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
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
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
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.