Talent Management in Modern Organizations: Google

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Introduction

Talent management becomes an increasingly critical issue for psychology in organizations. The ability to identify and develop employees’ talents often becomes a determining factor for the success of an enterprise, whether it focuses on production, sales, or the development of new computer technologies. Talent management approaches may depend on the size of the company, and its level of digitalization, as well as the age and gender of employees. This paper aims to provide a theoretical basis for talent management and offer unique recommendations for Google to increase employee retention.

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Theoretical Background

Psychology in Organizations and HR

To get a general idea of what talent management is, it is necessary to select a sound theoretical base for the methodology for talent identification, measurement, and development. Firstly, it should be noted that the issue of talent management has gained popularity only recently. In particular, Murphy and Saal (1990) were one of the first scientists who raised this issue. The authors emphasized that the psychology of organizations is a new and unexplored field and suggested determining ways of interaction between organizations and science.

Since the 2000s, human resource management issues could be found in the literature more often. Over the next ten years, scientists developed basic models of talent management in corporations and claimed the existence of an HR approach. For example, Sonnentag (2003) considered various aspects of talent development, including setting goals, training, mentoring, reward systems, and performance evaluations. Admittedly, this is one of the most significant theoretical works creating a profound base for further HR investigations. Further, Lowman (2006) discussed the ethical aspects of implementing psychological practices in organizations. In particular, he linked psychology and HR and proposed a new code of conduct for psychologists in situations involving staff recruitment, organizational diagnostics, and intervention.

Global Talent and Women Leaders

Then, Goldsmith and Carter (2009) examined how the world’s leading corporations manage, develop, and retain the best talents. In this way, they first introduced the concept of Global Talent and offered practical ways to motivate and retain staff. It is noteworthy that in a book Developing Women Leaders, Anna Marie Valerio (2009) first offered practical solutions to help organizations develop talented women. She claimed that her methods might be applied to gifted leaders working both in Fortune 500 companies and in academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. Thus, the works mentioned above demonstrate the most popular research areas for HR scientists of the 2000s.

Alliance Approach

The latest researches of the 2010s are even more significant. That is why they should be considered in closer detail. Since 2014, the theories of global organizations can often be seen in the literature, as well as the concepts regarding HR in the digitalized world. Issues like talent management in emerging market firms, the inefficiency of the old models of guaranteed long-term employment, the value of competencies in the global world also come to the fore. In particular, Hoffman, Casnocha, and Yeh (2014) say that the model of long-term relations between employees and organizations has become obsolete. Therefore, scientists offer to stop considering employees as members of a corporate family. At the same time, they insist that workers should not be perceived as free agents.

This approach seems to be highly effective, since scholars suggest perceiving employees as allies who will sooner or later leave the enterprise, thus demonstrating respect for their right to build a career of their dream. Hoffman et al. (2014) imply that an alliance between the company and employees will allow the latter to invest in the development and success of the company, while the company offers them career opportunities. Nonetheless, this theory may have its drawbacks, as it proposes a reduced level of control, while not all employees are equally conscientious.

Talent Management in the Global Market

Further, Collings, Scullion, and Caligiuri (2018) provide a specific description of the techniques for identifying and developing talent in the global market. It is noted that when identifying talent in a multinational enterprise, the employer should pay attention to specialists who are ready to grow in the company and hold administrative positions. But no less attention should be paid to those who want to develop within the framework of their specialty. In this case, the authors advise using competency profiles that include “foundational dimensions such as personality characteristics and cognitive capabilities and growth dimensions of learning and motivational skills” (Collings et al., 2018, p. 78). Scientists also advise considering “career dimensions which emphasize leadership skills and functional or technical capability for more specialist roles” when identifying the leadership talent (Collings et al., 2018, p. 78). Besides, in a global context, employers of multinational enterprises need their leaders to have a global mindset, which implies the ability to work with different cultures, as well as manage uncertainty and global complexity.

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Moreover, the process of talent identification and evaluation should include such elements as HR planning, competent selection of talent, performance management, career management, and succession planning, based on the business objectives and imperatives. Therefore, this process implies “disproportionate investment in roles critical to organizational performance and in individuals who are identified as members of the talent pool” (Collings et al., 2018, p. 80). Speaking of talent development, the authors mention the development of global leadership competencies and providing growth opportunities.

Recommendations

Developing Talents in Global and Emerging Markets

According to the case, Google needs recommendations for effective talent retention and development. Therefore the company should consider the latest scientific findings on talent management in global organizations. Besides, Google should rely on personality characteristics when hiring people, as this factor accelerates the development of global leadership competencies (Sutton, 2014). The Big Five model can be a perfect choice as it distinguishes the crucial personality traits. These are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness (Collings et al., 2018, p. 117). Google’s existing hiring process is quite attractive, as opposed to the use of illegal pouching agreements with Apple aimed at retaining employees.

Furthermore, since Google has offices around the world, its HR specialists should pay attention to talent management not only in terms of multinational companies but also in the framework of emerging market firms. Latukha (2016) offers the creation of corporate universities as a new approach that will enrich the usual practices of attracting the best and creating talents via training and development (p. 209). Further, the author of Bridging the Soft Skills Gap provides a list of good quality development tips that correlate with Google’s ‘Googleyness’ concept (Tulgan, 2015). Following the recommendations provided, Google should focus on hiring competent specialists, and develop the soft skills of leaders and best specialists.

Developing Young Talents

Since Google works mainly with young talents, its HR specialists would be interested to know what kind of soft skills the representatives of Gen-Z lack in comparison with Gen-X and Gen-Y. Tulgan (2015) notes that “Gen-Zers are the ultimate non-conformists in an age of non-conformism” and therefore are not inclined “to conform their attitudes and behavior for an institution” (p. 43). According to the scientist, modern companies should not refuse to build work processes in an old-fashioned way. Besides, the author is sure that organizations should support the development of professionalism, critical thinking, and followership among young employees. Tulgan (2015) explains that a slightly careless attitude to work is often associated with the lifestyle that young specialists are used to at college or university, as well as with their lack of necessary self-organization skills. Perhaps if Google builds a leadership system that will help young professionals realize the importance of a responsible approach to life and the profession, this will significantly reduce the level of staff turnover.

Speaking of the development of critical thinking quality, Tulgan says that Gen-Zers usually rely on devices to find the right solution and are not ready to dig deep to understand the essence of the problem. The author further criticizes Gen-Zers’ lack of respect for the idea of sacrificing oneself for the common good and not valuing things like citizenship, service, and teamwork. It happens because the Gen-Zers still think like customers, in terms of having their ‘currency’ of knowledge and skills for what the company is going to give them in return. Nonetheless, when speaking of Gen-X and Gen-Y, who also work in Google, the ‘alliance’ approach mentioned above seems to be the most acceptable.

Retaining Talents

Even though developing and retaining talents may seem a hard and thankless job, scientists do not see another way to achieve the success and prosperity of the company. For example, Turner and Kalman (2014) offer to give talent a key role, since in the modern complex market people are often the only competitive advantage. The authors also mention a high level of staff turnover across geographies and business sectors.

In particular, this problem affected Chinese government organizations, the UK engineering sector, and US software product development companies. Scientists note that employees usually leave the company due to “failure to recognize and leverage the passions of the employee, failure to engage creativity, and failure to develop skills” (Turner & Kalman, 2014, p. 232). Therefore, to retain employees, organizations should pay attention to the work process, role challenges, work-life balance, reward and recognition, and work environment.

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Conclusion

Thus, a theoretical basis regarding talent management was provided, as well as unique recommendations for Google. To summarize, human resource management gained popularity in the 2000s, but in the 2010s much more explicit methods on talent identification and development appeared. The most effective approach for Google seems to be the one that focuses on Gen-Zers’ soft skills development because the absence of soft skills critically affects staff turnover. The findings of scientists, who insist that personnel are the main competitive advantage of any company, are no less curious.

References

Collings, D. G., Scullion, H., & Caligiuri, P. M. (Eds.). (2018). Global talent management. London, UK: Routledge.

Goldsmith, M., & Carter, L. (2009). Best practices in talent management: how the world’s leading corporations manage, develop, and retain top talent. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Hoffman, R., Casnocha, B., & Yeh, C. (2014). The alliance: managing talent in the networked age. Brighton, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Latukha, M. (2016). Talent management in emerging market firms. New York, NY: Springer.

Lowman, R. L. (2006). The ethical practice of psychology in organizations. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Murphy, K. R., & Saal, F. E. (Eds.). (1990). Psychology in organizations: Integrating science and practice. London, UK: Psychology Press.

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Sonnentag, S. (Ed.). (2003). Psychological management of individual performance. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Sutton, A. (2014). Work psychology in action. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tulgan, B. (2015). Bridging the soft skills gap: How to teach the missing basics to today’s young talent. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Turner, P. A., & Kalman, D. (2014). Make your people before you make your products. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Valerio, A. M. (2009). Developing women leaders: A guide for men and women in organizations. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell.

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