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Essay: Talent Management’s relation to global talent mobility

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Talent is the only differentiator for organization’s success in a global, complex, extremely viable and dynamic environment. In the early 1990s since a group of McKinsey coined the phrase War for Talent, the theme of talent management (TM) has grown to be one of the vibrant matters for managing academics, practitioners and consultants as well. Research saying that 80% of a business’s profits are generated by 20% of its workforce (Branham 2005) namely ‘A’ players so what if ‘A’ players hold ‘A’ positions. Organizations could prioritize on capital and technology or brilliant processes, but the most vital is to emphasize on people (Ready and Conger 2007).

Many factors contributed to writing this paper. First, it is the inimitable viable advantages of “people” contributing to achievement. Second, near is being small of consensus for the meaning of talent management and its practices and the overwhelming apply of the term among practitioners. The variety of thought threatens to make Talent Management another fad that HR professionals implement (Ruona 2010). Third, even with overwhelming growth in the use of the term and mounting blurred in Talent Management practices, there has been small peer-reviewed and the academic help is rather fragmented with the exception of important contribution provided by Boudreau & Ramstad (2005), Lewis & Heckman (2006), Cappelli (2008), Becker, Huselid, & Beatty (2009) , Collings & Mellahi (2009).

For this reason, analyzing talent management encompasses first the definition of talent adopted by the organization, the definitions and perspectives of talent management in practice heretofore. Thereafter, this paper analyses Talent Management’s relation to global talent mobility.

1.1 What is talent

Gaining agreement about the definition of “talent” is a essential first step in being able to manage that talent well. The word “talent” dates to antiquity and has a well-off history. What is now of individual importance was, thousands of years ago, money; to the Hebrews, Greek, and Romans, talent was a unit of weight when they exchanged valuable metal of that weight it became a element of monetary value (Michaels, Handfield-Jones and Axelrod 2001). Often most companies find bigger value in formulating their own talent definition. The Chartered association of Personnel Development “CIPD” defined talent as

“it consists of those individuals who can make a difference to organizational performance whichever through immediate contribution or in the longer term by indicating the highest level of potential. Talent can be measured as a complex mixture of workers’ skills, knowledge, cognitive capacity and potential. Employees’ standards and work preferences are also of major importance”(Tansley, Stewart, Turner, Lynette 2006).

Ulrich (2008) explain talent as the equation of 3Cs: Competence, Commitment and Contribution. Competence means that workforces have the skills and abilities today and in the future for required business outcome. Furthermore, means focusing on staffing, training, promoting, retaining and out placing employees. Commitment means that employees are concerned and engaged to the firm and this shows in the commitment indices, reports and productivity. Contribution means that employees discover individual abundance at occupation that explains the focal point on meaning and identity and other restraints that tap employees’ heart (Ulrich 2008).

Firms create organizations if they set and communicate standards and identify organizations necessary to deliver future work; they assess persons and teams and assess people on how well they meet standards; they invest in talent enhancement; and they follow up, track capability by using measures to track how well persons are developing their skills and how well the company develops its talent bench. Moreover, firms make stronger Commitment by understanding that “commitment” means that workforce are willing to give their discretionary energy to the firm’s achievement, which is considered as a worker value proposition – employees who dive value to their organizations should get value back. Getting this value back requires workforces to bring outcomes in the right way. Knowing what commitment they are wanted to make, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) specifies what employees will get from the firm when they gather expectations. Therefore, the most acceptable EVP delivers what Ulrich called “VOI2C2E”: Vision; Opportunity; Incentives; Impact; Community; Communication; Entrepreneurship. At last, companies strengthen involvement by identifying the relationships between the employee and the organization (Ulrich and Brockbank 2005). As Ulrich (2008) argued “competence deals with the head (being able), commitment with the hands and feet (being there), and contribution with the heart (simply being)”. Creating the organization’s own definition of talent ensures that it translates exactly what Talent Management aims to achieve. Hence, talent is highly correlated with existing performance and future potential; and how to keep it in the firm and not walking out the door. As the place of work is becoming diverse and mobile, talent is broadening beyond the usual emphasis on top management team.

Where there is threat to differentiate between people and to label them as “low talent” or “talent” from political, cultural and ethical point of view, creating the organizational definition of talent is critical for many reasons. It is to make sure explicitly and exactly what talent management is aiming to achieve, who is involved and who is excluded, to optimize the allocation of resource and progress needs, to clearly evaluate and provide clarity for employees to assess themselves, and to enable organizations to segment workforce correctly (Cannon and McGee 2007).

From researcher’s point of view, talent segments are correlated whichever to level of individual performance, to individual talent, or to pivotal talent positions (Michaels, Handfield-Jones and Axelrod 2001, Collings and Mellahi 2009).

1.2 Talent management

In the company of the intensified challenges of globalization, the growth of information age, the relative shortage of talent and the propensity of workers to change companies, talent management gained more significance. Why is it important for organizations nowadays?

Talent Management is a relatively new concept emerging only in late 1990’s, derived from the phrase “The War for Talent” coined by McKinsey to underline problems that companies had in attracting and retaining talented people.

Although much theory’s argued, there is nothing new about the different approaches of talent management- attraction, retention, motivation and engagement, development, and succession planning. The earlier initiatives are integrated together to create a more coherent whole that consists a means for the growth and implementation of coordinated and sustaining approaches that help companies to obtain the talented people it requests now and in the future (Armstrong 2006).

Expressive the complexity of defining Talent Management because of the complex responsibility in use within the strategic human resource task, the Chartered Institution of Personnel Development (CIPD) affirms that Talent Management is “the methodical attraction, identification, development, commitment retention and deployment of those persons with high potential who are of particular value to a company”. CIPD adds that Talent Management is “a vibrant process that has to be constantly reviewed to ensure that organizational necessities are still being met in the light of changing business priorities” (Tansley, et al. 2006). Ultimately, organizational achievement is the most effective evaluation of Talent Management. This CIPD definition includes explicitly the term systematic that show the permanent task and potential related to future performance. Nevertheless, it also embeds the term specially value that can be about anything.

Human Resource Management (HRM) are now mainly in the business of Talent Management. Gurus in HRM declared that “today Talent Management has become a powerful strategic force within companies in general and HR in specially as businesses, schools, universities, hospitals, governmental agencies plan and prepare to meet their talents needs of the future” (Storey, Wright and Ulrich 2009). Managing talent means that steps are insistently taken to ensure that workforce are competent, committed and contributing. Talent Management process and practices should be in conformity and aligned with building individual and organizational competence that enhances teamwork (Storey, Wright and Ulrich 2009). Lewis and Heckman (2006) revealed that there is “a disturbing lack of clarity regarding the definition, scope and overall achievements of Talent Management”. A CIPD study established 51% of surveyed HR professional and in charge of Talent Management activities, only 20% of them operated with an appropriate definition of talent and talent management (Tansley, et al. 2006). Moreover, as Ashton and Morton (2005) established clearly, there is no single and concise definition of Talent Management; hence, this paper will analyze Talent Management perspectives to date.

Some companies adopt an inclusive approach to Talent Management creating a ‘whole employees’ approach to engagement and talent development (Tansley, et al. 2006).

Hence at one extreme, Talent Management can encompass the whole of HRM for the whole of the employees, which is not very useful when trying to narrow down what is meant by Talent Management (Garrow and Hirsh 2008). In the War For Talent book for instance the authors emphasized identifying the top 10 percent not only for hiring but for retaining and nurturing once inside the organization where this will completely suggest ignoring everyone else (Pfeffer 2001). In more facts, there is more than one kind of inclusivity. At the other extreme, companies execute a more exclusive focus on segmenting talent according to requirements. Exclusive strategies give attention to exclusively on an elite high potential few or on pivotal positions, rather than the inclusive ‘whole workforce’ approach.

The literature could generally illustrate four research strains, the first three streams recognized by Lewis and Heckman (2006), who suggest that Talent Management should target and focal point on employees with high-value added skills who are difficult to replace, then Collings and Mellahi (2009) added the fourth stream that emphasizes on talent positions first then talent pools correct for these positions.

2. Talent management substitutes Human Recourses Management (inclusive)

Talent Management is conceptualized in terms of typical human resource department practices and functions (e.g. changeover of personnel management to HRM) (Lewis and Heckman 2006). It renames HRM and reshapes HRD while restricting their important point on some of the HR exercise practices like recruiting, leadership development and succession planning (Heinen and O’Neill 2004, Cohn, Khurana and Reeves 2005). Researchers of this stream have a wide view of Talent Management that can be distinguished from traditional HRM by being strategic and future-oriented; it is fairly close to thoughts of the strategic human resource management text (Collings and Mellahi 2009).

2.1 Talent Management Generic (inclusive)

Talent Management is treated as a generic entity disregarding the company boundaries or precise positions. Within this perspective, two points of views of talent stemmed. A first approach is bearing in mind talent as valuable good. Companies seek to attract and build up high performers and reward them regardless their position. In this point of view advocates whichever classify employees according to their performance levels as “A”, “B”, or “C” as to be top, competent and low performers and taking action to “C’ players (Michaels, Handfield-Jones and Axelrod 2001), or “top grading” the company by only recruiting the “A” players (Smart 1999). The second approach of generic talent emerged from both the humanistic perspective where the role of a strong HR function is requisite to guide everyone to high performance (Buckingham and Vosburgh 2001) and demographic point of view which makes talent more of value (Lewis and Heckman 2006). This approach can be problematic because it is not preferable to fill all positions with “A” players. In this point of view, there is no difference between Talent Management and Human Resource Management practices (Collings and Mellahi 2009).

2.2 Talent management the custodian of the old succession planning focuses on talent pools (exclusive)

It ensures the adequate flow of people in the company and that is central to projecting employees and staffing needs and managing the development of these employees into positions where the focus is mostly internal (Boudreau and Ramstad 2005). This point of view which concentrates on the job flow of employees within an company, is also known as ”succession or human resource planning” (Conger and Fulmer 2003) focusing on internal labour market eventually on internal mobility of workforce (Lewis and Heckman 2006).

2.3 Talent management focus on “A” positions filled with ‘A’ players (exclusive)

Collings and Mellahi (2009) newly added a fourth perspective. They argue that, in contrast to strategic human resource management that usually focuses on all employees within the company, “strategic Talent Management focuses on those incumbents who are included in the company’s pivotal talent pool and who occupy, or are being developed to occupy pivotal talent positions”. Collings and Mellahi (2009) emphasized the discoveries of key positions that can differentially contribute in sustainable competitive advantage of the company (Huselid, Beatty and Becker 2005, Whirlpool 2007, Garrow and Hirsh 2008, Becker, Huselid and Beatty 2009). Here the progress toward improves the theoretical growth to make different Talent Management as a decision science (Boudreau and Ramstad 2005) and the usual HR policy and strategy (Collings and Mellahi 2009, Whirlpool 2007). This complies with Cheese (2008) who is certain about what he called “old paradigm” to discover the best and brightest and give them “free rein” that has proved company’ failure.

At last, most of the unusual definitions revealed by the analysts and the areas of focus demonstrated that Talent Management is not just about HR and is based on the notion of talent mindset. Collings and Mellahi (2009) end up with an unambiguous definition and paving the road of Talent Management.

The strategic Talent Management includes actions and processes that keep the systematic recognition of key positions which differentially contribute to the company’s sustainable viable advantage, the development of a significant talent group of high possible and high performing incumbents to fill up these positions, and the growth of a differentiated human resource architecture to facilitate filling these positions with capable incumbents and to ensure their continued commitment to the company (Collings and Mellahi 2009).

3. Global Talent Management definition

Global Talent Management includes all organizational activities for the reason of attracting, selecting, developing, and retaining the best workforce in the most strategic roles (those roles required to achieve organizational strategic priorities) on a global scale. Global talent management takes keen on version the differences in both organizations’ global strategic priorities as well as the differences across national contexts for how talent should be managed in the countries where they activate (Mellahi and Collings 2010).

Key role or pivotal positions are not concise to only senior jobs or executives; they are often revised to delivering business strategic targets. Thus, to position the right employees in the right place and at the right time requires watchful analysis of knowledge personnel, readiness to move to different culture, individual situation and the impact of cross-country as well as cross-cultural differences in talent development (Tarique and Schuler 2010).

Global talent management is obtains notice from academicians but the main difficulty persists that there is no consensus about the definition and the mechanism of the concept. Global talent management needs to make different itself from international talent management (Scullion, Collings and Caligiuri 2010) as well as the want for consent and agreement upon its meaning, mechanism and theoretical perspectives. Notwithstanding, global talent management requests a number of international human resource activities (Tarique and Schuler 2010) but needs to be studied as its own right (Scullion, Collings and Caligiuri 2010).

Eventually, Talent Management strategy focuses on three types of questions. The first type: what part of the company must be well again served by taking persistent approach to developing talented jobholders; the second type is concern where to find good people from inside or outside for the reason of pivotal roles; and the third type is concern what development outcomes the company seeks to accomplish (Garrow and Hirsh 2008). It is significant to bear in mind the importance of aligning Talent Management strategy with the business strategy and to nurture a visible culture in order to carefully acknowledge, promote, and consequently maintain talent If honesty and transparency in identifying and developing talent is highly required in Talent Management, it is extremely necessary in the global context. In principal, persons in the different talent pool are conscious of their existence there, even though it varies among organizations and among unit levels in the organizations (Makela and Ingmar Bjorkman 2010).

3.1 Global Talent Mobility

Not only jobs are being exporting and outsourced, the supply aspect, around the global market but also professional staffs are turning more mobile too (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010). Mobility of global talent management is connected with higher approach of talent management, namely the global management of talent that is fraught with many challenges (Mellahi and Collings 2010). Global mobility advocates a careful consideration for Human Resource development, in particular in multinational corporations (MNCs). When talking concern global talent; this refers to many factors.

First, there is a growing acknowledgment of the contribution of globally capable talent in company’s success and to remain viable where talent is needed in different locations of the global business (Ready and Conger 2007). Research shows that 12 % of the senior managers in multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in emerging markets cannot be replaced by managers from the host country citizens (Li and Scullion 2010).

Second, employers relocate the competition from country stage to regional and more to global level (Scullion, Collings and Caligiuri 2010, Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010). Third, shortages in managing talent internationally particularly leadership talent have been a significant limitation to implementing global strategies effectively (Cohn, Khurana and Reeves 2005). At last, the exponential growth of rising markets urges the demand of important managerial talent with exact skills and potential, who can operate in unusual economic, cultural and distant markets (Scullion, Collings and Caligiuri 2010).

Rotating talented people into a variety of roles and functions will give them the chance to round out their competencies and skills and be prepared for general management. It is significant to track global manager performance about his extra-cultural openness and adaptability, family circumstances, motivation, and his local (host country) and contextual awareness that impede his decision making and threaten his performance in that market. For this purpose, Li and Scullion (2010) propose a theoretical framework from a knowledge-based viewpoint to develop ‘expatriates’ local capability in emerging markets.

Talent progress includes mobility between business units domestically and overseas. It is necessary that job shifts and production structure be fundamentally associated because developing huge pool of talent could lead to oversupply and the developed cadre would simply have no place to go. Therefore, mobility into rising movements will be limited (Nalbantian and Guzzo 2008). Mobility is an improvement considering that consistently growing and developing workforce would result a large leadership bench that first has become an exclusive inventory who can walk out of door because they do not wait sitting on the bench then workers’ motivation to make higher positions would diminish (Cappelli 2008). Hence, creative moves with new and challenging tasks in different country, contribute to retain those overachievers who lead the organization to a sustained competitive benefit.

Despite the fact that high potential personnel have an expectation that they could be often faced with new challenges, several skills are compatible with new environment and other are more difficult. Five kinds of human capital shape the mobility or “portability” of employees and they range from most convenient to least, which means those skills that fit with the new organization or not:-

  1. The general management, those associated to skills, traits and knowledge required for management are more likely to fit in the new position.
  2. The strategic ones, those related to development and specific experience,
  3. The industry exact skills that fit in one industry but do not in another one.
  4. The relationship skills namely the interpersonal relationships within the company; those could be tough to adapt and are significantly unusual from one country to another. At last,
  5. There are the organization specific skills that are exact to knowledge of the organization’s rules regulations and procedures (Groysberg, Sant and Abrahams 2008).

Consequently, organizations have to ponder the kind of mobility to be performed and for whom, then the size of talent mobility (Nalbantian and Guzzo 2008). Besides, managers should not only spotlight whether performance in the new role is portable but somewhat on how much performance is moveable and in which position it fits (Groysberg, Sant and Abrahams 2008).

Mobility as a leadership growth strategy contains numerous disadvantages. It disrupts and weakens accountability because employees may leave before their decisions play out. In addition, workers who are not in the cycle of mobility and development may suffer of the routine and may feel demoralized particularly when they stick to jobs too long. Global mobility is expensive; it deals with international tasks. It supports people chasing new experiences perhaps in favour of other strategic and operational aims (Nalbantian and Guzzo 2008). Mentoring and coaching are sensible means to support global mobile talent. It is necessary for managers who are performing globally to nurture managerial ties and association with the new environment in order to enhance acquiring and sharing knowledge. Li and Scullion (2010) propose that strategies for running global talent that are based on conventional local competence growth tend not to succeed in the context of rising markets.


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