Strategic HR for talent management


Implementing a specialised HR system can help identify organisational needs and direct resources to where they can benefit the most, which in turn helps companies to achieve their strategic goals, a study suggests.

While most companies agree people are the most valuable asset, a recent survey in the UK found that only three out of five businesses take a strategic approach to talent management.

How to hire, manage, develop and retain the best talent is crucial to the success or failure of an organisation. In light of that, a new study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School suggested that implementing a specialised human resources system might be a way out.

The study indicated that implementing a specialised human resources system can help identify organisational needs and direct resources to where they can benefit the most, which in turn helps companies to achieve their strategic goals.

The research paper titled Strategic Talent Management Systems and Employee Behaviours: The Mediating Effect of Calling, co-written by David Ahlstrom, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Management at CUHK Business School, Prof. Chen Shu-Yuan at the National United University and Prof. Amber Lee Yun-Ping at the National University of Tainan in Taiwan, invited HR managers from 45 companies and 234 executives (who were considered by their organisation as “talent”) from various top-performing companies in Taiwan to participate in the study.

Here are the three aspects where a strategic talent management system was identified to be more effective in motivating talent to achieve the business goals of a company.

“Strategic” talent management to identify the right talent to the right position

A strategic talent management system is a highly focused HR system that provides resources and invests in talent, based on the value and uniqueness of their skills. Using this type of talent management system, companies could identify and position talent according to their organisational goals.

Prof. Ahlstrom explained that a strategic talent management system can help organisations succeed as it allows talent to make changes to their work routines through a concept called “job crafting” as well as by developing their professional calling.

Job crafting inspires a sense of calling and encourage positive behaviours

Job crafting refers to an HR technique that allows employees to have control over how they shape and execute their job tasks, as well as altering the way workers see the nature of their jobs. This helps build a greater sense of meaningfulness and a sense of calling among employees toward their jobs, which can make them perform even better in their companies.

It is noteworthy that calling usually refers to a strong inner drive towards a particular profession. The study explains that calling can have a remarkable effect on how an employee evaluates his or her work in terms of purpose and meaning, which prompts them to take charge in their workplace in order to achieve the goals and expectations of their work, and this could lead to an alignment so that they have the company’s best interest at heart.

The study results show that employees with a higher level of calling tend to develop entrepreneurial behaviour and are more likely to voice out their opinions to make constructive changes for their companies.

Challenging the status quo

Entrepreneurial behaviour, by definition, involves a significant amount of effort and willingness to develop certain new opportunities. Employees who exhibit a high level of entrepreneurial behaviour often tend to present more creative solutions when faced with problems and can constantly improve the effectiveness of their firms.

On the other hand, employees who voice their opinions proactively challenge the status quo at their existing firms and all too often lead to productive suggestions. Employees are also encouraged to speak up and they would not be intimidated even when their opinions are the minority.

“Every talent is different. Some may want more money while others may want more flexibility at work. Just like other business plans, you also need to strategise your talent management planning,” said Prof. Ahlstrom.

“Strategic talent management and intensive investment in talent will be the major trend for any businesses that want to succeed,” Prof. Ahlstrom says. “Our study shows that companies can use this approach to forge positive mindsets, such as the sense of calling, among their employees. This is key to building a bright future for your company.”

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