Winning the Talent War: A Strategic Approach to Attracting, Developing and Retaining the Best People

By Charles Woodruffe | Go to book overview

3
What about the
knowledge workers?

If being lean and nimble is one need to have emerged from the new environment, having the resource of knowledge workers is another. The most powerful expression of the need for people as a resource is when they are part of the business strategy. Almost by definition, under those circumstances they are a resource that an organization will wish to retain, at least for as long as they remain part of the strategy. They will form a major part of the basis for the organization's value.


THE HR STRATEGY IS THE BUSINESS STRATEGY

The HR strategy becomes the business strategy when knowledge workers are put forward as the winning resource for an organization. Seeing the people of the organization as a strategic resource for achieving competitive advantage is listed by Hendry and Pettigrew (1995) as one of the elements of the strategic theme of human resource management (HRM). The argument is that having a superior human resource means having a winning resource. It has an obvious logic. It starts from the, seemingly unarguable, premise that competitive advantage will increasingly be based upon people. It may be a cliché, but it is also true that constant change and increased competitiveness have resulted in people being the only way that firms can get an edge on one another. In particular, organizations that possess talent will have the basis for winning over their rivals. People become the strategy for success.

Bartlett and Ghoshal (1995) are strong advocates of this view. They describe the effect of the contemporary environment as being to 'shift the focus of many firms from allocating capital to managing knowledge and learning as the key strategic task' (p. 18). They describe the ability to attract and retain the best people as 'a key source of competitive advantage' (p. 18). Ghoshal and Bartlett (1998) sum up the argument saying, 'in a knowledge-based era, the scarce strategic resource that will allow one

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Winning the Talent War: A Strategic Approach to Attracting, Developing and Retaining the Best People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction: Focusing through a Fog ix
  • Part One - Creating a Strategy for Winning Talented People 1
  • 1: Our Changing World 3
  • 2: Dancing Giants 13
  • 3: What About the Knowledge Workers? 25
  • 4: Squaring the Circle 35
  • 5: If the Core is Contingent 47
  • 6: Shreds of Evidence 57
  • 7: Finding a Third Way 65
  • 8: Siren Voices to Short-Termism 83
  • Part Two - Implementing the Strategy of Gaining Commitment by Showing Commitment 93
  • 9: Who Are You Calling Core? 95
  • 10: Roll Up for the Mystery Tour 101
  • 11: Selecting for the Future 111
  • 12: Development 127
  • 13: Showing You Care 141
  • 14: Whatever Turns You On 151
  • 15: Managing Careers for Commitment 161
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index of First Named Authors 185
  • Subject Index 189
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