and center in executive-facing QBR/strategy conversations. We need to be leading more, by asking questions like this, and then applying more holistic thinking to identify the buy, build, borrow, bot (!) talent strategies the business needs to get the organizational capabilities they want. 

Now, if you know me, you know I’m a realistic person. Does every TA leader need to own areas like onboarding and internal mobility to be more holistic in their thinking and build out more integrated strategies? No, of course not. You don’t need to own all of these areas, but I do think you need to understand how they all fit together and have a point of view if you want to have a bigger voice at “the table” and level up the conversations to something that doesn’t just rely on external hiring.  

Final thoughts: We need to level up and align a more comprehensive talent strategy to the business’s needs

As Rob said to me: “We need to raise the altitude of the conversation with execs. They want and need a more unified, more comprehensive approach to talent. They want a single leader looking through a more holistic lens, tying it all together, and connecting it all to what the business needs.” 

Do this well, and we can show some real ROI. It can show up in less headcount expense (the most expensive part of our businesses) when we can retain and grow internal talent or in better DEI outcomes (because we’re looking at solving it with mobility, not just TA), or in better/faster time to productivity (because we’ve improved onboarding, evolving it to something more than new hire orientation). 

John Vlastelica is a former corporate recruiting leader turned consultant. He and his team at Recruiting Toolbox are hired by world-class companies to train hiring managers and recruiters and help raise the bar on who they hire and how they hire. If you’re seeking more best practices, check out the free resources for recruiting leaders at Also, if you’re a director/VP level talent leader at a larger company, check out the new Recruiting Leadership Lab 50 event in Seattle in September 2024:


© Recruiting Toolbox, Inc

No duplication or re-posting without express written permission of Recruiting Toolbox, Inc. - contact us at