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"Talent management is the use of an integrated set of activities to ensure that the organisation attracts, retains, motivates and develops the talented people it needs now and in the future" (Armstrong, 2006).

Compare and contrast an exclusive and inclusive approach to talent management. What factors might influence the approach adopted by an organisation?


Using an organisation with which you are familiar, critically evaluate the approach to talent management taken by the Company. What activities, processes and/or tools does the organisation employ in order to attract, select, engage and retain its talent?


Conclude and make recommendations as appropriate. Use organisational examples and theoretical evidence to inform your assignment.

Background of the Company

Talent management refers to the identification, development, engagement and retention of high value individuals who have high potential or who are capable of and are currently fulfilling critical business roles. Talent management does not simply highlight the necessity of recruiting individuals with terrific potential but also demonstrates the need for managing, developing as well as retaining these individuals while simultaneously measuring the returns of such an investment (Dries 2013). Talent management can be effective only if it can end up contributing to a wide range of strategic objectives. This includes ensuring good returns on investments that are made in the area of training and development, building a high energy and high performance workplace, identifying as a suitable employer and encouraging learning within the organization. This report analyzes the talent management practices adopted by Autoneum, an automotive organization based in Switzerland, to create and retain a skilled workforce (Ariss et al. 2014). This report concludes that talent management is a practice that is absolutely imperative for any organization or company that is looking to profit from its business ventures and recommends a number of initiatives that can be undertaken by Autoneum in particular, to manage its talent successfully, now and in the future.

Autoneum is a renowned Swiss industrial group that is internationally active, and which holds a number of registered offices in the city of Winterthur in Switzerland. It was in the year 2011 that the Autoneum Group was formally established and the Swiss Exchange ranks the company quite favorably today. Autoneum is known to employ as many as 9,600 people in 45 different locations spread across 20 countries. The net sales of the company were as high as 2.053 billion in 2013. Autoneum began its business by specializing in the production of thermal insulation and noise control systems for all types of automotive vehicles. It initially operated under the name of Unikeller AG, but it was officially recognized by the Swiss Exchange in May 2011, as an independently established company (Kleindienst 2018).

Inclusive Approaches to Talent Management

Creating an Attractive and Fair Workplace

Employees are recognized by Autoneum as the company’s most valuable resource. Autoneum aims at attracting the finest new talent that is available in the market. It believes in retaining employees who want to grow and develop with the company over an extensive period of time (Thunnissen et al. 2013). For this purpose, creating a fair and attractive work environment for its employees is top most on the company’s agenda. The company is working continuously to bring about an improvement in the working conditions in all of its sites thus offering true value proposition for its employees. The performance of the company is one that is usually measured against two primary quantitative targets. While on the one hand the company intends on improving the results of the international employee satisfaction survey by at least 0.1 points in every second year, it has also been working hard to bring about a reduction in the employee turnover rate, with the intention of bringing this down to a figure as low as 10% by the year 2025. To achieve such targets in a successful manner, the Autoneum company has developed wide range of employee well-being, development and educational programs, that are focused specifically on talent management and the retention of high performing and valuable employees (Perez-Freije 2014).

Talent Management Practices undertaken by Autoneum

For the retention of a talented workforce and to make sure that its work culture remains a high performance one at all times, the Autoneum company is open to accepting new ideas and suggestions from its employees and encouraging creativity and innovative thinking. For this purpose, the company makes sure that its work environment is made as diverse and as an inclusive as possible. Autoneum hires people from multiple ethnic, cultural and national backgrounds, since it runs its operations on a global scale (Oladapo 2014). It does everything to ensure that all its employees are treated with fairness and with equality and a zero tolerance policy is followed with regard to issues like harassment and discrimination especially on the basis of gender, age, race, political, religious as well as sexual orientation. There is an anti-discrimination agreement that employees are made to sign at the time of joining the company and there is a diversity and inclusion board as well that looks into matters like harassment and discrimination in order to combat such issues in a suitable manner (Sonnenberg et al. 2014).

The freedom of association as well as collective bargaining is recognized by Autoneum to be a fundamental human right. The employees at Autoneum are given the freedom to form, to join and even to run work councils or employee organizations, to join any labor union to their liking and to seek representation or bargain collectively under local laws. More than 58% of the company’s employees are covered suitably enough by well drafted collective bargaining agreements (Kleindienst 2018)

Employee Education, Training and Development

A very high performance culture is something that Autoneum is committed to and it is something that is underpinned by the core principles and values of the company. The employees at Autoneum are required to make a sufficient contribution to this high performance culture in every decision or action that they take.  The company makes a substantive investment in educating its employees suitably enough in order to get them to do their best at the workplace. Investments are made in the soft skills, capacities, know-how and professional qualifications of employees, all of which is essential for the business success of the company (Cappelli and Keller 2014). The education and training processes and policies at Autoneum are those that are governed efficiently by the company’s Human Resource Department. The training needs and requirements of every employee are addressed by this department on an individual rather than on a general basis and tailored development plans are formulated accordingly (Gelens et al. 2013). Apart from locally organized courses and on-job training programs, courses that are defined by the people development curriculum are used by the company for its five employee bands that ranges from technicians and operators to the company’s top level management. Employees at Autoneum are known to complete training programs that last for four and a half days on an average, every single year. The implementation of an education framework that covers all the employees who are working at Autoneum forms a part of the company’s strategic commitments and it sets the standard among the company’s peers in the industry for a key performance indicator, that is, the average number of days of training for every employee (Meyers and Van Woerkom 2014).

Inclusive Approaches to Talent Management

Targeted training as well as development programs are offered by Autoneum for its exceptionally gifted and talented employees who hail from different parts of the world. High performance leadership development and training programs are conducted by the company on a bi-annual basis that are specifically meant for the middle managers at Autoneum across various departments and operations. Such training programs enable the middle managers to reflect on as well as to develop leadership skills in a way that the company’s leadership model requirements are well fulfilled (Deery and Jago 2015). The senior managers working at Autoneum are made to acquire all the competencies and skills that are necessary in order to serve aas role models for their subordinates and to act in accordance with the principles and values of the company, thus forming the basis or foundation on which the company’s high performance culture is able to thrive. A high performance leadership development and training program is carried out by Autoneum in collaboration with a group of coaches who rank among the best in world where leadership development is concerned. Around twenty one middle managers working at Autoneum are known to take part in the high performance training and development program every year (Collings 2014).

Self motivation and strong performance are two of the pre-requisites for career development and advancement at Autoneum. The company follows a performance management process that constitutes a key tool in assuring the company that all of its employees are fully dedicated to the principles, values as well as high performance culture of the company (Vaiman and Collings 2014). This performance management process is one that comprises of highly structured and well organized career development interviews and regular feedback loops. At the outset of the annual business cycles, the managers at the company together with their subordinates agree upon individual goals that are aligned with the company’s overall strategy. During annual appraisal discussions, employee performances are evaluated by the managers and one important criterion during evaluation is to see whether or not employees are working in accordance with the principles and values of the company and whether or not they are contributing to the high performance culture of the company in a sufficient manner. For employees holding a bonus contract, this criterion forms an essential aspect of the entire bonus evaluation process. Employees at Autoneum undergo career and performance development reviews very regularly. Autoneum believes in achieves in maintaining an employee appraisal coverage as high as 95% and succeeds in doing so every year.

Diversity and Inclusion

Since Autoneum is a manufacturing company, one effective way in which it safeguards its pool of talent is to make workers feel safe and secure when doing their job. Autoneum has its own health, safety and environment management system that integrates national and international laws with the requirements under the occupational safety and health management system OHSAS 18001 (Kleindienst 2018). This is a system which guarantees the consistent implementation of the exact same standards at all the different Autoneum locations. For the purpose of supporting this health, safety and environment management system at the global level a highly specialized training program has been developed by the company specifically for environment, health and safety functions. This program covers a number of important topics such as accident investigation as well as reporting, machine guarding, contractor management, work permit issues and lockout-tag-out. The learning process has been made more efficiently through the addition of several e-learning modules to this training program. A health, safety and environment training completion rate estimated at 95% is what Autoneum is committed to achieving on an annual basis (Kleindienst, 2018).

Conclusion

Autoneum follows a well integrated, organized and effective talent management system that is focused on hiring and retaining employees who are capable of high performance at the workplace. The company’s talent management system is implemented entirely in keeping with the core values and principles of the company, with every effort being made to make employees feel worthy, safe, secure and motivated enough to do their very best, in order to take the company’s business aims and goals in forward direction.

  • A gender balance in its work-force is something that Autoneum should look into in order to manage a talented workforce in the best possible way. If the company hires an equal number of men and women and a sufficient number of people from the trans-gender community, then it will created a gender balanced workforce that will contribute more harmony on the work front and thus ensuring better performance than usual (Swailes 2013).
  • Performance based incentives should be introduced to make talented employees feel motivated to work to potential for the company. If high performing employees are given additional rewards and incentives like extra income for well performed tasks, over and above the appraisal system that is followed by the company, then the company will be able to guarantee their retention in the company for a long period of time.

References

Al Ariss, A., Cascio, W.F. and Paauwe, J., 2014. Talent management: Current theories and future research directions. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.173-179.

Cappelli, P. and Keller, J.R., 2014. Talent management: Conceptual approaches and practical challenges. Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav., 1(1), pp.305-33

Collings, D.G., 2014. Integrating global mobility and global talent management: Exploring the challenges and strategic opportunities. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.253-261.

Deery, M. and Jago, L., 2015. Revisiting talent management, work-life balance and retention strategies. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(3), pp.453-472

Dries, N., 2013. The psychology of talent management: A review and research agenda. Human Resource Management Review, 23(4), pp.272-285.

Gelens, J., Dries, N., Hofmans, J. and Pepermans, R., 2013. The role of perceived organizational justice in shaping the outcomes of talent management: A research agenda. Human Resource Management Review, 23(4), pp.341-353.

Kleindienst, P. (2018). Autoneum. Mastering sound and heat.. [online] Autoneum. Mastering Sound and Heat. Available at: https://www.autoneum.com/ [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].

Meyers, M.C. and Van Woerkom, M., 2014. The influence of underlying philosophies on talent management: Theory, implications for practice, and research agenda. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.192-203.

Oladapo, V., 2014. The impact of talent management on retention. Journal of business studies quarterly, 5(3), p.19.

Perez-Freije, J. (2014). Controlling the Early Innovation Phase at Autoneum. In Management of the Fuzzy Front End of Innovation (pp. 263-268). Springer, Cham.

Sonnenberg, M., van Zijderveld, V. and Brinks, M., 2014. The role of talent-perception incongruence in effective talent management. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.272-280

Swailes, S., 2013. The ethics of talent management. Business Ethics: A European Review, 22(1), pp.32-46.

Thunnissen, M., Boselie, P. and Fruytier, B., 2013. Talent management and the relevance of context: Towards a pluralistic approach. Human Resource Management Review, 23(4), pp.326-336

Vaiman, V. and Collings, D.G., 2013. Talent management: advancing the field. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(9), pp.1737-1743.

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