Bank of America
The author of this report has been asked to analyze and answer to a case study that covers the Bank of America. There will be an outline of the talent management system used at the Bank of America. Further, there will be an assessment of the strengths of the program and how they have led to goal accomplishment. Next, there will be a description of the opportunities for improvement that exist within the broader talent management process. Finally, there will be a creation and naming of at least two more effective approaches to meet the talent management challenges that will surely exist in the future. While Bank of America has stumbled a bit in recent years in terms of corporate image and profits, they do seem to be on solid footing overall and their talent management frameworks and systems would seem to support that being the case.
In looking at the broader talent management process that Bank of America engages in, there are two facets in particular that the author of this report will center on. First, they have a five-part cycle that all employees proceed through in a continuous and productive fashion over the course of their employment. These five steps include pay for performance, getting the right people in the right roles, the management of performance, the continuous "upgrading" of the employees and the growth and development of the same. The facets of human resources and employee development that are obviously included in this cycle would be items like coaching, development planning, development programs, compensation programs, recruiting/staffing, interview tactics, job specifications, performance management and 360 degree feedback (Goldsmith & Carter, 2010).
The other main facet that the author of this report would seize on is the executive development program that is talked about in the Goldsmith and Carter case study. As one might expect, Bank of America takes the selection and on-boarding of the executives quite seriously as they will be the people that mold and shape the company for years to come once they are integrated into the system. The selection phase by itself is illuminating and revealing. Questions asked during the selection phase include whether someone should trust their career with this candidate, whether there will be learning that can be gleaned from this person, whether this person is capable of putting enterprise objectives before himself or herself and so forth. Also important to center on is the entry phrase which includes the development of business acumen specific to the new role, the learning of the organizational culture, the mastery of the role's leadership demands and the building of critical relationships (Goldsmith & Carter, 2010).
The strengths of the program are fairly obvious in that the system focuses on getting the right people in the right roles and the feedback for those people and their performance comes early and often. Rather than there being an information vacuum whereby a regular employee or executive is left wondering as to how they are doing in the eyes of the decision-makers and power-brokers with the firm, they are never left to wonder this at all and are always guided in how they are doing and how they should improve. Another major strength to the overall process is that the feedback process is a loop that never ends rather than being sporadic and/or misfiring in nature (Goldsmith & Carter, 2010).
If there were some ways to improve the overall process, the author of this report would center on a few things. First, a lot of the questions asked about the executives that are vying to enter the program are a tad too subjective and ambiguous. Rather than the asking of questions that will tend to have subjective answers and/or answers that are not based on complete perspectives, there should instead be a focus on what is verifiable and knowable about the applicant. There also needs to be a discerning in advance of onboarding the executive (or even a regular employee) as to whether there is a person to culture fit. Indeed, there needs to be a link between the strategy of a firm and the mindset of any prospective...
If they are at odds, than the performance that will be realized will likely not be as optimal as it could or should be. Finally, there should be a general focus on being as objective and detached as possible when assessing a candidate or current employee. Allowing personal perspectives and biases to cloud the process and/or its results is less than wise and will only lead to problems (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
As for at least two more effective approaches that Bank of America and other firms should use as part of a talent management process of the future, the author of this report consulted the large amount of recent and peer-reviewed literature that exists in the academic research sphere of this country and world. If there are two facets of talent management that the Bank of America needs to learn very well, it would be how to deal with the global banking marketplace and how to deal with economic downturns. Indeed, the recent global economic downturn that occurred in the United States in the form of the Great Recession as well as the similar struggles that occurred in Europe and Asia over the same period is a great example of this. The banking industry was especially hit hard during the global economic crisis and there were surely effects on the talent management processes and performance of firms within that sector. However, a source consulted for this report notes that much the same thing was seen with the global pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, the pharmaceutical industry was filled with firms that were clearly realigning their business and other strategic objectives in light of the global economic downturn. Concurrent to that, there was also a clear shift in the global talent management (GTM) practices used and applied by those same firms. Specific examples of actions or behaviors that were created or adjusted including the increased use of structural reporting, greater involvement of headquarter locations, greater involvement of regional headquarters locations and subsidiaries, different mannerisms in the making of talent decisions, different types and amounts of networking and a number of cognitive control strategies. However, there were some stark challenges presented even with these conscious adjustments including the values of top management in supporting investment in global talent management, a number of challenges that were encountered when it came to coordinating and controlling global talent management processes and how precisely higher management perceived global talent management in terms of value and necessity when perhaps other economic variables were starting to take higher precedence (Garavan, 2012). If there are two points to be made for Bank of America, it would be that the market for talent with a firm of Bank of America's stature is truly global and that global talent management should not fall by the wayside even if there is a massive economic shortfall in a country or even the world as a whole (Garavan, 2012).
Another source used for this report says much the same thing but actually centers on Bank of America's niche, that being the financial services sector. This source, rather than focusing on what can go wrong with corporate strategy and human resources during an economic downfall, instead focuses on how these potential downfalls and damages can and should be mitigated. They speak to the idea that corporate human resources has four distinct roles in facilitating global talent management on the level that the Bank of America would and should be performing at. They assert that "future global talent management research needs to be more closely embedded in the strategic pathways of the firm." In short, this article is asserting that even when there are social and economic challenges that rear their heads, there should not be a falling away from a focus on global (or even local) talent management because it is vital to keep the continuity and ongoing performance of the talent moving along and strong. This can be a hard sell to many people in the field of human resources and talent management given that harsh economic times are often typified by layoffs and corporate belt-tightening. However, to treat human resources, talent management and talent development as an afterthought just because times are tough is not the wise course of action. Surely, there needs to be fiscal responsibility and adjustment due to the problems. However, the people that remain with the firm and that are nervous about the future of their jobs need to be reassured and cultivated as much as is possible and practical (Sparrow, Farndale & Scullion, 2013).
Speaking of being strategic and thoughtful about talent management, that is precisely the focus and centerpiece of the last source used for this brief literature review of observations and recommendations for the future. It contains some recommendations that are well-attuned to the sort of advice that Bank of America should be…
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