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  • 1. Talent management – competencydevelopment: key to global leadershipRakesh Sharma and Jyotsna BhatnagarRakesh Sharma is based at AbstractDabur Phrama Limited, Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to draw lessons on how building a talent management strategyIndia. Jyotsna Bhatnagar is based on competency profiling becomes a critical impact area within the field of strategic HRM.based at the Management Design/methodology/approach – The case study discusses an Indian pharmaceutical organisation,Development Institute, the environment and the issues arising in context to talent management. The case discusses a wellIndia. designed talent management strategy. Findings – The talent mindset has helped the organisation in recruiting the best talent from the best pharmaceutical organisations. The attrition of the top and valued talent segment has come down. Some of the key positions have been filled through succession planning. Research limitations/implications – The case study is in a lesser known but emerging sector of the Indian economy. The case has concentrated on attracting and developing and retaining key talent, it does not concentrate on developing average talent into key talent. Practical implications – The implications lie in whether to grow talent or buy talent. What signal through a communication strategy should a HR manager give when determining for talent segmentation? How to develop talent and retain employees when there are not challenging options available in the internal labour market? Originality/value – This paper provides insights to HR practitioners on how to attract, acquire and manage talent in a tight internal and external labour market. It also provides empirical support for, and theoretical understanding of, the strategic HRM literature on talent management theme. Keywords Competences, Globalization, Assessment, Employee development Paper type Case study Backdrop India’s pharmaceutical industry is poised for change. Enactment in early 2005 of patent protections that comply with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) has brought India to the forefront of potential outsourcing venues for the world’s pharmaceutical multinational corporations. European and US companies are being drawn to India for both manufacturing and research and development (R&D) due to rising costs of developing, testing and marketing drugs. Over the past decade, some of the large Indian Pharmaceutical companies also have branched out, selling their generic products abroad (particularly to developing nations) and establishing foreign subsidiaries. The globalization trends have put onus on Indian pharmaceutical companies to reinvent themselves. As expected, the question oft debated at various forums is whether India’s pharmaceutical firms rival and grow to compete with Big Pharma Multi nationals. The analysts maintain that the potential certainly exists, but Indian pharmaceutical companies will need to think strategically about their resources – human and financial – in order to take advantage of the opportunities. Such is the environment Bupharm has to survive in. Bupharm is a young and growing Indian Pharma Company operating in specialty space with a turnover of close to 80 million USD. It isPAGE 118 j INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009, pp. 118-132, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0019-7858 DOI 10.1108/00197850910950907
  • 2. driven by the vision of ‘‘To become world’s leading player in its industry’’. It is essentially afamily owned setup and, like most family-owned businesses regardless of location orindustry, it operates with a high level of owner involvement, though it is trying to acquire amore professional image.The organization is realizing that most of its prospective alliance partners and prospectivehires are interested in working with Indian partners who have not only owners, but alsomanagers with experience to build the necessary global relationships. Being a family ownedorganization it is also experiencing that the nature of this work requires a different type ofmanagement style. It is encountering a marketplace where management supply is quicklybecoming a deciding factor. The organization also faces the added talent managementchallenge of blending different cultures. The family owners are progressively dealing withindividuals who expect access to technology and a working environment at least asup-to-date as that of an MNC, as well as policies and procedures more in keeping with whatthey experience abroad. Programs that help these new employees integrate into theorganization also are critical.The decision-making environment is critical for high-level employees. In the USA andincreasingly in Europe, companies generally operate in a de-centralized andcollaborative mode. Department heads have high degrees of autonomy in budgetary,staffing and other matters. Boards of directors set strategy, but managers generallyhave the task of designing and implementing its execution. Thus, traditional top-downmanagement styles may seem cumbersome or constraining to innovative individualsaccustomed to speedy decision making. A bit of ‘‘bending the rules’’ may be necessaryin certain situations.Deciding how tightly – or loosely – to hold the corporate reins as an organization grows arenever easy. The owners are being called on to define ‘‘Everything decentralized-but’’strategy. Managing expectations among all parties, therefore, is crucial. The organizationwill need to learn to accommodate and adapt as the situation dictates.The organization has presence across the globe in over 40 countries and is striving tocapitalize on the product patent regime and strengthen its position in the highly regulatedmarkets. Its workforce is highly specialized with skills in R&D, Manufacturing, Supply-chainand logistics and of course specialized relationship based selling and is moving togethertowards its mission of ‘‘Making its therapy available to more and more people’’.Being an organization operating in a niche market, the skills are rare to find and being one ofthe pioneers in its area of operations Bupharm is becoming a training ground for many. Theattrition among critical and high performing individuals therefore, has become critical. At thesame time attracting the best talent is becoming increasingly challenging. Retaining thepeople is as important as hiring the right people.Talent management amidst changeBupharm is in an industry that is facing an acute talent shortage. The skills required arediverse. The ability to detail and diligently do the job is a great requirement. The demand isnot being met with the supply. We now see a lot of turnover in manpower with the limitedsupply being chased by everyone. Candidates also have a short ‘‘shelf life’’ in organizationsdue to lack of fit. Recruitment and retaining of right kind of person is real challenge for HR.In this scenario, definitely the talent pool is not catching up with the requirement. Theorganization feels the need to keep on educating its employees to meet the ever-increasingtechnical demands after recruitment.Owing to its global spread Bupharm faces an added talent management challenge ofblending different cultures. Bupharm HR (Structure – Figure 1) acknowledges andincorporates – at all levels – the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-culturalrelations, vigilance towards the dynamics that result from cultural differences, the j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 119
  • 3. Figure 1 Organogram – Bupharm Limited expansion of cultural knowledge, and the adaptation of services to meet culturally-unique needs. In many cases it has hired Westerners or non-resident Indians (NRIs) to fill key positions domestically or abroad. It has experienced that these individuals expect access to technology and a working environment at least as up-to-date as that of an MNC, as well as policies and procedures more in keeping with what they experience abroad. Programs that help these new employees integrate into the organization are also critical. Talent management strategy Bupharm has realized that realizing strategic vision through human resource shall begin at assessment of talent needs of business. Through the talent assessment it has mapped out Competencies relevant globally in this new environment which it needs to harness and develop. It is now investing in competency based talent recruitment and creation, creating environments, evolving appropriate management styles and developing their leadership pipeline to compete globally. After due deliberations and brainstorming, the Bupharm management decided to do talent segmentation, based on a highly competitive competency framework, both for getting talent into the organization as well as existing talent. The management team clearly felt that the depth and quality of the organization’s talent pool will determine whether they will lead its market and industry, or merely follow other companies that attract better, brighter, more talented people. Talent acquisition and management strategy The talent acquisition and management strategy involved: 1. Defining the competency framework relevant for the organizational growth: B For the senior management (refer Figure 2). B For the middle managers (refer Figure 3). 2. In-depth talent assessment based on competency framework for: B new hires; B existing employees. j jPAGE 120 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009
  • 4. Figure 2Figure 33. Identifying lynchpin positions as per the current organizational strategy: B Classification in terms of ‘‘Cannot afford to lose’’, ‘‘Critical now’’ and ‘‘Can go’’4. Making sure that the ‘‘Cannot afford to lose’’, ‘‘Critical now’’ resources are not leaving – making position attractive through: B development focus; B challenging assignments; B fast track growth; B higher education sponsorships, etc. j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 121
  • 5. The talent acquisition process The organization partnered with some of the leading search companies across the globe. The organization realized the need to tap into the global market and get the best talent to know the organization, its future plans and the excitement that they would be able to get through a challenging role. The CEO personally ensured that he was recruiting for most of the key positions. The organization adopted the following process to identify the right person for the given job: Step 1. The detailed job specifications of the position were documented. The methodology used was as per Hay. The position specs ensured that the detailed competency requirements from the role are clearly articulated. Step 2. Appropriate psychometric tools were identified and considering the global reach, were administered online or onsite. The tool used was Thomas profiling which was coupled with a leadership style indicator in case of specific positions. These tools map (Figures 4 and 5) responses of an individual in terms of: B strengths of an individual; B weaknesses of an individual; Figure 4 Figure 5 j jPAGE 122 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009
  • 6. B behavior under pressure; B value to organization.The leadership style indicator (Figure 6) maps the:B working style;B leadership style;B thinking style;B personal style;B career beliefs;B career motivation.The reports from these tools are validated by reference check feedback and competencybased interviews to see if a defined pattern emerges to base recruitment decision. Thereport was then being used to decide the further course of action for the possiblerecruitment.Step 3. A comprehensive docket that outlines the leader’s profile on criterion establishedearlier was generated. It underlined areas of strengths and opportunities. The docketincluded a confidential page outlining a metric ‘‘Recommendation’’ on employability to theorganization.Bupharm is now working on adopting a more robust selection process especially whenrecruiting for lynchpin positions. The process is expected to be used for both external andinternal recruitments. The proposed process steps are depicted in Figure 7The psychometric tools to be used for testing are shown in Table ITalent management processThe talent management process (Figure 8) was divided into the following steps:1. Identification of talent – the people were assessed on the organization’s competency framework. The methodology used was through the Assessment & Development Centers. This method was adopted for all middle managers.2. Based on the assessment results, the participants were plotted on a talent matrix (Figure 9) which is a Performance versus Potential 3 £ 3 matrix (middle managers only). The matrix was shared only with the CEO and the HODs. The employees are not aware of either the matrix or their talent type.Figure 6 j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 123
  • 7. Figure 7 Table I Psychometric tools used for testing S.No Test Purpose 1 16PF Psychometric instrument which profiles candidates traits and thereafter their linkage with competencies desired for the job 2 MBTI Tells an individual about his/her personality ‘‘type’’. It portrays behavior as stemming from basic differences in preferences 3 Leadership style The tool discriminate elements of ‘‘directiveness’’ and descriptor ‘‘command’’ as also ‘‘supportiveness’’ indicating the preferred style in problem solving 4 Situation decision tree An incident based questionnaire which details in a (SDT) normative manner the appropriateness and timeliness of the decision he makes (see Appendix 1, Figure A1) 5 EDGE A tool that benchmarks the ‘‘wisdom’’ band spread and ability to make critically reasonable deductions 6 Situation reaction test Participants are assessed for their basic attitude (SRT) towards work life through the way they react to various situations 7 Critical incident review A time-series analysis of an individual’s journey to (followed by BEI) growth. Extrapolation readings help indicate likelihood of reaction in different situational windows 3. Documentation of the individual development plan (IDP) (see Appendix 2, Figure A2) by the individual. It captured the following: B Aspirations – short and long term. B Areas of strength. B Areas of improvement. The format has been annexed. 4. Individual then discussed the IDP with the reporting manager/functional head. There were various learning strategies that could be adopted for leadership development. A brief summary is as per Table II. Based on the individual’s learning curve, criticality of role being performed, potential to do better, etc., one or more learning strategies was adopted. j jPAGE 124 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009
  • 8. Figure 8Figure 95. Signoff between the reporting manager/function head was taken to have complete commitment on the plan.6. Individual then took charge of his/her learning and the manager enabled the same.7. Reporting manager/function head conducted periodic reviews to ascertain the progress on each of the areas. These reviews were done one on one and the same was shared with human resources to facilitate the development.The ground reality on the talent matrixIn total approximately 150 middle managers went through this process. The assesses talentwas segmented into (Figure 10):B top talent;B valued talent;B talent under watch;B incompatible talent. j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 125
  • 9. j Table II Reflection In-depth thinking about personal Understanding lessons of Enhanced learning Time and guidance to do experience experience Personal effectively Self-understanding Poor job transfer Action learning Project-based learning directed at Socialization Tied to business imperatives Time intensivej important business problems Teamwork Action-oriented Leadership lessons not always Implement strategy clearl Over-emphasis on results Outdoor challenge Team-building experiences in Teamwork Emotionally charged Poor job transfer outdoor/wilderness settings Self-understanding Action-oriented Potentially dangerousPAGE 126 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 Practice Description Development target Strengths Weaknesses Formal program Classroom-based learning Skill development Flexible Poor tansfer of learning Shell for including a variety of Self-knowledge Efficient Lack of support on job practices Leadership principles 360 feedback Multi-source ratings of Self-knowledge Comprehensive picture Overwhelming amount of data: no performance organized and Behavioral change Buy-in gidance on how to change; time presented to a manager and effort Coaching Practical, goal-focuses form of Self-knowledge Personalized Perceived stigma (remedial) one-on-one learning Behavioral change Intensive Expensive Career development Job assignments Providing ‘‘stretch’’ assignments in Skills development Job relevant Conflict between performance and terms of role, function of Broader understanding of the Accelerates learning development geography business No structure for learning Mentoring Advising/developmental Broader understanding Strong personal bond Peer jealousy relationship usually with a more Advancement catalyst Over dependence senior manager Lessons learned/avoid mistakes Networks Connecting to others in different Better problem solving Builds organization Ad hoc functions and areas Learning who to consult for project Unstructured help Socialization
  • 10. Figure 10The organization adopted the following learning strategies based on the talent type:1. Executive coaching for approximately 12 key middle management positions.2. Formal training: B for building management and leadership skills; B for enhancing the problem solving and analytical skills; B others, based on the development need analysis.3. Provided job enrichment opportunities for high potential individuals.4. On the job projects and stretch assignment opportunities to valued and top talent.To make the learning happen, the projects and the special stretch assignments were linkedto the business strategies and were integrated into the individual’s goals. Therefore,evaluation and rewards got built into the process (see Figure 11).The above talent acquisition and talent management initiative has been operating for thepast 15 months. The organization has witnessed the following phenomena:B The organization has hired rare and highly talented people across the world from some of the best pharmaceutical companies.B The attrition rate for the top and valued talent segment in the organization has come down from 19 percent to 12.89 percent.B Some of the key critical positions have been filled from within the organization.Figure 11 j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 127
  • 11. B Bupharm will now be initiating a 360-degree feedback which will be based on the competency framework. Talent assessment Bupharm is also contemplating initiating a formal comprehensive talent assessment review. The steps for the talent assessment review. 1. Individual creates a self assessment document ‘‘know yourself’’, which includes the following: an updated resume, assessment of strengths and development needs, career goals and opportunities, details of annual achievements. 2. Face-to-face meeting between the individual and the reporting manager and/HOD to compare the self evaluation with the manager’s assessment-to review career interests and opportunities and agree on the development action plan. 3. After all such meetings, the HOD prepares: B A career forecast docket for each individual. The docket consists of: career background/experience; promotability/performance; detailed annual achievements; 360 degree feedback summary; and progress made by individual through IDP. B Preparation of functional staffing plan considering the available talent and what skills and competencies are needed in the team basis the organizational and functional objectives. B Succession plans with three replacements for his/her own position and those of his/her critical resource. 4. Discussion with the CEO by the HOD. The challenge Bupharm’s HR has zeroed in the following propositions which they felt would work best in the given industrial scenario (see Figure 12). P1. Every organization has a culture and only those candidates must be selected who align with the values defining this culture.Figure 12 j jPAGE 128 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009
  • 12. The organization’s culture is expressed through its actions and decisions. Via these it placesits distinguishing mark on the establishment of the market position and the organization’sbrand.It is therefore important that the organization knows and understands its value proposition.To achieve such an understanding the characteristics must be understood.An organization’s value proposition can be ascertained through an understanding of:B the organization’s self-perception;B how others perceive the organization;B the way in which the organization wishes to be perceived.The organization’s value proposition is also a methodology for identifying and describing thevalues that are tied to the brand internally in the organization and externally with customersand business partners.It will be a value-add for any organization to attract candidates who can espouse the valuesof the organization so that as employees they can feel committed to the organization. Thevalues can easily be translated into competencies which can become parameters forattraction, management, development and engagement of workforce.The dilemma. Can an organization in the given scenario of talent crunch act so fussily aboutits talent recruitment? P2. An organization must make the position attractive to bring high level professionals on board and retain them.High level professionals across the world want investment in their development and a robustcareer path. The organization should let them know their potential and what opportunitiescan be provided. They also want to work on cutting edge projects and know that they willhave the authority to manage those projects.If an organization’s goal is a superior, high performance workforce that is focused oncontinuous improvement, it needs to manage people within a performance managementand development framework. All high-performing employees want to visualize a career pathin their organizations or they will not hesitate to exit the system. They feel motivated whentheir performance is periodically assessed, recognized and they are given feedback.Keeping high-performing employees has become a top priority for today’s organizations. Atwo-year study by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans reveals that managers,supervisors, and team leaders play the greatest role in employee satisfaction ordissatisfaction. Thus managers and supervisors can do a lot to create challenging andmeaningful work, opportunities to learn and grow the sense of being part of a group.Competency based performance management and development framework gives thiseffort objectivity.The dilemma. Is it worth the investment of time and money on career development, in amarket with high talent mobility and employability?Can an organization differentiate its transparency levels depending on the social culturesurrounding the office location? (West versus Orient).Can an organization ‘‘afford’’ transparency in segmentation of talent and risk losingcommitment of non-priority talent? P3. An organization should keep a full pipeline for lynchpin jobs by regularly identifying high potential candidates.A rigorous bottom-up analysis of the entire organization, cut functionally, should be done toidentify the jobs that are critical to achieving the organization’s objectives. These positions j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 129
  • 13. should be effectively manned and the organization should invest in coaching employees who can act as substitutes for these roles. More investment should be done to determine which middle to senior management positions are essential to the organization’s long term health. Keep a full pipeline for those lynchpin jobs by regularly identifying high potential candidates. This has to be followed by increasing their leadership skills by giving the high potential candidates lynchpin assignments coupled with training and/or mentoring. P4. Developmental progress made by an employee should be measured regularly. Development is a long-term process. It is thus important to know whether the right people are moving at the right pace into the right jobs at the right time. Measurement will help ascertain whether the pool of candidates is shallow and when the number of attractive jobs is limited to retain high potential managers. The following are effective metrics: B important positions filled with internal candidates; B succession plans having two or more ‘‘ready now’’ candidates; B same employees as ‘‘ready now’’ candidates on more than two succession plans. The dilemma. How to ensure a solid slate of candidates for key jobs? How to retain employees if there are not enough challenging options available with an organization? The final question remains – On whom should the responsibility of an individual’s growth and development be pinned – organization, manager or individual? Further reading Bassett, P., Buxton, C., Pathania, R. and Sharan, M. (2007), Talent Management is the Key to India’s Pharma Future - Executive Insight, Korn/Ferry International, Los Angeles, CA, pp. 3-5. Chugh, S. and Bhatnagar, J. (2006), ‘‘Talent management as high performance work practice: emerging HRM dimension’’, Management and Labour Studies, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 228-56. Cogner, J.A. and Fulmer, R.M. (2005), ‘‘Developing your leadership pipeline’’, Harvard Business Review, pp. 2-5. Garrett, S. (n.d.), ‘‘Competency mapping: what is it and how it can be done by individuals’’, Career Planning & Adult Development Network, available at: www.careertrainer.com/Request. jsp?lView ¼ ViewArticle&Article ¼ OID%3 A112409&Page ¼ OID%3A112410 Reindl, R. (2007), ‘‘Growing talent at Edward Lifesciences’’, T þ D Magazine, February, ASTD. j jPAGE 130 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009
  • 14. Appendix 1Figure A1 j j VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING PAGE 131
  • 15. Appendix 2 Figure A2 Corresponding author Jyotsna Bhatnagar can be contacted at: jyotsnab@mdi.ac.in To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight.com Or visit our web site for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com/reprints j jPAGE 132 INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING VOL. 41 NO. 3 2009