Talent Management: Human Resources Management and Relevant Theoretical Perspectives

There are different relevant theoretical perspectives, according to Dries [1], to the study of talent management. The perspective of human capital assumes a resource-based view of the company, where the main criterion is the contribution of employees to the organization. The focus is devoted to the human capital that is both valuable and unique in an organization. There is also the perspective of international (cross-cultural) HRM, which has emerged in recent years, focused on the global talent management. However, there is still a lack of research focusing on the experiences and perceptions of talented (and less talented) employees [see, as exceptions, 16, 25], as well as research focusing on advantaged and disadvantaged employee groups from the viewpoint of workforce differentiation [see 26].

According to Schuler, Jackson and Tarique [14, p. 506], there are a considerable number of practices that companies can use in their initiatives concerning global talent management, which include the following: location planning and relocation management; HR planning and forecasting; staffing, meaning attraction and selection, retention, reduction and removal; training and development; performance assessment; and compensation. However, “[m]atching an accurate diagnosis of a firm’s strategy and talent management situation with possible HR policies and practices is a first step in gaining and sustaining a global competitive advantage that may result from the successful implementation of the appropriate HR policies and practices” [14, p. 506]. The contribution that HR professionals can make to the global talent management initiatives of a company is by measuring the impact of HR policies and practices through the use of metrics aligned with the business strategies [14]. These “[performance metrics that reflect desired strategic business outcomes may include revenue, profit targets or retention of direct reports” [14, p. 506].

As expected, talent management, as HRM practices in general, is strongly influenced by the institutional and cultural context of each society and the way standard practices, such as legislation and institutional norms, are implemented, as well as the use of additional distinctive practices are the paths to firms raise competitive advantages [19].

Although the question has been raised that talent management is just a management fashion, several authors have “concluded that talent management does in fact add value to other strategic human resource management (SHRM) practices” [1, p. 274; see 22, 27, 28]. Talent management is seen by some authors as part of an organizations’ HRM strategy, while others argue that “talent management is a ‘mindset’ and thus, an all-encompassing characteristic of an organization much like organizational culture” [1, p. 275].

In fact, it is in the context of IHRM that global talent management and its multiple potential challenges, according to Tarique and Schuler [10 p. 123], can be examined. IHRM has been challenged, during the last two decades, by several changes as follows: the introduction of increased worldwide economic development; extensive global communication; rapid transfer of new technology; growing trade; and emigration of large numbers of people [10, p. 123].

Finally, it is important to highlight, as argued by Dries [1, p. 283], that no perspective on talent management is better than the other. Regardless of best practices, in what concerns talent management the most important is organizational fit: “fit with strategic objectives, fit with organizational culture, fit with other

HR practices and policies, and fit with organizational capacity” [1, p. 283]. Additionally, there are also the implications for individual employees in what concerns talent management:

As for individual employees, they are often oddly unaware of the talent management dynamics operating within their employing organizations—even though these are likely to have crucial implications for the further course of their career (Larsen et al. 1998). Part of the explanation is that talent management procedures are often quite intransparent, with crucial information being withheld from employees (e.g., not being identified as talented) (Bournois and Rousillon 1992). In addition, employees (even high potential ones) are often naive, and somewhat reactive, when it comes to managing their own careers (e.g. Dries and Pepermans 2008). Advances in the academic literature may help both organizations and individual employees make more sense of how strategic talent management decisions may or may not affect them [1, p. 283].

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