Talent: Management and Theoretical Foundation
To start with, this is talent essay in which this topic is discussed. Workforces around the world have become larger, increasingly diverse, highly educated and more mobile. The ability to attract, develop and retain a steady supply of critical talent is a challenge facing all organizations. According to Fegley’s report, 53% of organizations have specific talent management (TM) initiatives in place and 76% consider TM as a top priority. Hence, TM play a key role for organizational success in order to retain top talent while increasing productivity.
Morton explains talent as individuals who have the capability to make a significant difference to the existing and future performance of the company. Furthermore, talent equals to individuals ability and willingness to do work, plus finding meaning and purpose in their work. Talent refers to various traits like knowledge, skills, capability, feelings and potential of a person resulting into greater performance and higher organisation productivity.
During the late 1990s, management consulting firm McKinsey coined the phrase the ‘war of talent’ as a part of research identifying TM as a critical business challenge, further it was developed by Michels in 2001. There are many definition of TM by various author, thus there is no clear meaning. According to Pascal, TM is managing the supply, demand and flow of talent through the human capital engine. “It is that the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of the individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in sight of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation¬-critical roles”. The concept of TM has evolved in recent years into essential management practice accompanied with recruitment which covers area such as individual development, succession planning, workforce planning, diversity at firm and individual development. Although, Silzer and Dowell states that some might argue that additional HR activities and systems should also be included as a part of TM. For instance, one could argue that the main purpose of compensation is to attract, motivate and retain employee. However, compensation is not considered to be part of TM.
TM has some extent given theoretical foundations, it collates perspectives and practices from different theories such as Resource-Based view (RBV) theory, adverse selection theory.
RBV theory states that firms gain and sustain competitive advantage through cultivation of resources that are valuable, rare and hard to substitute. Heinen & O’neill adds that sustainable competitive advantage can be obtained from TM process which include the attracting, developing, motivating, managing, rewarding and retaining of talent. Hence, we can say that RBV process was designed to identify the rare and inimitable human resources of an organization. However, Tatoglu et al., highlights that RBV have inadequate capacity for determining the motives behind TM and its practices because RBV considers people as economic asset, but social capital is ignored. Therefore, other relevant theories are used to reveal the motives of TM and its practices.
Furthermore, adverse selection theory focuses on the transactional problems of not appropriate information which in the context of employment relationships refers to employers challenges of accurately knowing and acting on the productive potential of employees, applicants and hiring prospects. For instance, nowadays employers often face a challenge to assess accurately employees for their future contribution where promotion is key consideration. However, Kahn says that if a current employer gives more attention to future potential and capability of an employee, it can lead to advantages over labour market competitors and will be able to retain and utilise such talent.
There is a big confusion about the exact meaning of talent. According to Tansley, object and subject approach of talent contributes to the confusion of what talent exactly is. On one hand, the original meaning of talent include personal characteristics (talent as object). It is generally viewed as a special function or above average quality. On the other hand, English dictionaries refers talent to a person or persons of talent (talent as subject), simply means person possessing skills and abilities. Nowadays, managers frequently refer their workforce as the talent of the organisation , as people are valuable asset in the organisation. Subject approach is modest that object approach. There is certainly lack of research as to the exact meaning of talent. However, to identify talent, there are ongoing implications of policies like knowledge management, succession planning and competence management.
To continue one of the talent essays, subject approach includes inclusive and exclusive approach. Inclusive or strength based approach refers TM to be aimed at developing all employees to the best of their abilities. In contrast, the exclusive approach is based allocating more resources to the better performers i.e. those individuals who can make a difference to organizational performance, either through their immediate contribution or within the longer-term by demonstrating the highest levels of potential. According to Garrow & Hirish states that if talent refers to the whole of the workforce, managing talent ‘simply’ implies proper workforce management and development of all the organization's people, which is not particularly helpful in specifying how TM is different from SHRM. On the contrary, Netessine and Yakubovich, as long as employees' performances can be accurately evaluated and ranked, the very fact that better workers get better assignments and more privileges may actually encourage low performers to quit or to try to do better, resulting in a higher-performing workforce overall. Practitioners are found to use a more strength-based approach to TM as there are many arguments on exclusive approach. It remains unclear to what extent an inclusive or exclusive approach to talent makes sense. Which approach is better is likely to be determined by an organization's mission and culture.
Moreover, talent is viewed to be impossible to learn or teach. As Davies and Davies states that talent is innate in nature and cannot be managed. On opposite, talent also focuses on deliberate practice and learning from experiences. Talent is always a function of experience and effort. It is unclear whether talent is made or born. Organizations commonly cannot distinguish between innate and acquired elements of talent, but rather focus on proven achievements in their assessments of talent.
To end up essay on talents, such important discussions arise from the wide variation found in the meaning of talent, for which practitioners are in the process of taking steps to how to assess talent with relevant approaches.