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Give employees a Value Pitch

If the best talent is required, the talent also wants the best employer. Managing talent has become crucial to business success, reports Amit Bapna.
Hindustan Times | By Amit Bapna
UPDATED ON MAR 20, 2008 04:12 AM IST

Never have businesses been so dependent on people and never have they faced so much difficulty in getting the right talent base. Managing talent has never been as important and as difficult a task as it has become in the current business environment, a reality across the globe and across professions.

In a recent article published in Harvard Business Review, professor Peter Cappelli of Wharton School makes a case for the foundation for a new paradigm in talent management. Talent management, really, is more than the latest management fad; it is increasingly becoming crucial to business success. The term “talent management’” was coined by McKinsey & Company based on a study done in 1997 on the ‘War for Talent’ as a strategic business challenge and a critical driver of business performance. This was later developed in a best-selling book.

Talent management broadly refers to the process of developing and fostering new workers through onboarding (interviewing, hiring, orienting and successfully integrating new hires into an organisation's culture), developing and keeping current workers and attracting highly skilled workers to work for the corporate.

One way in which effective talent management can be done is by creating an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that brings good talent through the doors and keeps it there. As Roopa Badrinath, head - HR, Rediffusion|DYR Pvt. Ltd., demystifies, “Simply put – EVP is the answer that an organisation can give to the “What’s in it for me?” question in every prospective employee’s mind. What do I ‘get’ in return from the organisation for what I ‘give’ the organization?”

It is a composite of several things, such as compensation, designation, work-relationships and infrastructure, among other things. Just as organisations pick and select people whom they want to hire, talented people too pick the organisations they want to work for, and what helps create that magnet for the company-brand is to have a strong EVP.

“A robust EVP has two basis points on which it operates. One is the employee equity at one end and the corporate brand equity at the other. EVP is never static, and is dependant on the environment of the industry, pay packages, non-pay hygiene parameters and other such things,” says Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. It is all about building a nice home for the employee – a home away from home.

The need of the day is to have talent-management processes that empower managers and employees while creating business value. Interestingly, the management development practices that form the current day HR manuals – be it executive coaching or job rotation or 360-degree feedback – have been around for many years. The business environment in which such practices were evolved and practiced was more stable and the options were also fewer. Things are more dynamic now. Add to that the role played by Information Technology, and managing talent becomes even trickier.

As one of the world’s largest media-owners has pointed out, “All growing economies and businesses go through a people-churn, and I’m not unduly concerned about it – in fact it only indicates a growth-situation. What I’m surely concerned about is that, as an industry, are we investing enough in managing the talent-pool?”

What can be done with evolved talent-management practices is be well-prepared for the churn and to tackle it such that its impact on the business is minimised. “Progressive employers today recognise the importance of nurturing employees as brand ambassadors, and there are several aspects on which an organisation needs to formulate and communicate its point of view to all current and prospective employees,” avers Badrinath.

Talent-management itself is a judicious blend of art and science, a lot of common-sense applied with some tested and some new processes, to achieve the desired business objective. A lot of organizations today are announcing their most important asset to be their people. This only reiterates the importance of talent management, which is all about ensuring that effective strategies are in place to recruit, grow and retain talent within the organisation.

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