Talent management is gaining worldwide recognition. Those leadership groups who do not understand the impact that talent management could have in their organisations do not reap the rewards that come with a program that is highly effective. The term ‘talent management’ is fairly new (approximately fifteen years in use). Nonetheless, it is gaining momentum as social science continues to develop evidence based decision making tools. The results that materialize give leadership groups valuable information that contributes to effective decision making. Well informed decisions are those that lead to success and mitigate the time allocated in bringing them to fruition. It is not enough to want to implement a talent management program. The process must be guided and measured to ensure that the desired outcomes are on target. However, if success were to remain constant there would be no room to learn new methods or gain newfound ideas. Failure is imminent when processes are not monitored. In addition, failure has the potential to harm the organisation and in turn, the stakeholders as well.
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The Failure and Success of Talent Management Systems
The Talent Management (TM) concept is fairly new by modern day standards. Thunnissena, Boselieb, and Fruytier (2013) posit that TM began to receive global recognition ten years prior to the publication of their article. As a result, TM appears to be moving from the developmental stages of “infancy” (p. 1744) to toddler stages. The newness of TM poses implementation challenges of various sorts. Hence, resulting in faulty application methodologies. Therefore, it follows that flawed TM methodologies hinder business processes, hence, creating negative domino effects within the social organisation environment.
This paper shows how poorly implemented or absent TM strategies impact organisation processes. It also shows how scientifically validated strategies prevent potential harms from happening or eliminate the threat altogether. It addresses reasons why TM initiatives fail. There is a discussion on environmental conditions that lead to failure and the negative impact on employees. It closes with a recapitulation of the content.
TM is a human resource concept that concerns the management of people for mutually beneficial competence exploitation. A few examples of organisations failing with regard to TM are Google, Amazon, Express Scripts, SEARS, and Dillards Inc, amongst many others. Lewis (2013) finds Google to be so decalescent that he cannot imagine why anyone would quit working there. Kantor and Streitfeld (2015) refer to Amazon’s workplace environment as “bruising” (Kantor & Streitfeld 2015, para. 1). Duggan (2015) posits that America’s list of terrible companies to work for is an extensive one.
This paper is structured in the following format. The content is divided into sections with subsections for discussion clarity. The failure or success of talent management topics are discussed as well. Thereafter, discussions address reasons for talent management failure, and negative affects on business. Preventive applications for the success of talent management discuss secondary subtopics that fall within the parameters of the bigger picture concept. The paper closes with concluding comments.
Reasons for Talent Management Failure
According to May (2015), employees leave organisations for many reasons. For example, a few of those reasons are unhappiness with their jobs, dissatisfaction with poor management strategies, and or ineffective leadership. Thunnissena, Boselieb, and Fruytier (2013) attribute potential failures to demographics, retiring baby boomers, mobile technology, and increasing globalization. Lockwood (2006) asserts that the lack of leadership commitment has a nullifying effect on the TM process
Allen, Bryant, and Vardaman (2010) discuss employee turnover, dissatisfaction with salaries, and application of a one-size-fits-all retention strategy. They assert the existence of an erroneous management assumption, that all exits from the organisation fit a standard pattern. Downs and Swailes’s (2013) discuss the lack of social and ethical applications to talent management that affect employees in various ways. McDonald, Dear and Backstrom (2008) contribute to the discussion of specific discriminatory management practices.
Negative Affects (NA) on Business
Negative affects occur for many reasons. The discussion herein refers to few negative affects that are detrimental to the profitability or production in organisations. According to Duan, Lam, Chen, & Zhong (2010), employees become emotional when confronted with affective situations. As a result, some negative behaviors elicit retaliatory behaviors that do not benefit the organisation at all.
Detailed Discussions: NA Related with Employee Groups
Unhappy Employees. Song and Ybarra (2008) posits that unhappiness maybe be the potential result of situational demands. Additionally, he argues that unhappiness comes from the absence of “positive influence” (Song and Ybarra 2008, p. 57). Unhappiness falls under the umbrella of psychological well-being. As a result, environmental situations influence how employees perceive the events happening in the social environment. Hence, the potential for increased employee unhappiness contribute to dysfunctional work relationships. Thereby, affecting the employee as well as business productivity (Song and Ybarra 2008).
Employee Turnover. De Mesquita-Ferreira and de Acquino-Almeida (2015) argue that employee turnover poses a serious threat to organisations. They assert that employees who leave the organisation are replaced by new employees who lack equivalent competence as the person who left. As a result, organisation productivity decreases all the while the new employee is adapting to the organisations’ culture. For example, profit organisations may experience lower revenues due to lower productivity. Another example is that non-profit organisations may experience interference with public programs or services due to understaffing situations.
Poor Management Strategies. Toterhi and Recardo (2013) affirm that recovering from business failure is challenging and time consuming. When managers decide to cut TM budgets, they cripple the TM process altogether. Thereby, making budget cutting a poor management strategy. For example, lost revenue is one result of budget cutting decisions because budgets buy sales training, sales training increase closing skills, the more closed sales are transacted, the greater profit potential for the organisation. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all stakeholders that revenues increase (Poor 2008).
Changing Demographics. Meier and Loewenbein (2003) found that an aging population create adversarial circumstances. Consider for example, that baby boomers are extending their retirement as a result of improved health. Suddenly, there are integrated age groups that engage in conflicting engagements, thereby complicating the coworker relationship. The age mix has become a cause for new social science research on workplace intergenerational conflict (O’Bannon 2001).
Weak Senior Management Commitment. Prabhu and Robson (2000) found that a lack of committed financial resources had a detrimental affect (NA) on talent management initiatives. For example, it is not unusual for TM programs to become the target of budget cuts as a management directive to reduce costs. Such reductions eliminate opportunities for workforce development. They also increase the probability of low employee retention rates. In addition, leadership influence on employee engagement decreases (Prabhu & Robson 2000).
Duan, Lam, Chen, & Zhong (2010) assert that the NA of weak commitment eventually creates unhappy employees who have the potential to interfere with business processes in retaliation. According to Duan, Lam, Chen, & Zhong (2010), retaliatory behaviors “… may hurt colleagues or organizations…” (p. 1288). The NA of weak commitments also trickle down to employees as they perceive that leadership executives have dysfunctional habits of making promises never kept. Negative affects create potential opportunities for unethical behaviors to take place.
Lack of Social And Ethical Applications. According to Hartman, DesJardins, and MacDonald (2014), and Rhodes (2006), Enron was an example of an organisation lacking social responsibility and ethical leadership. Using Enron as an example demonstrating an organisation that ignored its obligation of social responsibility has become the standard norm. The leaderships lack of moral responsibility harmed many stakeholders, namely, the public, private investors, institutional investors, as well as employees. As a result, millions of stakeholders lost life savings, investments, and 401-Ks’. Consequently, the organisation sealed its defunct fate by engaging in socially irresponsible and unethical business practices.
Discrimination. Perhaps the most obvious and probably the most detrimental discrimination to the workforce is that of sexual harassment (SH). Cheri-Gay (2015) says that fifty years of legal issues and law redefinitions concerning SH, that society is still making the attempt to redefine exactly what the word sexual means. Sexual harassment is one of many forms of discrimination prevalent in organisations. Discriminatory SH destroys families, emotionally scars workers, society loses trust and faith, and the organisations existence is threatened by lawsuits and other environmental repercussions (Cheri-Gay, 2015).
Preventive Applications for Successful TM
A look into the popularity of TM provided over twenty-three million websites. Therefore, one can consider that TM is a desirable way to achieve organisation success. Evidence based strategies promote validated alternatives for organisation success. In contrast, the attempt to reinvent the scientific evidence becomes a challenging feat. According to Allen, Bryant, and Vardaman (2010) social science promotes preventive TM application with scientifically validated strategies (SVS). SVS for TM promises a significant return on investment. Following, are a few SVS that encourage successful outcomes for the organisation.
According to Rothwell and Kazanas (2003), assessing employee talents begins a decision making process that becomes well informed and structured. Assessments are business tools that identify competency and skill weaknesses, as well as, strengths in the same area. The management team benefits from a decision making strategy that clarifies what competencies and skills they want to focus on. They will able to make decisions that create learning and development opportunities without second guessing themselves. Another benefit manifests itself as a time savings factor because of the SVS factor.
Social Responsibility and Ethical Decision Making
Social responsibility is on its way to becoming a driving force in society. The term social responsibility encourages ethical behaviors grounded in morality (Rhodes, 2006). Therefore, one can consider moral decision making as a strategy that supports the moral leadership model. Therefore, it follows that moral leadership discourages behaviors that benefit the minority, but harm the majority (Hartman, DesJardins, & MacDonald 2014; Rhodes 2006).
Socially responsible behavioral codes include instituting a decision making process that determines the facts, identifies all stakeholders, and considers multiple alternatives on the affective nature of the issue at hand. After the information collection process, decision makers have the power to do what is right for all stakeholders. This can only be accomplished if the decision maker lives by moral values (Hartman, DesJardins, & MacDonald 2014; Rhodes 2006).
Characteristics of morally focused decision makers are promoted by Rhodes (2006) as possessing the following, commitment to moral values, insightful transformation, courage, and positive communication skills. Leite, de Aguiar Rodrigues, and de Albuquerque (2014) posit that commitment is a behavior that engages motivation and a desire to do. Insightful transformation requires self knowledge. That knowledge comes from environmental stimulation that incorporates discernment and cognitive perception. Thereafter, social stimulation determines if one will do the right thing (Lewis, 2008).
Courage. koerner (2014) discusses courage as a social identity construct. The stated construct engages one’s ability to sort through environmental input and use it to make a decision on the actions to be taken. Courage is a form of oppositional behavior that seeks to relieve social stimulation pressures. Relief transpires into the action that is linked to moral values (Koerner 2014).
Positive Communication Skills. Smart and Featheringham (2006) discuss effective communication as a skill that employers seek because it is critical for business operations. Effective communication skills allow employees to enter the organisation. Ineffective communication skills lead to conflicting situations. As a result, such events deprive the organisation of productive time. Articulation, writing, and good listening skills facilitate cross-functional interaction. These skills touch everything from accounting, to computers, and finance (Smart & Featheringham 2006).
Establishing Accountability. Accountability contributes value to pre-established organisation processes. According to Kotter and Cohen (2005), accountability assignment is a leadership commitment to accept responsibility for all outcomes of business processes. Accountability requires a standard of method of operation that enhances business processes. As a result, the focal factor becomes the measurement of employee competency relative to business processes and not their skills set. Employees are in need of assistance in understanding how their jobs contribute to business functions. Kotter and Cohen (2005) suggest that employees who perceive their jobs as an asset to the organisation increase their productivity as a result of feeling important to the company.
Encourage Engagement and Partnership Collaboration
Encouraging Engagement. Engagement is about inspiring employees to become active volunteers of their job requirements. Establishing a two-way communication process contributes towards voluntary engagement. Establishing focus groups and feedback debriefs increase the potential for significant engagement. Listening to employee concerns adds value to their emotional well being. In return, they reciprocate by increasing their production (Kotter & Cohen 2005).
Partnership Collaboration. Implementing participatory leadership (PL) strategies increases productivity and engagement. Somech (2003) asserts that participatory leadership creates an employee bond that encourages their engagement further. As a result, morale is high. This application increases productivity and enhances services for the business (Somech 2003).
The purpose of this paper was to discuss how poor talent management strategies negatively impacts organisations and employees. Presented herein are discussions that show how ineffective leadership interferes with organisation success. There are discussions on employee unhappiness, dissatisfaction, discrimination, weak leadership commitments, employee turnover, and changing demographics written to show the negative impact on organisations. In similar fashion, there are discussions on ways that those negatives can be prevented or eliminated altogether by using scientifically validated strategies. Explicit scientifically validated strategies show ways that the negative outcomes could contribute to leadership effectiveness.
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