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HR case study

Revamp Talent Mangement

AlphaTel is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries
across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the
top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's prod-
uct offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services,
high speed home broadband, DTH and Enterprise services

The organization is committed to fostering a culture of talent development and providing

enriching and larger responsibilities to their employees. In their annual HR Conclave, where all
HR Leaders get together to discuss the year gone by and prioritize focus areas for next year,
the organization’s Talent Management process emerged as a hot topic.
On this, the Chief People Officer, Paras Arora said, “We have successfully completed the
Annual Talent calibration process for FY 18-19 for our 16000+ employees in June. I am happy
with how the process has matured over the past few years. But there is scope of improve-
ment, as was highlighted by the employee pulse survey conducted. I think we might need to
reevaluate the process to address all the issues… Shreya, will you take this up on priority?”

Shreya Mehra, who has recently taken over the Talent Management agenda was aligned to
work on the problem statement.

Talent Management Process at AlphaTel

AlphaTel follows April-March performance cycle with the talent calibration happening at the
end of the year. The entire process takes 2.5-3 months from April to June.

The process starts with employees evaluating their performance on the KRAs established at
the beginning of the year. This is a crucial step in the evaluation process as this provides the
employees with a platform to articulate how the year was for them. At this stage employees
also express their career aspirations and roles they would like to do in future.

Post the self-assessment, Manager is expected to assess the employee on the KRAs and
AlphaTel Leadership competencies. Manager also evaluates the readiness of the employee
for future roles basis performance in the current role, skills and the behaviors exhibited to
achieve them.

After self and manager assessment, the most important step in the talent calibration takes
place - all the employees in a BU/Function are discussed in a Talent Panel.

Talent panel consists of Manager, skip level manager, HR, and also other relevant stakeholders
who have a view on the performance of the employee. Purpose is to solve for:
1. Better Differentiation: After manager’s assessment on absolute performance, employee
performance is also assessed relative to his/her peers.

2. Collective Ownership of Talent: There is a more holistic and evolved discussion on the
talent within the company to better identify and build a strong internal pipeline for all
critical roles in the company.

The inputs from the talent council translate into a final rating for all employees at the end of
the year.

The performance process concludes with holistic dialogue between RM & employee. The
manager points out development areas basis inputs from all the relevant stakeholders and
also discusses future career path in the organization. The RM also sets expectations from the
employee in the coming year based on functional and business priorities.

Feedback from Employees

Following were some of the areas where there were issues as highlighted by the employee
pulse survey conducted across the organization.

1. Employees want a stronger mechanism to ensure that a holistic picture of performance

is presented in the Talent Panel and there is no scope for recency bias in final evaluation

2. Some employees feel that they are evaluated against criteria that is not always made
clear to them through the year (changes could be in business priority, reporting manag
er or even employee’s role)

3. Feedback conversations happen only at the end of the year and focus largely on rating
and increments and not on career and development.

4. Some employees do not have clarity on the reasons for their final ratings. They feel that
their performance gaps (if any) or development areas should have been highlighted
during the year. This would have given them enough time to work upon them, instead of
it coming as a surprise towards the end of the year.

Feedback from HR

1. The HR managers feel that the process is highly time consuming and remains the
sole focus in Q1 (FY). All other talent initiatives take a back seat.

2. They also feel that there is a need to shift the talent ownership to people managers.
The process and more importantly the outcomes should be owned equally by
people managers.

3. The quality of assessment by managers in some cases is lacking. They do not spend
the time required to holistically assess their reportees. This translates to poor talent
panel discussion and incomplete feedback for the employees.

In addition to addressing these issues, to drive a strategy of Talent differentiation and high
performance, Shreya is debating the effectiveness of the Bell Curve method and is unsure
of whether is it a methodology that AlphaTel should use.

Problem Statement:

Imagine you are Shreya and are required to suggest a simplified talent calibration process
which addresses the problem statements. Also highlight best practices across industries
to address these.