Talent Management in India

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Talent Management in India: A Journey from the past to the future

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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. 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 just 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...
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