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Winning The War for Talent

The recently concluded Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi erases any doubt about the potential Kenya has of becoming an economic power house. Kenya is among the many African countries that offer numerous investment opportunities in the following sectors: agriculture, mining, technology and the oil and gas industry. Local and international organizations in Kenya and in Africa are currently operating in an environment that is characterized by fierce competition for talent. Fast growing companies find themselves grappling with a dearth of talented individuals who can fill senior management and technical positions.

In the 70s and 80s, employees would start out at one company and retire while still working at the same company. In the current business environment, talent is mobile. Organizations have to work towards recruiting, training and retaining their talent. The public sector, which was known to retain talent for years in the past, has had to compete for top talent with the private sector. Organizations in Kenya and across the globe are fast coming to the realization that talent management is an indispensable element in the survival and success of every organization.

Companies seeking to shift from an ad hoc approach towards talent management to a strategic talent management, needs to recognize that it is easy to overlook talent and eventually lose it to the competition. Organizations treat talent as an afterthought for the following reasons: Most organizations are continuously growing in line with the demands of the market. In the process of seeking new markets, launching new products or services, the organization’s efforts are directed towards capitalizing on business opportunities. In other instances, the management does not understand the association between talent management and organizational performance.

An organization seeking to avoid the pitfalls of poor talent management needs to consider the following elements:

Talent training and development

Organizations need to train and develop their own talent. There is a need to recognize that skilled workers are not robots. They are career oriented hence they need opportunities that will allow them to advance in their careers. Skilled employees need to be given the opportunity to innovate. LinkedIn has a program known as “Incubator” which allows employees to develop a project alongside a team and present it to the executive staff. Incubator has resulted in the development of innovative solutions such as “go book”, a meeting scheduling tool that is currently used by the team internally. Executive education programs can also help organizations retain their top talent. Research has shown that executive programs slow down the turnover rates because they provide talented workers with an opportunity to grow. Executive education programs are a demonstration of a company’s commitment to the long term development of their employees.

Strategic alignment

An organization that is keen on sustainable growth must align its business objectives with its talent management plan. Fast-growing organizations can be categorized into two: those who mask their poor talent management plans with their growth and those who have realized that talent management is crucial to the organization’s growth. The latter is more desirable than the former. To move from the former category to the latter category, organizations need to answer the following questions:

  • Is the growth of the organization overshadowing critical human resources challenges?
  • Does the organization have the tools to anticipate and develop the required talent?
  • Should the organization be doing more to link its strategic objectives to its talent management plans?

The answers to these questions may not be obvious, even to the human resource department in your organization. At Virtual HR, we have tailored solutions that will help your organization:

  • Identify talent in your organization
  • Develop measures for retaining talent
  • Develop a winning talent strategy
  • Develop talent metrics