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Sunday, 26 May 2013

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Shifting power from employer to employee

Heads of business organisations promote their employees as their biggest asset and a distinct competitive advantage. Contrary to this assertion, many of their initiatives and processes to retain the best talent remain totally out of sync with expectations of the target segment within, the organisation.

This may be due to the organisation's inability to identify and address the root causes of the issues faced by their best talent or a lack of talent friendly policies. In the pre-internet era, the majority of talented people within the organisation were safe from being poached by competitors due to the high cost of acquisition in terms of sourcing and the long period taken to hunt talent from outside.

Hiring of talent was also limited by cultural norms and constraints. Also many of the employees were content with their job and sometimes simply unaware of the opportunities available for their talent and its value.

Hand held access to information drives change in the flat world

In the globalised flat world the sheer volume of information has shifted the balance of power in favour of employees as opposed to the employer. The employee has now become aware of global employers, their best practices in retaining talent and perception about companies and their culture through media and social networking sites.

The constraints faced by employees to change jobs, due to lack of awareness of opportunities, no longer exist. HR managers while promoting initiatives to retain their best talent need to factor these new changes. Employees rarely raise questions or complain about their organisation when they get what they expect and communication lines are kept open.

They start complaining when in their perception the organisation recognises other employees more than them. This happens either due to the contribution of other employees becoming more valuable to the organisation due to changing business needs and able to deliver organisational expectations or the earlier blue eyed boy now failing to deliver what the organisation expected from him.

Of course there is a monetory aspect to it too. The problems due to complaining employees is not a new phenomenon but in the internet era it has assumed different dimensions and managing them has become more complex for the HR managers.

Disgruntled employees doing damage to an organisation's image is not just within the four walls of the organisation, but beyond through the wired world using blogs, facebook, twitter and others.

Any amount of assertions by HR managers about their talent retention and employee oriented strategy fails to cut ice with existing talent, compared to relatively fewer negative messages but within the targeted network by unhappy employees.

Top talent still leaves for greener pastures

The primary concern for a majority of SL organisations is the fear of their top talent leaving for greener pastures due to the increasing global nature of the talent war and better compensation in most cases.

This has been largely facilitated by hiring practices shifting from the traditional newspaper to specialised job portals and lately to social networking sites thus enabling job seekers to look for global opportunities.

Secondly, the opportunity that exists in emerging technologies to launch entrepreneurial activities with minimum seed capital acts as a trigger for top talent to venture out.

Thirdly, senior management in many businesses is more involved in direct business issues and talent management is of low priority in their radar. Often the management is unable to fathom the technological upheaval which is leading to talent becoming the key ingredient for success of future businesses.

Management considers all resignations with same yardstick. Most Sri Lankan organisations have failed to recognise talent management issues as part of the business strategy and at best consider it as a passing phenomenon in their business cycle. The choice is yours but without talent, businesses cannot survive which we all know through experience.

 

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