Talent Management Practices by Kgomotso Mopalami

March 6, 2019
Human Rights Day from a South African Perspective: Is it a Privilege or a Right? by Kgomotso Mopalami
March 20, 2019

Talent Management is a vital element in aligning HRM with Business Strategy; a standard element that can depict whether job satisfaction, organisational performance or employee retention improves.  Employee retention refers to the ability of an organisation to hold talented employees by applying various strategies and practices to ensure that employees remain within an organisation for a longer period of time.  HR Professionals need to take cognisance that employee retention and turnover intention differs from each other: employee retention refers to how long an organisation retains the employees in a given period of time whereas turnover intention is where the employees intend to leave their workplace or whether the organisation aims to exclude employees from position. [1]  

To curb the challenges of retention, one of the HR best practices involves the inclusion of talent management in the HR strategy, that is well aligned with the business strategy.  Employee attitudes such as job satisfaction or organisational commitment plays a major role in HR strategy aiming at retaining talent. Talent retention secures competitive advantage and is critical for organisations in ensuring high productivity levels, consistency and overall organisational success.  Therefore, human resource professionals play a critical role in assisting the board or leadership with a talent management strategy.  Objective 2.2.2 of the Talent Management Standard Element clearly states a need to identify strategically critical positions, leadership roles and capabilities in the organisation into the future from the Workforce Plan that will determine the sustainability and growth of the organisation.  It is thus imperative that organisations should attract a sustainable pool of talent for current objectives and future organisational needs.[2]

Talent Management is defined by SABPP (2013) as “the proactive design and implementation of an integrated talent-driven organisational strategy directed to attracting, deploying, developing, retaining and optimising the appropriate talent requirements as identified in the workforce plan to ensure a sustainable organisation”.   The aforementioned communicates the importance of attracting individuals who will bring value to the organisation.   Such individuals should have the ability to learn, evolve and adapt; and the ability to create and innovate or simply having the potential. Creativity and innovation appear to be key elements of “talent”, expressed in the ability to come up with and actualise new ideas, processes and products that add value to the organisation.   There also needs to be indicators for talent, which are: 

  • Motivation: it is one of the main indicators of talent and a prerequisite for learning, developing and succeeding. 
  • Personal Intelligence: it is the self-awareness, empathy, ability to engage others and understand problems from multiple perspectives; the ability to understand cultural sensitivities.
  • Uniqueness: talented individuals are the ones that stand out from the crowd because of “something unique that cannot be codified”.  
  • Past Experience/Track record: it emerges as one of the main proxy indicators of “talent”.  References to previous job roles, work portfolio and accomplishments, other than academic, play a critical role.[3]

Today, as the organisations are going global, increasing competitiveness, and human resource department becoming a strategic partner in organisational decision making and planning, the need to develop and upskill employees is becoming more crucial for their success.[4] Therefore, deploying talented individuals speaks to the success of any organisation.  It is thus essential that organisations be proactive in applying HR practices especially for service-oriented organisations. This will help keep employees enacted with organisational objectives.[5]  To ensure sustainability to progressive work, it is the onus of leadership to apply motivation enhancing practices that impact motivational factors that direct, sustain and energise work behaviour.  These practices include employee recognition, salary, perks, performance feedback, opportunities for advancement and development, job security and entrusting them with more responsibilities.  HR practices, therefore, play a vital role in retention of customers.  Subsequently, lack of good management and proper planning can lead to a loss of talent and the possible demise of organisations.   Mitigating factors can thus be applied where there seemed to be a gap to retain talent; HR Professionals need to be adequately knowledgeable on the processes as well as instilling good governance by applying professional practices to ensure organisational success.  Failure to address talent issues can have harmful effects in an organisation.

In conclusion, employees are the backbone of any organisational success.  Therefore, a set of clear goals to identify, retain and deploy talent effectively, is vital; what organisations offer, plays a critical role in ensuring that the best talent is attracted.  Also, having a clear strategy that is well implemented can help organisations gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, organisational talent development is not possible without developing talent at the individual employee level. By developing the talent of employees, organisations nurture the talent pool to supply the future competency needs.  As clearly stated by Steve Bluen (Talent Management in Emerging Markets, 2013) “the war for talent has become truly global; challenges associated with talent management in emerging markets take a whole new meaning.  It is not surprising therefore, that talent management has become the number one CEO priority”.

[1]Siew, Cheng Li & Chua. Ling Er & Koo. Ying Tong & Ng. Jia Xin & Cheng. Wai Loon (2017).  Study on the Relationship between Talent Management and Employee Retention in telecommunication Industry in Klang Valley.Final Year Project. UTAR. pxiv. (1-135)

[2]SABPP National HR Standards (2013)

[3]CIPD (September 2018)

[4]The Choreography of Talent Development in Higher Education: Higher Education Studies; Vol. 9, No. 1; 2019

[5]The Impact of Motivation Enhancing Practices and Mediating Role of Talent Engagement on Turnover Intentions: Evidence from Malaysia: International Review of Management and Marketing, 2016, 6(4): 823-835.