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The importance of talent management in the changing retail business banking work environment.

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The talent management (TM) concept is deemed as the cornerstone in human resource management studies as it covers different features of human recourses by polishing employees’ skills and expertise with different methods. The digital age is reshaping the way in which organisations recruit, select and develop skills. The world of working has changed, the working environment has been described as consisting of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) which has impacted how large organisations deal with their talent programmes. The banking group predicted in February 2020 a full recession for South Africa due to Eskom’s load shedding and the corona virus outbreak (The Price Waterhouse Report, 2020). Markets are volatile and the rand is taking a pounding. Evidently, limited research has focused on TM in the changing world of work within the retail business banking (RBB) division in South Africa. Previous studies investigated ways of retaining SA talent without a clear focus on the conceptualization of talent and TM and its importance in the banking sector. This gave birth to the need for an empirical study which explores the relevant TM practices and its importance in the changing world of work within the RBB in SA. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine the importance of talent management in the changing world of work within the RBB division. The relationship between TM practices and retention of new generation employees in value analytics teams within the RBB division was examined. The study analysed the effect of technology, new generation (millennials) and critical skills on talent management practices in RBB. The study also explored the challenges faced by HR with regards to 21st century talent management and change readiness within RBB. The study aimed to add value to existing literature by examining the relationship between talent management and the retention of new generation employees in value analytics teams within RBB while it also explored the importance and significance of talent management in the scarce/critical skills environment. This study will contribute to the banking industry, looking at current talent crisis that markets are experiencing as they are trying to protect and preserve the core business during the COVID-19 pandemic or any other crisis that organisations might face which will affect the economy. This study further provided great insight for understanding the talent management concept and its importance in the banking sector. Banks can utilise these results to shape their talent management practices. The researcher used a mixed methods design, particularly a concurrent embedded strategy. The case study research strategy was utilised, and it was underpinned by the exploratory and descriptive approaches. The researcher selected a case study based on its suitability for exploring, explaining, understanding and describing a research phenomenon. The study focused on the case of the RBB (Analytics division). The target population was value analytics employees within a major banking institution (RBB). The data collection methods that were used for this study were both self-administered questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. Due to the corona virus outbreak, the researcher made use of Microsoft teams to conduct online interviews using Zoom, while ensuring the adherence to all covid-19 regulations by using online self-administered questionnaires. The key findings of the study revealed that employees strongly believe in the importance of TM and its contribution to the retention of scarce skilled employees in the volatile business environment. The participants accorded that Robotics and automation has changed banking and that information technology enables better banking solutions. Employees believe that the younger generation are more innovative and contribute excellently to the success of the organisation. On the flip side of the coin, employees dissent that upskilling and developing employees is currently the main priority for the bank. They contend that not all people managers have been upskilled for future readiness and that banks are currently lacking robust succession planning and development programmes for all staff. Furthermore, the study identified the COVID-19 pandemic impact on talent management and how HR managers view human resource management’s future and priorities.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.