Talent back in the year 893 and

Talent back in the year 893 and

Talent Management in India: A Journey from the past to the future ————————————————- With Talent Management emerging as a new terminology in the field of HR it inspires us to remember our old Indian Mythology which is full of such examples where the concept of talent management was used. It can be said that it is an old wine in a new bottle. Our old philosophers and thinkers have given ample thoughts on this idea and helped the kings and emperors of those times to rule better.

This paper tries to depict how the concept used by our great thinkers can be related to the recently used terminology of Talent Management. The word “talent’ is finding its use ; reference in majority of HR and academic discussions, though the word is not that new. It finds its reference back in the year 893 and is derived from the Greek word ‘talanton’, which means “balance, sum, weight. ” It was a unit of weight, in gold and silver, which was used as a legal tender in the trading transactions of that era. In the recent times the word ‘Talent’ has become the buzz word.Any HR intellectual discourse is incomplete without the reference of the word ‘Talent’. The concept of Talent Management is not new to India.

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Talent is found in abundance and is the strength of this country. Indian history is full of examples of talented people who have spread wisdom all over the world. The teachings of various gurus are of excessive significance today in this field. Talent is innate in the people of India and it has been properly nurtured from the past and is gaining momentum with the increasing popularity of the term.Definition of Talent: The Conference board (2005) research report defines talent management as ‘any individuals who have the capability to make a difference to the current and future performance of the company’. Merely occupying a senior position does not make a person talented he has to prove his worth. Chanakya has said that a man attains greatness by his merits, not simply by occupying an exalted seat.

Can we call a crow an eagle simply because he sits on the top of a tall building? In Deloitte Report (2008) it is said that when it comes to talent management, it’s not ust about asking questions, it’s also about listening to opportunities Listen to the employees as they’re the ones doing the work. They’re the ones trying to balance their lives and careers. According to Vidur, the knower is one who neglects not the trivial, listens with care, serves not with desire, speaks not unless asked, and remains alert in grasp of situations. He has defined talented person as the one who does more than he speaks, does not give hints of his acts and thoughts of goodwill and does enable him only through acts.The Controversy of Talent: There is much debate over the topic “Is Talent permanent or does it changes over time? ” The dictionary meaning of Talent says that it’s an innate ability or a superior quality of a person which is possessed by birth.

However some management experts disagree with this definition of talent and they say that Talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire. Thus there are two contradictory opinions on Talent.In the two epics of India, ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’, the great heroes of the epics, “Sri Rama” and “The Pandavas” etc. were talented by birth yet they had to develop and hone their skills by taking proper training from their gurus. It means that even if you are talented you have to properly develop it for its full utilisation.

One thing is clear that Talent is a natural gift but the gift of natural ability, without the awareness of it, or without passion attached to it, is either an unknown or unfulfilled potential.Even when natural ability is discovered and nurtured, it is only good for one thing-altering the trajectory of your learning curve. It has been depicted in “Ramayana”, where “Sri Hanuman” possessed super natural powers but used to forget it, when somebody made him realise of his powers then only he recollected the inborn talent he used to possess. There are a number of evidences in which the importance of talent and its management has been shown in our Indian history. Both “Arjuna” and “Eklavya” were equally talented in the field of archery.Both had similar inclination for archery by birth.

The only difference is that Eklavya did not learn it from any guru and Arjun took proper training in this field from “Guru Dronacharya”. It was the Talent Management of Dronacharya that he understood Arjun was the most skilled among his disciples i. e. “Kauravas” and “Pandavas” so he became his most favourite disciple and to the extent that he demanded the thumb of Eklavya as ‘guru-dakshina’ so that Eklavya couldn’t beat Arjuna in the future.John Sullivan(2005) demonstrates Talent management to be as much a science as any other management discipline. In Talent Management it is very essential to identify which areas are critical to the success of the organization and whether the talent present in your organization can be best utilised in that area and produce the desired results. Chanakya( Indian Politician, strategist and writer 350 BC -275 BC) quotes “Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions-why am I doing it, what the results might be and will it be successful.

Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead” Talent Management Three Fold path: Based on Buddha’s Noble eightfold path which represents Right view, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, we can design a system of Talent Management which is threefold i. e. Right Person for the Right Job at the Right Time Talent Attraction: Finding the right person who meets the organization’s current and future talent needs is very essential.Only those persons should be hired whose talent meets the goals and mission of the organizational strategy. In the wisdom teachings of Vidur it is told that “The knower is one who knows the nature the plan and the plan of action and also knows the skill to accomplish the plan.

” Talent Retention: The strategy of HCL is “Employee first, customer second” The notion is simple –the best way to bring value to customers is to empower employees. Vidur has very rightly said that “Never let down the one devoted to you, the one that depends on you, and the one who proclaims to be yours”.In an event, Birbal who was a counsellor to Akbar guided him that a True Leader is one who can support his team in their worst times. Beth Axelrod et al (2001) say nearly 60 percent of the respondents of their survey strongly agreed that they would be delighted if their companies were quicker to dismiss underperformers or to move them into less critical areas. According to Elizabeth Chambers’s et.

al (1998) the cost of carrying weak performers is enormous. Their low productivity drags down the performance of all they work with: teams go underdeveloped, and high performers get discouraged and leave.They should be removed from the organization without giving a second thought. The same reference is given by Vidur who says that those who do not provide proper inputs and are not useful to the organization should be eradicated. “Commence not actions that yield no results. Plant no trees that yield no fruits or flowers. ” Talent Engagement: Employee engagement contributes a lot to the success of the organization and the employee’s manager or his supervisor has a major role to play in that.

Vidur told that “Intelligence lies in utilization. There is no waste thing in creation to the intelligent one.He knows how to utilize, and this brings forth gold from the earth, work from the lazy and service from the selfish. ” Effective Leadership: Effective Leadership is one of the very important aspects of Talent Management. Gandhiji was an extremely good leader. He rightly said “Be the change that you want to see in others”. In Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” the leader and manager have been described as two important pillars out of the seven pillars required for an organisation.

The King has been denoted as a Leader and the Minister as the manager. All great organisations have great leaders.The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today’s corporate world we call him the Director, CEO, etc. Without him we will lose direction. The manager is the person who runs the show – the second-in-command of an organisation. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader.

He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organisation. Vidur has also given some very good examples of an effective leader.

The one who gains people’s confidence, who is capable of rightly judging and punishing the default, and who knows to condone is a good governor. He also said that “The knower gains the love and affection of the righteous, guards the welfare of the beings, and grants splendour to the surroundings. Vidur has quoted that an effective leader should have the quality of getting the work done from his subordinates with good skill “The honey bee draws honey pleasantly from the flower. The wise man draws work from others with equal skill. The sharp speech hurts deeper than a sharp arrow.It not only hurts, but humiliates the victim days and nights. The wise one never therefore uses the pungent speech.

Importance of Team-Work: A good leader effectively manages the talent and makes a team to work towards a common goal. He understands that the aim of the organization could not be fulfilled without all the employees working together. Vidur has said that the tree standing alone, however strong can be uprooted by the gale. Likewise, the man standing aloof, however string can be defeated by enemies . In Hitopadesha also the importance of team work has been given emphasis.

“They may look ordinary and insignificant.But when you make them all unite; they will have a lot of strength. The rope used to tie rutting elephants down is made of blades of grass. ” Value Talent: A talented person will wish to work only where his talent is recognised. He will be encouraged to give more efforts if his work is valued in the organisation.

Chanakya has said O’ wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by clouds is always sweet. The rainwater enlivens all living beings of the earth and then returns to the oceans where its value is multiplied a million fold.What good can the scriptures do to a man who has no sense of what use is a mirror to a blind man? Vidur has said “it is wise to resign from work that breeds conflict, and inflicts the worker, however splendours the work is. ” Respect Experienced Talent: Malcolm Gladwell (2002) has illustrated in his article ‘The Talent Myth’ that at Enron the main cause of failure was that the top performers were rewarded inordinately, and promoted without regard for seniority or experience. The senior or experienced people should act as a guide for the organization and must be placed at good positions in the organization.Vidur has told that unripe fruits yield no juice.

Unripe action yields not the desired result. Ripened fruit not only yields juice but also gives the seed to further the species. Mature actions; likewise give birth to series of acts of goodwill. Conclusion: It is seen that globalisation is taking place at a very fast pace. The needs and demands of the talented people as well as the needs of the organization for talented people are increasing day by day. The people and the organization have to cope up with the global changes taking place.

According to Buddha Everything Changes. What it is today will not be valid tomorrow.It has become the utmost requirement of the organizations to fend off professional obsolescence by continuously improving upon their systems and design a systematic talent management approach suitable for their organization. Buddha’s Law of cause and effect says that The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit Those who do good will reap good results Those who do evil will reap evil results If you carefully plant a good seed, you will joyfully gather good fruit Dhammapada References: Chambers Elizabeth G, Foulon M, Jones H, Hankin S M, Michaels III Edward G. “ The War For Talent” Human Resources The Mc.

Kinsey Quarterly No. 3 (1998) pp. 44-57 Lockwood Nancy R. “Talent management: driver for organizational success” HR Magazine June (2006) Parvathi Kumar, K. , Wisdom Teachings of Vidura, 1997, Dhanishta Ready Douglas A, Hill Linda A, Conger Jay A.

“Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets” Harvard Business Review South Asia Nov (2008) pp. 37-44 Sullivan John, Burnett M. “To Build Buy or Trade Talent: That is the question behind Talent Management” 21 Mar (2005) The chemistry of talent (New ways to think about people and work), Deloitte Development LLC (2008) Axelrod Elizabeth L, Jones Helen H, Welsh Timothy A.

War for Talent part two” The Mc. Kinsey Quarterly No. 2 (2001) pp. 9-11 Gladwell M.

“The Talent Myth” Dept. Of Human resources The New Yorker, July 22, (2002) pp. 28-33 Talent Management Value Imperatives: Strategies for Successful Execution.

The Conference Board, USA (2005). O’Neal Sandra, Gebauer Julie, “Talent Management in the 21st century: Attracting, Retaining and Engaging Employees of Choice” World at Work Journal First quarter (2006) online. sfsu. edu/~rone/Buddhism/footsteps.


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