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Essay: How can ARM attract talent to effectively compete in the Microchip design industry?

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Having recently been taken over by Softbank, microchip design company ARM Holdings, they recognise the need for innovative designers that will help maintain the firm’s reputation as the world leader in Microchip design. The strategic plan is to double the workforce recruiting the brightest chip designers. Within the first 2 years they have increased their workforce by 24%. In order to achieve the pledge made by Softbank a HR plan has been developed to recruit a further 1200 staff. Talent is now the critical driver of corporate performance and the company’s ability to attract, develop and retain talent will be a major competitive advantage far into the future. (Axelrod, 2001, p. 2). As described by Huselid (Mark A Huselid, Richard W Beaty and Brian E Becker, 2005) when recruiting talent it is important to have a balance between high potential and future potential, by looking to attract and recruit only the best ‘A player’s’ could limit the future potential especially for an Arm as it has a commitment to a long term vision , it needs to have innovative talent that can continue to compete in the Microchip design industry in years to come

To gain competitive advantage, organisations need to develop a strategic approach to talent management that suits the business and gets the best from their people. (CIPD, Talent Management, 2018)

Fundamentally the company will need to consider their current recruitment strategy, job evaluations will help identify the current talent within the company. In order to be able to manage the new 1600 employees, how many middle and senior managers will be needed.

The process of attracting talent needs to be managed in a way that fits in with ARM’s strategic development plan, as described by CIPD ‘Talent management is the systematic attraction , identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles.’ (CIPD, Talent Management, 2018) .

In order to achieve ARM’s aim of recruiting great chip designer talent, the Human Resource strategy will need to identify a framework for not only identifying qualified candidates, but also ta way of choosing those with the greatest capacity to succeed in the role (High Potential). (Ian Macrae, 2018)
In other words, the aim is to get the right people into the right roles with the right skills and attitudes to deliver value to both the organisation and the individual themselves. (Ian Macrae, 2018)

The workforce plan will need to be flexible to suit the various aspects of ARM, this includes location, (both environmental and geographical) and current workplace culture. It’s about improving business performance and reducing organisational risk by narrowing the gap between a business having the people it really needs and who it has. (CIPD, Workforce Planning Strategy, 2019).

However, it is also likely that the most effective recruiting sources would vary depending on the specific organization. By planning to conduct a systematic follow up assessment on the post hire performance of the previous Microchip Designers recruited by |ARM in the latest selection process, will help establish how well the selection devices (tests, psychological assessments, role plays, observations, try outs etc ) success, resulting in a more accurate selection process resulting in the recruitment of higher-performing employees. (Terpstra, 1994).

Stacey,R.(1996) ‘An organisation succeeds when its people are emotionally engaged in some way , when they believe in what their group and their organization is doing when the contribution they make to this organisational activity brings psychological satisfaction of some kind,’ To achieve this the ARM should involve the staff at all levels in the development of the human resource strategy, this involves creating opportunities to listen to new ideas, encourage innovation and a structure of communication .

Upon establishing that the Human Resource plan aligns with the organisation’s objectives, (Holbeche, 2009) a strategy to develop a system of attracting the best Microchip Designers, a process of recruitment and selection will be developed setting GOALS that are SMART .

The use of strategic HR Tools including a Strategy Map, HR Score card and a Digital Dashboard will provide a visual tool that will translate the strategic goals of the organisation into human resource management policies and practice.

A systematic use of HR policies and procedures that are specific to the location and relocation management of talent that is attracted from a Global network will provide a measurable system of training, development and evaluating employees, that will be consistent with the organisations strategic direction whilst carefully considering staff welfare and concerns as well as local regulations and requirements . (Schuler, 2011)

ARM are a company that takes ‘a long view’ and is committed to its vision for the next decade, a Global Talent Management plan identifies a process that does not start with the recruitment, but identifies the challenges considering Global Talent may bring when developing Human resource policies that include Global Talent Management. (Schuler, 2011)


In order to establish the talent needed by ARM, the skills and behaviours required should be identified. What exactly does ARM want, are they looking for a highly skilled worker that can get the specific job done or do they want something more, does ARM want real talent? This leads to further questions, as a British company taken over by a national company, is their current location suitable, does it have the environmental factors needed to attract the best talent from around the world.

A Talent Management Framework

To be in with a chance of attracting the best talent, the managers within ARM need to be on-board with the understanding that it is an individual’s skills and abilities that are the central to achieving this objective, by attracting skilled and motivated people, this will help ARM continue its aim of continuing to be one of the best in the Microchip industry. (Ghoshal, 2002) In the most general sense, talent is the sum of a person’s abilities- his or her intrinsic gifts, skills, knowledge, experience, intelligence, judgement, attitude, character, and drive. It also includes his ability to learn and grow. (Axelrod, 2001) . Before we can begin to acquire great chip designer talent, we need to establish what the current great talent looks like and what we need it to be in the future, we will be looking for high potential. Having high potential is about being talented and capable of exceptional performance in the future. (Ian Macrae, 2018)

For Arm to attract, retain and obtain the best talent, they themselves will need to be seen to be attractive, as written by (Peters, 2009)

What ARM has to offer needs to be available to anyone carrying out a search of the company, organisational values are most important to attracting candidates, followed jointly by career development opportunities and pay and benefits. (CIPD, Resourcing and Talent Planning , 2017)

Looking at other organisations such as GCHQ and their testimonials written by current employees about their experience working for the company is a good example of demonstrating why potential employees should work there.

CIPD describe the need for talent management as being crucial within an organisation, that when operating within an international market, further challenges such as culture and environment can be met. It is important to understand the local talent and skills available in the areas where the company are operating. (CIPD, International Talent Management, 2019)

How ARM is going to manage such talent is a critical factor, both (Michael Mankins, 2013)and (Aaroz, 2014)describe how more productive and valuable a talented worker can be than an average worker. By bringing together a large group of talented ‘A players’ the right components such as a good talent management programme needs to be in place. (Michael Mankins, 2013)(Peters T. J., 2010)

Whilst design technology can be deemed to be a talent for the younger generation, ARM should recognise that an ageing workforce brings not only knowledge and skills but also valuable experience, when considering the work environment ARM should look at creating a work environment with cultures that value the older workers contributions. (Cluff, 2005) with an aim of attracting a diverse workforce.

High Potential must be defined by considering the person, the organisation and the type of work. By ensuring the talent management strategy focuses on human capital investment and includes the management of talent high on the corporate agenda, this will develop an organisational approach to building a high-performance workplace. ARMS’ strategic approach will contribute to other strategic objectives including building a high-performance workplace, encouraging a learning organisation, adding value to the ‘employer of choice’ and branding agenda, contributing to diversity management, accessing human capital data to aid better business decision and increased productivity levels. (CIPD, Talent Managment , The benfits of talent managment , 2019)
Finding high potential involves attracting a pool of qualified candidates then choosing those with the greatest capacity to succeed, this may involve enticing high potentials from other companies. (Ian Macrae, 2018, p. 10)

ARM’s plan to recruit a further 1200 microchip designers will include a review of the current talent working for the company, by adopting a portfolio approach and placing the best employees in strategic positions, good performers in support positions. Human resource management team will be able to identify a succession plan that is identifies a development plan for each role. The main aim being to manage the portfolio of positions so that the right people are in the right jobs. (Mark A Huselid, Richard W Beaty and Brian E Becker, 2005)

A company cannot run on A players alone , for the purpose of this recruitment plan , A players could be what ARM are currently looking for but without the support of B Players and C Players the A player may feel they are of little strategic importance, (Mark A Huselid, Richard W Beaty and Brian E Becker, 2005). As micro chip designers are not easily replaced, the Human Resource Plan will include investing in the talent sourced that may not yet be ‘the best’. Superstars perform at such a High Level that makes them attractive to outside firms, and thus a high degree of job mobility. (AGUINIS, 2012).

The future of technology is an unknown, for ARM this is an opportunity to be at the forefront of the Microchip industry, when seeking the most talented designers, consideration will be can these new employees adapt, manage change and overcome the challenges that change bring. (PWC, The talent challenge:Harnessing the power of human skills in the machine age, 2017)

The CIPD report of 2018 on Talent Management identifies that there is a trend in that there is a shortage of Talent, with increasingly competitive Global Markets and changes in corporate governance and demographic trends, by developing an organisational management strategy that focuses on investing in human capital will contribute to ARMS’ strategic objectives. (CIPD, Talent Managment, 2018).

The HR Plan will include parallel plans that includes organisational recruitment and the use of temporary workers.

ARM will access talent using the GIG economy, whilst this may result in a higher turnover of talented resources, the talent can be sourced from across the globe, and other policies will need to be restructured. The benefits will include a throughput of fresh ideas, workers will be paid upon completion of work, creating a competitive nature to incite high achievement. (Uzialko, 2017)

By involving the senior management as part ARMS’ ‘talent panel’ will helps to embed the strategic partnership needed throughout the organisation, those managing staff should not only take responsibility for managing the performance and identifying and developing talent in their own areas but should be competent and willing to see talent how an individual’s talent benefits the wider organisation rather than a local resource. (CIPD, Talent Management, 2018). According to the PWC key findings CEO’s are adapting how they are reconfiguring processes and at times entire operating models, focusing on making talent more strategic to pursue market opportunities. The plan needs to consider the impact the growth will have on the communities in which the company is based, what opportunities are available for the workforce outside of work and for their families, .(PWC, ‘Why would a talented person want to work here?’, 2012)

Arm believe themselves to have a rare culture when it comes to recruiting the right talent, they are looking for team players with a passion for progress and who are willing to give things a go even if things don’t work, in order for the company to retain this type of talent they will need to look at employing suitable managers , as described by (Bass, 1997) a manager with transformational leadership style will strive to work within the Microchip industry to continuously respond to customer requirements and be the best in the field.

According to the McKinsey team, companies should hold their line managers accountable for attracting, developing and keeping talent. (Hiltrop, 1999)
In the PWC CEO report of 2017, research identified that competition for qualified talent had increased in that previous year, with the number of unsuitable candidates applying for positions increasing. Organisations are experiencing growing competition for talent and are increasingly recognising that the skills needed for jobs in their organisations are changing.

Employer Branding

As part of the plan to acquire great chip designer talent, Arm’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) will need to be evaluated to take into consideration competition EVP’s and tailored to appeal to the type of designer talent the company is aiming to attract. (Axelrod, 2001).

Organisations recognise that values are increasingly important to candidates and employees alike that they should be at the heart of their brands. (CIPD, Resourcing and Talent Planning , 2017)

For Arm to attract the very best chip designer talent, the EVP will identify what they have to offer how it is remarkable to the desired talent group, this could involve reviewing how the brand is marketed, the best route to healthy growth is a remarkable product. (Godin, 2004). ARM can increase their attractiveness to potential employees through activities that develop awareness of and perceptions of the organisation as a good place to work, they can gain a strategic advantage over competitors by developing a strong brand image as a desirable employer. (Greg L. Stewart, 2011)

As HR advisor to Arm, an understanding of the company’s strategy is needed, the strategy should be flexible in that as time goes by and competitors mimic Arms strategy, with research and innovation Arm should continuously review the strategy with an aim to develop and enthuse the employees by involving them in the process. (Markides, 2006). What organisational environment must I create internally to elicit the employee behaviour that will support the strategy? (Markides, 2006) ARM will include in the HR Plan the need to include within the strategy the importance of reviewing working environments are meeting the needs of the current employees and suitable to attract highly talented employees.

Organisations are placing a renewed focus on improving their employer brands, with almost nine in ten making efforts to improve it in the last year. (CIPD, Resourcing and Talent Planning , 2017).

Arm will need to be ‘A place where people not only get paid “their due,” but also…Get to initiate & execute Great Things. A place where they can add… “Awesome Entries”…to their WOW Project Portfolio… and add Equity to their “Brand called you.” (Peters, 2009)

For ARM to ensure their EVP will attract the best talent they need to ask, ‘Why would a talented person want to work here?’ (Hiltrop, 1999), they should look at what it is that attracts top talent to their competitors.

(Axelrod, 2001) describe that in order to have a winning EVP, the company will need to apply the same rigor to people management as they would to their customer management.

In order to attract the best Micro Chip designers , having and EVP with an aim to attract Millennials as well as experienced designers requires ARM to have a strategy that researches and identifies the , their current EVP includes offering a 20 day sabbatical every 4 years, many companies are using sabbaticals as a retention perk, encouraging their most valued staffers to go away. (Solomon, 2000)

As the aim of the Human Resource Management plan is to recruit the best Micro Chip Talent, this is becoming an increasingly competitive process. As described by (Bell, 2005) in seeking top talent, the two elements that have emerged as key differentiators are company attractiveness and responsibility – corporate conduct and ethics. Research into what other Microchip and software companies offer their staff will enable ARM to continuously redefine their EVP to match current trends. Researchers should be careful when deciding who their competitors are, remembering that the most profitable companies are not the most profit-oriented (Kay, 2004), ARM are planning to attract the best Micro Chip Talent, to join a company that is innovative and forward thinking, working on the short term aim of recruiting over 1200 employees whilst thinking about the long term plan of being best.

By building professional relationships with Universities that are deemed to be top of the field in the subject area of Microchip technology , ARM will have the opportunity to attract highly skilled Talent , it must be remembered that the University will of provided the knowledge, Arm will need to include in its HRM strategy a plan for onboarding and developing the talent . (Xiaoxian Zhu, 2011)


For ARM to achieve its aim of keeping Softbank’s pledge of doubling the workforce within the timescale, the Human Resource management plan will look at a variety of methods to recruit the best talent available. Having considered the attributes desired by the potential employees when developing the HR Policies, this will effectively target the applicants when recruiting. (Wendy Casper, 2013)

By actively pursuing Passive Candidates ARM could find the some exceptionally talented designers, who are not actively seeking alternative employment, but when approached are willing to hear from recruiters and what they have to offer. (Linkedin, 2019), sometimes opening opportunities for like-minded individuals creates a network of talented people , (Crainer, 2009) reported on an experimental approach to harvesting bright ideas resulted in creating a network of talent which when recruiting they could approach .

Good recruiting can lower employment costs by making sure that new employees know what to expect from the organisation, which helps keep employees on-board once they arrive. (Greg L. Stewart, 2011)

Management Innovations that can humanise work are ones that are most likely to be successful and they will help your company recruit the best of the best. (Breen, 2007) Looking at successful companies that have managed the growth of their organisation such as Zappos, the recognition of the need to invest in the three key areas, customer service, company culture and employee training and development , the culture of the organisation is supportive to not only the staff but also to the customer ( who could be a potential future employee) . (Hsieh, 2010)

As ARM have recently increased its workforce by 25%, including a process of sharing where the talents at will support the targeted recruitment part of the plan, by seeking knowledge from existing and newly appointed members of staff about their Job History and that of previous colleagues will help identify areas of potential talent.

Effective recruitment sources used by google include referrals from current employees, working closely with University professors to make sure they refer the best students and contests such as code Jam where contestants win a prize for writing a computer code thus identifying top talent. (Greg L. Stewart, 2011)

When looking at potential areas of recruitment, ARM will ensure that the HR team have an understanding of not only the role as per Job Specification but great knowledge of the subject , as described by (Prensky, 2001) the digital native ( ARMS HR recruiter ) needs to understand what it is the Digital immigrants potential talent could be .

An example of targeted recruitment by Hard rock Café recognised that its consumers and candidates were often the same person and by launching a multi-faceted Facebook campaign to leverage their strong ‘Fan Brand’ (WORKFORUS, 2015) By using methods of recruitment similar to Hard Rock Cafes’ Work for us APP, ARM will be able to target their recruitment via social engagement thus providing a broader spectrum of global talent. Strategies are including a mix of job boards and social networking sites thus allowing recruiters to source the best talent, allowing them to target the top talent efficiently and effectively (Madia, 2014).

Whilst it is understood that ARMS customers are indirect and not likely to become candidates of the company, the companies that use the chips to build the products may have suitable talent that will come will innovative ideas as to what the future of the Microchip looks like- thus being a potential candidate to recruit.


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