War for Talent

The ‘War for Talent’ has been widely identified as one of the challenges which firms across all industries and nationalities probably have most in common. Indeed, the challenge of retaining, developing and attracting skilled employees is an issue of high complexity, and will vary in its nature from organization to another, yet retain its importance and relevance for the strive towards long-term sustainability in any business strategy. Audette Hanna, Vice President HR & Administration of Mobinil (Egypt) explains why Talent Management systems should be established, what their risks are, and where to start in order to succeed in Employer Branding.

HR, like any other discipline, is affected by the current economic crisis; it faces the challenge of keeping the business running, motivating employees to work harder, hold revenue and profit, while trying to maintain the company’s position as an employer of choice. At the same time the challenges of a limited headcount and reduced OPEX, training budget reduction if not cancellation, salary cuts or freeze and lay off put a great strain on HR departments.

To maintain a balance and manage the two fronts of employee satisfaction and crisis management, HR should focus on: a) Increasing transparency through frequent communication and b) maximizing workforce efficiency and eliminating redundancy through re-organization, maximizing pay for performance, and ensuring best utilization of the current workforce. This could be done through workforce assessment, developing talents, succession planning, workforce re-deployment, handling redundant cases, studying outsourcing vs. insourcing benefits.

Most of us do not know where our talents lie because we have never had an opportunity to explore them.

In a world where, ironically, rapid change is the only constant factor, scarcity of talents along with fierce competition are among the elements that keep businesses alert and challenged. Talent Management is gaining increasing importance for all types of organizations and is generally defined as including the tasks of talent retention, attraction, as well as development within companies. In not so many words; the focus of the discipline lies on the development of a company’s most important resource – the Human Resource.

But what indicates the inherent need for Talent Management? For starters, statistics show that:

· 58% of surveyed executives do not feel that their current organization is investing sufficient time and resources in them.

· 69% are likely to search for their next position outside their current organization.

· 73% feel that their company does not provide them with a clearly defined career path.

· 80% believe in the impact of Talent Management if it comes straight from the company board.

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Companies adopt different practices and approaches when developing their own Talent Management systems; the definition of Talent Management, as well as the way top or poor performers are handled, may strongly vary from one corporation to another. Some companies build their Talent Management system on training only while others apply more than one approach. In many cases, the failure of such efforts is due to the fact that the follow-up and implementation are not based on a well-structured system and lacks consistency.

Practically speaking, to start a Talent Management system, two main steps need to be taken: a) assessing the entire workforce in terms of performance and potential, and b) setting and implementing talent management programs that incorporate a customized mix of career evolution, recognition, learning as well as compensation & benefits.

Establishing such Talent managements systems in your company can harbor certain risks as well:

· Bad communication leads to problems in understanding objectives and to faulty perceptions.

· Over-expectations of both employees and employers may lead to frustration.

· Demotivation for other team members not directly benefitting from talent development (danger of increasing the feeling of being treated as a second-tier).

· Lack of a consistent follow-up in an appropriate format and timed manner.

· Wrong identification, bias and deprioritization of Talent Management are among common risks.

Finally, this dynamic and demanding business environment makes it imperative for any organization to spot, nurture and most importantly retain talents. You may just find that the greatest pool for future talent can be found within your own company.

Tharawat Magazine, Issue 3, 2009