March 2, 2015

Talent management is an umbrella term that impacts the economy. Labor productivity, competitive labor markets and compensation for workers are intertwined with talent management (McConnell, Brue, & Flynn, 2015, p. 267-268). To attract and retain talent go in hand with productivity, demand and the success of an economy (p. 267). These come together to form an economy where businesses compete, utilize, find, attract, retain and develop talent. “Constrained economic conditions further highlight the need for organizations to keep their best people as companies strive to control costs and increase productivity” (Oracle, 2012). It is for good reason that profitable organizations focus on talent management so as to recruit the right people, retain them using tried and true strategies, improve line management capability, have implemented constant feedback mechanisms, empower employees, proactively drive talent mobility, continuously measure and improve their talent management systems (Oracle, 2012).

The hiring of new talent has taken on a vastly different set of twists and turns compared to a few decades ago. If an organization lacks strategic recruitment for acquiring new talent, they may very well be dating themselves and losing opportunities to build their business, expand their vision, increase profits and contribute to the local economy. “In the old days, hiring was a leisurely affair. The resumes would dribble in by mail and the first candidates wouldn’t be called for weeks. It might take two months for the whole process to run its course. The new era is about speed. Resumes are sent by fax. Managers rush through the applications. Employees are hired within a week.” (Taylor & Collins, 2000).

Talent acquisition is critical if an organization wishes to meet or exceed its business goals, increase productivity and drive the economy. To do these an organization needs to look within to assess their current talent practices and their business vision. “Organizations should carry out talent planning so as to meet business objectives and gain an advantage over competitors. To do this, organizations need a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their existing internal labor force” (Noe, 2011, p. 125). Experts agree that strategies must be adopted in order to surpass the competition. Without strategies the business flails. It is shooting from the hip and flailing in the wind. A business must have clear, delineated strategies in place and these include how they adopt new talent, retain them, and develop them. Having a competitive advantage is part of having a successful economy (McConnell, Brue, & Flynn, 2015, p. 269). These adopted strategies identify opportunities and developmental areas when it comes to their labor pool. Since a business is only as effective as the personnel they employ, it is crucial to make an honest assessment of their personnel strengths and weaknesses. Starting with evaluating their present talent management practices is a wise business tactic. Key principles in talent management include: Alignment With Strategy, Internal Consistency, Cultural Embeddedness, Management Involvement, Balance of Global and Local Needs, Employer Branding Through Differentiation (Stahl, Björkman, Farndale, Morris, Trevor & Wright, 2011).

Successful business practices include a business that looks to their horizons, considers what their objectives are, and assesses how they must restructure internally so that their current personnel are aligned with their business vision. To look internally is to be continually assessing business tactics, accomplishing goals and striving for the alignment of business vision. Talent input must be linearly tied to productivity output. This is to say that “…planning compares the present state of the organization with its goals for the future, then identifies what changes it must make to meet those goals” (Noe, 2011, p. 125). Talent planning is multifactorial, evolving and ongoing.

Talent planning sets the tenor for both the business and also for the prospective employee. “Recruitment includes the set of activities undertaken by the organization for the primary purpose of identifying a desirable group of applicants, attracting them into its employee ranks, and retaining them at least for the short term” (Taylor & Collins, 2000). The fulfillment of such a definition is realized in interviewing, selection and hiring. It is not enough to simply open a job to the public and hope it gets filled by qualified candidates. Talent planning must be rolled out with the goals of the business in mind and balance applicants accordingly. In sifting through applicants, characteristics are sought to select individuals who might help the business reach their business goals. A warm body does not make a business run smoothly, but rather an able body who is aligned with the vision of the business leaders, and an inherent ability to produce well. “It is a list of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) that an individual must have to perform the job” (Noe, 2011, p. 100). Therefore talent planning must be supported with the areas of where the organization functions, thrives and grows. KSAOs are viewed as a necessary part of the equation in tapping new talent. “A study by Koch and McGrath (1996) proposed that organizations may gain competitive advantage from talent planning practices that lead to the development of a superior workforce with knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal traits that are more closely aligned with the firm’s strategy” (Taylor & Collins, 2000).

Having a competitive edge means developing employees, as opposed to hiring with an “already made” or “one size fits all” mindset. Employees come to the workplace with a set of raw materials, skill sets and best practices, but these are not enough to have a successful talent management vision. Employers need to add to the skills sets that employees bring to their jobs, and thereby develop them with best practices, mentoring, shadowing, attending workshops to grow the employee and fine tune their ability so that productivity soars. In this way the business succeeds as does the local economy.

Once prospective applicants are selected for possible employment, they must be screened via an interview. Historically interviews have been viewed as a conversation between a manager and an aspirant. In today’s difficult job market, interviews are much more involved and formal if a business has a strategic mindset. “An interview is more than a discussion. An interview is a procedure designed to obtain information from a person through oral responses to oral inquiries…Interviewing should support the employer s strategic aims” (Dessler, 2012, p. 214).

Accordingly, the recruitment of prospective talent is brought in alignment with the purposes of the business. To disregard the aims of the employer is to invite inefficiency, lack of productivity and incurring costs to the bottom line of the business. These are counterintuitive to the purpose of having a business. All areas must be united into one seamless strategy in order to make the business work. “Indeed, the need for alignment — internally across practices, as well as with the strategy, culture and external environment — has profound implications for talent management” (Stahl, Björkman, Farndale, Morris, Trevor & Wright, 2011).

While interviews might appear rigid and rote, there is a trend in talent management in how to construct interviews. The methods of screening applicants can be achieved in a number of ways depending on the nature of the business. Interview techniques include choices about the type of questions to ask and the number of people who conduct the interview. Several screening or interview frameworks are possible: a nondirective interview, a structured interview, a situational interview and others (Noe, 2011, p. 175).

A selection process is utilized once the interviews are completed in order to acquire the best qualified talent. The decision must consider the goals of the business, the strategy of senior management as well as local, state and federal laws. (Noe, 2011, p. 158). How an organization selects their new talent can vary from setting to setting. Talent planning can borrow from the realm of science so as to apply to their selection criteria. That is to say business have methods in how to acquire new talent: “the method provides reliable information, the information can be generalized to apply to the candidates, the method offers high utility (practical value), the selection criteria are legal” (Noe, 2011, p. 159)

Once the prospective individuals accepts the offer, the person is brought into the business organization on the appropriate date. “When an applicant accepts a job offer, the HR department must notify the supervisor, so that he or she can be prepared for the new employee’s arrival” (Noe, 2011, p. 180). With the arrival of such new talent, the employer steps up to the bar and begins to groom and develop the new hire. From the moment new talent enters the realm of the business, the employer starts to shape, mold, polish their new employee so that they preform in unison with the goals of the business. Therein the focus is on a high degree of productivity.

Retaining talent also falls on the organization. While the employee is expected to appreciate their new position, eventually their enthusiasm starts to wane. The employer has a hand on how to retain their newly acquired talent to remain competitive. “Clear work expectations, stretching performance targets, feedback, recognition and continuous evaluation of program impacts on the bottom-line are cornerstones of this approach to performance management” (Kearns, 1999).

Guidelines must also be followed so that performance management complies with government laws. This is especially true if a business wishes to align their strategic vision with a high performing culture in their particular business environment. “Employees must be informed about what is expected of them and the standards against which they will be evaluated at the beginning of the rating cycle. There must be a standard, well-documented procedure for how the performance management process will be conducted, with defined roles and responsibilities for employees and managers. Managers and employees should be trained on the performance management process and relevant skills required to implement the process effectively (e.g., training for managers on how to provide feedback to employees)” (Pulakos, 2004). With these types of clear expectations, honest communication to inform the new hire, setting forth the standards the employer has of the employee, and relating the evaluation process, all serve to build a productive work environment that benefit both the newly hired talent as well as the business. The employee is kept abreast of how they are retained, how they are developed and how their employer utilizes talent management.

Talent management is a win-win situation for the business, the new employee and the economy. When businesses seek new talent they have to wade through the numerous applicants who are competing with each other but it is also a scenario where employers are competing with other businesses. Likewise the business organization must have an ability to find talent, attract that new talent, retain that talent as well as develop the talent. In doing so they utilize their newly acquired and retained talent so that their employee thrives, the business grows, productivity soars, best labor practices are followed and the local economy climbs. Talent management matters because the economy is impacted.

 

References:

Dessler, G. (2012). Human resource management (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.

Noe, R. A. (2011). Fundamentals of human resource management (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Kearns, C. (1999). Maximize Business Achievement -The Graziadio Business Review | Graziadio Business Review | Graziadio School of Business and Management | Pepperdine University. Retrieved from http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/08/maximize-business-achievement/

McConnell, C. R., Brue, S. L., & Flynn, S. M. (2015). Price, Quantity and Efficiency. In Economics: Principles, problems, and policies (20th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, p. 267-268.

Oracle. (2012). Talent Retention: Six Technology-Enabled Best Practices. Retrieved from Oracle Taleo Cloud Service website http://www.oracle.com/us/media1/talent-retention-6-best-practices-1676595.pdf

Pulakos, E. Society of Human Resource Management Foundation. (2004). Performance Management: A roadmap for developing, implementing and evaluating performance management systems. Effective Practice Guidelines, 1-56.

Stahl, G., Björkman, I., Farndale, E., Morris, S., Trevor, J., & Wright, P. (2011, December 21). Six principles of effective global talent management. Retrieved from  http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/six-principles-of-effective-global-talent-management/

Taylor, M. S. & Collins, C. J. (2000). Organizational recruitment: Enhancing the intersection of research and practice[Electronic version]. Retrieved from Cornell University, ILR School site: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/articles/568