People Management and Talent Management Term Paper

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People and Talent Management

Concepts of People Management and Talent Management.

People management and talent management go hand in hand. While people management is about hiring, retaining and managing all employees in an organization, talent management refers to the subgroup of attracting and retaining talented and highly skilled workers for the future needs of the organization. Armstrong (2006, p.3) has defined people management as, "a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets -- the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives." It includes the philosophies, strategies, practices and programs that have been developed to manage the people in an organization.

Davis (2007, p.3) defines talent management as, "the recruitment, development and retention of individuals who consistently deliver superior performance." From the above two definitions, it can be inferred that talent management is the policies and programs that are geared towards a smaller group of talented people in the organization while people management comprises of all the people working for an organization.

B. The issues of People Management and Talent Management Evolution

People management took shape during the later half of the 19th century as the importance of the role of people in an organization grew. During the 1990s, many countries opened up their economies and this paved the way for globalization as we know it today. This marked a new beginning in the evolution of people management. As goods and services floated freely across countries, it became imperative to hire the right people to manage them.

Talent management is a more recent concept because organizations realized that the only way to stay competitive in the global market is to hire the best talent. Though organizations have always understood the importance of talented people and the difference they can make to the future of the organization, there was little emphasis on formal strategy that would identify and groom the right talent. So, the industry leaders went about creating a definition of talent management and making it an industry standard. They also came up with an approach and action plan for talent management and this was when this field took prominence as a separate area of people management. (Paradise, May 2009).

Since then aggressive policies were formulated to attract and retain the cream of talent in every field. The importance of talent management grew even more during the last few years as organizations looked to forge new partnerships and exploit untapped markets in Asia, middle east and Africa. The highly skilled workers are seen as a major force that can determine the future success of an organization and so they are groomed accordingly.

C. Support definition and understanding

Human capital is the most important asset to an organization and so the managers take all necessary steps to attract and retain the employees. It starts with assessing the current needs of the organization and employing the right recruitment strategies to attract the right candidates. These employees are then integrated into the organization and are provided training and continuous development opportunities to enhance their skills and make them more useful to the organization. The managers also work towards identifying the current and future needs of the employees and come up with suggestions to keep them satisfied. Conflict resolution, incentive-based compensation, training and management development are some of the practices followed in people management.

Talent management comprises of two different aspects and they are the competency of the employees and their performance. The managers identify which employees should know a particular information or do a specified action and how to use the competency of the employee to achieve the long-term goals of the organization. According to a research conducted by i4cp, there are nine major areas or practices used by companies for talent management and they are: leadership development, succession planning, career planning, performance management, high-potential employee development, learning and training, competency management, retention and professional development. (Galagan, 2008).

2.Importance of People Management and Talent Management in the past decade.

A. Explain why People Management and Talent Management have become important areas of discussion.

People management and talent management have become important areas of discussion because of the value they add to any organization. This is primarily because they revolve around the most important asset to an organization. The right employees in the right jobs help an organization to grow and make use of opportunities as and when they arise.

People management encompasses a wide range of activities including identifying appropriate openings and needs, attracting the right candidates, selection, recruitment, training and retention. This becomes an important task in the current business environment that lays a lot of emphasis on services because employees have to constantly interact with customers and provide them superior service to remain competitive in their respective industry. This trend is partly due to the changes that have taken place in organizations over the last few decades and today, more and more organizations adopt a "people first" approach. Also, the quality of human capital in an organization determines the competitiveness and the ability of the company to garner a big markets share and this has made people management a vital functionality of every organization.

Another reason for the importance of people management was globalization and the opening of the many economies in Asia and Africa. This provided opportunities for many organizations to set-up offices through subsidiaries and partnerships to cater to the needs of the people outside North America and Europe. Globalization brought about a new phase in the business world and as companies made a foray into untapped markets, there arose a need to understand the local culture and society. Also, the presence of a global workforce in an organization necessitated sound people management policies and strategies and this further gave a boost to this field.

Talent management has also been gaining ground in the last few years as organizations realize the difference talented people can make to the success of an organization. Their ability to make better decisions and tap into newer opportunities makes them a vital resource of organizations and so they do everything possible to attract the best talent and retain them. "Seventy-three percent of executives agree that talent management processes closely linked to business strategy are critical in helping an organization achieve its goals, according to a recent survey by Towers Perrin" (HR Focus, 2010, p.8). These are some of the reasons for the importance attributed to people management and talent management during the last few decades.

B. Examples of Companies that focus on People Management and Talent Management

As more and more organizations realize the importance of people management and talent management, they take initiatives to implement them. Some examples are explained below:

Idaho Power Company

Idaho Power company is a hydroelectric company that services more than 500,000 customers in Idaho and Eastern parts of Oregon. They have taken numerous initiatives to attract and retain some of the best talent in the industry. They use Plateau's Learning Management System that helps to track the training activities of employees and also helps them to schedule lessons at a time that will work best for them. They provide an online learning system for more than 1,900 part-time and full-time employees with the aim to help them learn more about their job and use it to improve their productivity.

One key issue that this company faces is the looming retirement of more than 50% of its employees within the next decade. They are likely to face a severe talent shortage and the management is doing everything possible to bridge this gap. So, they have come up with a performance management system that will help them to select candidates based on many factors including their technical and behavioral match to a particular position or job. They are then evaluated using action plans and are provided constant training to help them to grow and advance within the organization. Employees and their superiors work together on this performance plan and they identify the gaps that exist. Appropriate training is given to employees to reduce these performance gaps. Such a program keeps the employees motivated and is a great way to attract, groom and retain the best talent. (Workforce Management, 2007).


Walmart is one of the largest employers in the U.S. with an estimated 1.3 million employees. Many strategies have been introduced by the company to improve the working conditions and to attract the right candidates. The focus is on four areas of people management, namely, strategy execution, administrative efficiency, increasing associate management and commitment to the organization and change management. (Progressive Grocer, 2005). As part of its people management strategies, it has employed a team of special advisers who will be available around the clock to help managers solve problems easily. It has also started a program called Mentor 3 that allows a manager to train and mentor three employees to help them grow and advance in the organization. Also, employees are motivated by giving them cash and…[continue]

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