Talent management

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



Nolan, S. (2011), "Talent management", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2011.37210faa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Talent management

Article Type: Editorial From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 6

The theme of this issue of Strategic HR Review is talent management. This is a topic that has been debated and discussed for some time, but still new approaches and innovations emerge. The economic crisis has kept talent management firmly in the spotlight as HR teams are tasked with helping organizations do more with less. The authors in this issue look at some of the strategies being used to achieve this.

“Using strengths to drive career success”, by Dr Paul Brewerton, provides a practical view of the strengths-based approach to talent management. While the concept is not new, there is a current need for practical information on how to apply a strengths approach, with interest driven by the recent challenging environment. By focusing on strengths – what people enjoy and are energized by – engagement and performance can be improved. This can be further built on by basing development discussions on strengths rather than purely on areas of weakness. This article gives a succinct overview of the strengths approach and related research as well as the challenges to implementation. It acknowledges the difficulty people have in recognizing their strengths, and also in talking about them. It then goes on to look at two case studies where challenges were overcome and the strengths approach was successfully applied in tough environments, demonstrating the value and potential of this talent management tool to individuals and organizations.

Jo Redman’s case study, “A development program to improve leadership capability and employee engagement”, charts how SACO researched, created and implemented a talent management program to help it retain its friendly culture and high customer service levels during a time of expansion. With its success based on its ethos of treating people as you would like to be treated, its growth plans put this approach at risk. The company undertook an analysis to identify the strengths that it would need to retain moving forward, so that employees remained engaged during an ambitious expansion period. The result is a comprehensive talent management program that includes a behavior framework and a strong focus on leadership skills in recognition of the importance of the relationship between an employee and their line manager – and the impact it can have on engagement levels. Crucially, and in line with the existing culture, staff were given the opportunity to help shape the program and a comprehensive mix of training, development and evaluation emerged and has since been implemented with positive early outcomes.

Social media as a talent management tool is the focus of Sherrie Madia’s best practice guide, “Best practices for using social media as a recruitment strategy”. She points out that social media is no longer an emerging channel that can be ignored, because not considering it as a viable recruitment tool means risking being left behind. Even the most skeptical need to put a toe in the water and by starting small and taking an iterative approach recruiters can develop an integrated strategy that combines new social media with traditional channels to create an optimum recruitment mix. There is opportunity to bring costs down greatly, to position the organization as current and to build a successful profile. Using her experience she has created this useful guide that includes best practices for launching a successful social media recruitment strategy and highlights what job seekers look for when visiting social networks.

In Priyanka Anand’s case study feature, “Talent development and strategy at telecom major Bharti Airtel”, she looks at talent management processes in the context of an Indian organization operating globally. Competition for skills has increased greatly and organizations are experiencing higher turnover rates as a result. While multinationals that are present in India have talent management processes in place, many Indian organizations are still coming to grips with this area. The focus on Bharti Airtel shows how the challenges surrounding talent management also present opportunity to be innovative and fresh in approach. The company’s decision to spread the responsibility for talent management throughout the organization, rather than confine it to the HR department, has been a success with attrition rates down and engagement up, and staff perceiving the company well in terms of opportunity for personal growth and development.

In “What talent wants: the journey to talent segmentation”, Lesley Uren shares findings from research, carried out by specialist consultancy Jackson Samuel, into how organizations can improve their performance by adopting a more strategic and personalized approach to talent management. The findings show that those organizations that put in place the processes to understand what their talented individuals want from their employer, and then segment their talent population and apply different employee value propositions accordingly, reap the benefits of enhanced shareholder return. She presents a practical model incorporating 14 practices to help organizations analyze talent requirements against their own strategic priorities and to segment according to the needs and wants of talent groups. Performance can be enhanced by combining the interests of the organization and the individual in this way, and adapting the employee value proposition to fit the different needs within the segmented talent population.

Sara NolanE-mail: saranolanshr@emeraldinsight.com

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