Assessment of talent retention strategies: The case of a large South African company (CSA).


Khanyisa Ngozwana* and Robert Rugimbana

The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which the key elements of talent management (TM) and employee engagement (EO) are being utilized to retain employees at a large South African Company (herein-often referred to as CSA). Skills shortages have become a feature of the South African business environment. As such competition to attract human capital in the form of talented individuals and the ability to retain them have become a major competitive consideration even when compared to other competitive dimensions such as capital, strategy and even research and development. Although the South African Company (CSA), is committed on paper to appointing, developing and retaining talented employees it is unclear as to how successful this strategy is, given the high turnover rates. The study therefore seeks to assess the extent to which talent management as a competitive device is being implemented successfully. Much of the available literature has concentrated on the key strategies that lead to talent management and employees retention in countries and settings that are outside Africa. The lack of scholarly investigation of this phenomenon in Africa where the reality of brain drain is constantly being published, suggests that there is an important lacuna with respect to the African setting and in particular post-apartheid South Africa which has witnessed significant brain drain. There is therefore an important need for such a study in order to inform the African context and specifically the South African environment. The study applies an adapted Gallup Workplace Audit (or GWA) developed by Kahns (1990) and refined by Bhatnagar (2007). The GWA dimensions consist of 12 areas covering retention of employees, business unit productivity, profitability and customer loyalty (Buckingham and Coffman, 1999). It is argued that managers need to attend to these key dimensions in order to ensure better talent management practices. The study undertakes a de-constructivist approach, which entails the use of quantitative research techniques in the form of structured questionnaires based on the Gallup Workplace Audit (GWA). The study utilises a descriptive design in order to ascertain the extent of employee engagement in the case of SA. The study sampled a number of managers and employees at SA to ascertain the extent to which these samples agree that talent management is practiced in this organization. The main finding is that despite CSA’s commitment to retaining talent, this study finds that these employee engagement strategies in a few important instances may only be partially realised.

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