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Key People

Stahl et al., (2012) state that talent management can be described as the strategy in business that facilitates recruitment, selection, and retention of the skilled workforce in the industry.  Talent management objectives have to be developed effectively using key approaches that can set the human resource strategies apart from the major market competitors.  The report focuses on approaches such as key people, key positions, key practices, supply chain, and strategic talent pool (Sparrow & Makram, 2015).  It has worked for framing and capturing the explicit and implicit approaches of strategic management.  Moreover, it also facilitates setting up alternate disciples such as strategy and supply chain to deal with strategic talent management (Kravariti et al., 2021).  The report has also tried to illuminate various material distinctions in different cultures and countries for considering strategic talent management on a worldwide scale (Ansar & Baloch, 2018).

As per the model derived from Sparrow et al., (2014), it can be seen that strategic talent management focuses can vary based on the needs of the approach where the company can take a low strategic uncertainty approach whereas the business can also take high strategic uncertainty approach. It also focuses on linking strategic talent management and supply chain management where the report discusses the risks and the costs associated with talent oversupply and undersupply, and the strategies developed to deal with it (Gallardo-Gallardo, Dries & González-Cruz, 2013). Therefore, the study uses differentiation-based talent management and compares, and contrasts the approaches to talent management but the focus will be on the major approaches implemented by the business in managing the talent which will include key people, positions, and practices approach (Cooke, Saini & Wang, 2014).   These approaches are significantly important for managing the talent pool effectively.  There are significant contradictions and dilemmas in identifying the effective approaches responsible for improving the performance of the business and the report provides a better understanding of these strategies (Valverde, Scullion & Ryan, 2013).

The key people approach has been developed for examining the composition of the team based on their performance and potential. The model can be used to provide a quick perspective of a group for auditing human resources, and can effectively facilitate making investment decisions (Morris, Snell & Björkman, 2016).  The model has been developed for references to provide support for the individual assessment processes and tools.  It has been used effectively for profiling a group of workforces for determining, explaining, and understanding the treatment appropriate for each of the categories.  Therefore, the actual and ideal mix is evaluated for highlighting the strategic gap (Makram, Sparrow & Greasley, 2017).  The matrix divides the workforce into four categories workhorses, stars, deadwood, and problem children (van Zyl, Mathafena & Ras, 2017).  The workhorses have high performance with low potential, stars have high potential and high performance, deadwood has low potential and low performance and problem children have high potential and low performance (Meyers & Van Woerkom, 2014). Each of these employees has been categorised based on their performance, and potential, which facilitates understanding the effective ways of managing these talents. AHRI has suggested a 9-box grid where the employees are divided into nine groups based on their potential and performance. The evaluation criteria are often based on the current performance and future performance potential of these employees (Meyers et al., 2020). These nine categories include dysfunctional genius, high potential, stars, up or out dilemmas, core players, higher performers, bad hires, up or out grinders, and workhorses.  It can significantly assess low, moderate, and high performance, and is a means of segregating employees (Shet, 2020).

Key Position

The key position approach is used for the segmentation of different job roles and it is used for classifying all the jobs and putting them on a standardised scale for all the tasks, pay level, duties, and responsibilities for a job (Whysall, Owtram & Brittain, 2019).  The job classification and grades have been assigned to each of the job roles so that they can be categorized and organised. The job classification structures vary in different business sectors, and the overall goal is to classify the job responsibilities (Rothwell, 2011). The job can be segmented into three categories A, B, and C. Category A includes all the job roles that focus on strategic impact, performance variability, value creation, value protection, value leverage, autonomous making of decisions, and performance-based compensation (Sparrow, Hird & Cooper, 2015).  Category B consists of support roles that need common skills, little variability in performance, and compensation based on job level, and finally, category C consists of job roles that may be needed and outsourcing of these job roles is possible and can be eliminated (Pagan-Castaño et al., 2022). The compensation for these job roles is provided based on the market price (Schreuder & Noorman, 2018).

The key practice approach focuses on all the strategies and tools required for managing talents effectively (Sparrow & Makram, 2015).  It consists of integrated practices, components, and strategies such as identifying and recruiting talent.  Human resources need to identify talented and skilled employees from the global pool (Swailes, Downs & Orr, 2014).  However, the more important aspect is attracting these talents into the organisation with effective policies and minimizing the attrition of the employees (Schreuder & Noorman, 2018).  It is also essential for identifying the internal talents within the business and managing the flow of talent within the business (Sparrow & Makram, 2015).  Once the employees have been recruited, it is also necessary for the businesses to develop effective strategies for developing the employees with effective strategies, and achieving a higher level of performance (Whysall, Owtram & Brittain, 2019).

The supply chain approach focuses on linking the supply chain aspect to talent management where cost and risks of oversupply and undersupply of talents can be utilised from both practical and theoretical views (Morris, Snell & Björkman, 2016).   The supply chain approach can be used to manage talent within organisations where employers have to work broadly to cater to a wider talent base which includes recruitment from a wider target base where some of the employees may not have the ability to cater to every job responsibility so these employees need to be trained, and skill level have to assessed to understand their usage (Makram, Sparrow & Greasley, 2017). The companies need to share detailed job specifications so that appropriate candidates can be gathered from the employees (Makram, Sparrow & Greasley, 2017).

Key Practices

The talent pool consists of a database of the potential candidate profiles responsible for working within the business. It consists of a mixed group of employees that are not a right fit for the business, former employees, passive candidates, and people with a generalised profile (Gallardo-Gallardo et al., 2015). The strategic talent pool approach evaluates the cost per hire and hiring time for each hire to understand the sourcing effort required by the employees for fulfilling the campaign recruitment (Whysall, Owtram & Brittain, 2019).  Therefore, if employees leave the organisation with an impromptu departure, the strategic talent pool can be used for hiring candidates effectively for filling the gap developed.

Key people versus key positions show that in the case of a high-risk environment, both these approaches are significantly important for managing the talent pool. The talent pool can be managed based on their characteristics, where they can be segregated based on their performance and potential, whereas the position aspect segregates the employees based on the job roles within the organisations (Meyers & Van Woerkom, 2014). Both these are responsible for understanding the talent pool that needs to be managed effectively, and the talent pool that can be replaced by the business without much change (Morris, Snell & Björkman, 2016). Therefore, these approaches are quite similar to each other but the basis of segregation is different (Naim & Lenka, 2017).  The key people versus key practices show that the key people approach focuses on segregating the workforce whereas key practices focus on developing strategies for managing their performance, and helping the employees in achieving a higher level of growth (Mahjoub et al., 2018).  Finally, in the case of the key practices and key positions approach shows that the first aspect focuses on managing the talent whereas the second approach focuses on segregating the workforce (Morris, Snell & Björkman, 2016).  Henceforth, it can be stated that these three approaches are key to managing the workforce where these approaches have been developed for understanding the diverse needs of the employees, and provide them with tools for improving their performance (Cui, Khan & Tarba, 2018).


Thus, it can be concluded from these talent management programs have significant importance for businesses, as they can help in gathering significant competitive advantage. The framework suggested by Sparrow et al., (2014), has provided diverse ways of dealing with talent management problems with various strategies, that includes the key people approach, key position approach, key practices approach, supply chain approach, and strategic talent pool. However, the first three approaches are the most important concepts for managing the employees effectively, where the employees have been segregated based on different criteria such as job roles, potential, and performance (King & Vaiman, 2019).

Supply Chain

On the other hand, the supply chain approach focuses on treating the talent pool as a supply chain so that employees can be hired from a wide pool of employees for ensuring that the talent needs of the organisation can be fulfilled effectively. Moreover, every employee does not have the capability of managing all the needs so the employees have to be trained to cater to the new needs. Moreover, it is also essential to understand whether some of the skills are necessary or desirable for the business.  The comparison of these approaches has also shown that the majority of these approaches are developed to ensure that the employees can be segregated, and their unique needs can be identified based on them.


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