Friday, 03 Dec, 2021




A Review into Talent Management, Talent Retention and its Scope for Learning Organisations

International Journal of Knowledge Management and Practices

Volume 2 Issue 1

Published: 2014
Author(s) Name: Amrita Bihani, Karishma Dalal | Author(s) Affiliation:
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The demographic changes that we see occurring in many of the regions where we operate–shrinking populations, an ageing workforce and diversifying demographics-compound the challenges we face and intensify the war for talent. Peter M. Senge, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first coined the term The Learning Organization in his famous book The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization in the 1990s. He said that a learning organization is an organization that has developed the continuous capacity to adapt and change. This means that the organization views change not as a threat to resist, but as an opportunity to become more effective, flexible and responsive. For this to happen, he argues that organizations need to discover how to tap peoples commitment and capacity to learn at all levels. An organization needs to attract, retain and nurture people who foster a sense of purpose, develop unique strategies, attract other committed people, have an ability to innovate and view work environment as a continual learning structure. Talent management is becoming increasingly crucial for such an organization that endeavors to compete in this increasingly complex dynamic business environment that fosters disruptive technologies and shifts in customer preferences. They say that a company is only as good as the quality of its talent. Indian companies today are grappling with double digit attrition rates which at 14% is more than the global average and that costs the organization three to four times an individuals salary. Top turnover drivers in India include poor job definition, leadership quality, inefficient people management, non-competitive compensation, inadequate career advancement and work-life imbalance. Every organization has high performers, employees who are head and shoulders above their co-workers in terms of the value they bring to the organization. Sourcing and retaining such a workforce, contributing significantly to their career growth and aligning workers productivity to support corporate objectives are some of the major challenges faced by organizations today. Today businesses are in a state of constant flux, they need to be agile enough to react quickly to a dynamic environment, while maintaining a long-term strategic focus. Despite continuing to be of significant interest and popularity of both academicians and practitioners alike, the content and practices of talent management have remained obscure. Talent management has always probed into effective attraction to retention of knowledgeable talent. Talent retention has now come to the fore as organizations realize that more and more to be levied on the existent talent workforce rather than attracting newer ones. According to a recent research by, nearly 61% of the CEOs have employee satisfaction as an integral part of their goals whereas 80% of CEOs say that HR issues are core to a companys success. About 73% of CEOs spend a fourth of their time in talent development, with a similar percentage spending it on retention of the best performers. Talent management has become a headache for CEOs with only 30% saying that they have the talent they need to fulfill their future growth ambitions. Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith a leading columnist with the Forbes magazine states that money attracts but it does not retain, case in point being the low commitment, high turnover and the job-hopping frenzy of the modern Indian workforce. A recent Mercer survey backs this up with results showing that 54% of Indians are seriously considering leaving their present employer, the figure was just 26% in 2004, and this trend increases to 66% in the 16-24 year age bracket. Many of the generation next employees are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life. Perhaps then it is not surprising that career progression and training opportunities rank with pay as the top three factors motivating Indian employees to stay. And that means investments in talent management become a critical and strategic success factor in ensuring that Indian businesses can deliver. Salary increments are low-hanging fruit. Every employer can do that and there is no differentiation. Towers Watson Indias director for talent and reward practices, Subeer Bakshi says that Employee Value Proposition(EVP) can be an effective tool in creating right balance between employee preferences and employer needs. Employers need to gauge if their EVP which includes but is not limited to performance recognition, learning & development, career, succession management, supporting work environments, setting clear expectations, being a coach and building on employees strengths, fully utilizing and recognizing talent etc. are compelling and alluring enough. Talent management in India is a risk management strategy against the effect that it has on businesses having scarce or insufficient human resource capital to fulfill organizational requirements. Businesses today need to understand the cost of employee turnover because it causes the tangible and intangible costs to rise extensively. This includes the cost of not just of hiring the talent, but also the opportunity cost related to market losses, lead-time for actual delivery from new hires and productivity losses of individuals from affected teams. A look at the impact of talent constraints in India suggests that businesses have lost out in terms of cancelling or delaying key strategic initiatives. According to the 15th PwC Annual Global CEO Survey 41% of CEOs in India had to either cancel or delay a key strategic initiative and 39% of CEOs stated that their talent related expenses have raised more than expected. In such a scenario, both domestic Indian companies and multinational corporations operating in India have much ground to cover. Developing, managing and retaining individuals as part of a planned talent management strategy are of utmost signifi cance. A recent newspaper article quoted Fortis Global Healthcare Holdings CEO Vishal Bali, saying that increasingly, in a competitive job market, head honchos are called upon to play the role of a chief talent officer where their challenge is to retain the best and build the rest. This is progressively becoming the guiding principle across Indian companies, whether entrepreneurial, professional or family-run. With Indian companies now in the throes of a high growth trajectory, talent management and talent retention are becoming key responsibilities. Efforts and talent practices should be routed towards creating higher retention to be able to be better equipped with talented workforce. Past research shows that talent management practices have the greatest return on investment when aligned with key success indicators of an organization. This paper therefore deals with important needs and essence of Talent Retention in todays organisations which face intensive competition. It highlights the various facets of Talent Retention, its practices as well as depicts the various areas like commitment, satisfaction, hierarchical level of the employees etc., that retention needs to cater to and studying the relationship between the strategies that organizations implement and expectations of employees. These findings would help learning organisations explore and analyse the best practices that need to be undertaken to understand talent management, whether the strategies that they have adopted are giving them an edge in adapting and accepting change and to promote learning as a positive necessary aspect of the company culture. It is inevitable to understand the nuances of an organization without understanding its employees. Talent is important and organisations insist on the right kind of talent to be able to sustain competition and survive. Without having the right set of talent practices organisations may fall prey to competition which would invariably affect the survival of organizations.

Keywords: Learning Organisation, Talent Management, Talent Retention, Talent Strategies, Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

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