With 20 most talented employees removed, Microsoft will become a mere company without any significance.
(A memory of Bill Gates toward Microsoft in 1992)
All great companies rely on “Talents” in generating innovations and technologies to ensure competitive advantage, extraordinary growth, and ultimately the never-ending legend in the business world.
In the 21st century, the war to retain and attract talents has become fiercer than ever. Especially when globalisation has increased efficiency of transportation of people and communication of information, talents who used to keep themselves in the same company for decades are able to rapidly change their employer. Their new challenging experience and double compensation level, however, is the cost and tears of those great companies in the past which cannot keep up with the strong current of globalisation.
Talent Management has therefore rapidly become a hot issue among companies. This is especially the case in the information economy where talents’ intelligence can maximise companies’ profit while products and services are not limited by physical conditions like industrial economy.
Moreover, rapid growth of creative economy, of which products and services are abstract similar to those of information economy, has reinforced the fierceness of the war for talents to its highest level.
With abstract products and services, only quality focus is not sufficient to ensure success as it might take only a few months for competitors to imitate your products and enhance theirs. Strength which is difficult to imitate thus needs to focus more on uniqueness and abstract value.
The traditional concept which views “employees as company asset” has quickly become obsolete. This is especially the case for talents who regularly need new opportunities and challenges, and thus tend to change their employer over a brief period of time. So, companies holding on to the traditional concept shed tears due to loss of the best asset and cannot claim for compensation which match the budget invested in developing this group of premium human resource.
Talent management strategy therefore needs to be adjusted to respond to the competition environment of the globalisation time when transportation of human resource is so quick. Human resource management within an organization needs to be changed into management of network of worldwide “information and human resources” in order to synthesise the abstract products unique enough for preventing imitation by competitors.
Seeking for Creative Talents to co-develop products in the creative economy consequently should not be trapped in the concept of “employees as company asset”. On the contrary, companies need to open for the building of worldwide network of information and human resource. This is especially the case when the perspective of creative talents is not limited within only own organisation like those normal employees. So, if talents from one company decide to move to work for its competitors, it does not mean that the former employer cannot utilise the these former talents’ brain and creative power. If the former employer can develop a project to challenge creativity, it will attract the former talents to participate in it through other approaches like temporary contract or wages per output, as appropriate for such project.
The development of creative ecology to attract creative talents to co-develop creative products is thus more important than the traditional permanent human resource system, especially when raw material for creative products is information which is of more various nature and extensive than the limited resources of one company. So, the companies which are open and can build the rich worldwide network of information and human resource will be able to beat their competitors in the creative economy.
The specific characteristic of information economy and creative economy is the information and creativity resources. The more you use and exchange them, the more of quantity and the sharper they become. Consequently, companies with industrial perspective, which deem creativity by employees as corporate confidentiality, cannot exchange and enhance it with global creative network. As a result, companies with vision of Creative Network gain the benefits from exchange of creativity and finally become the winner of the creative economy battle.
Facebook is a great example of worldwide information and human resource network building. It is courageous enough to provide companies and creative people with opportunities to deploy their various applications to serve users. This has resulted in much more number of users than its competitors like MySpace. Recently, there has been more than 500 million Facebook users, which has made valuation of Facebook business become approximately $US 30 billion.
A great and wealthy business shall have monopoly on something that competitors cannot imitate. This ranges from technologies to location. So, it is doubtful that the company might be able to retain its monopoly tool if employees are allowed to freely exchange ideas and creativity with other companies.
So, the strategy for businesses to create monopoly in the creative economy is to manage the monopoly among the non-monopoly resources. This is to manage and create the value system which helps the information and human resource flowing into the system gain highest benefits, especially by enhancing creativity with quality, which leads to excellent product development and consumption in the end.
Change of workplace from one company to another is certainly a rapid movement if the only attractive factor of such companies is “money” as competitors can always offer a higher package. On the opposite, change of Facebook social network to MySpace is probably more difficult than change of companies as the attractive and engaging factor is friends and others in the network who are interesting for you. To tempt and convince many diverse people to move altogether is certainly not a piece of cake as well.
Creative Economy is the system driven by information and human resource flow. So, monopolising information or human resources is a totally wrong strategy. On the contrary, managing of human resource network in order to let all of them gain benefits in terms of materials, emotion, and creativity enhancement can help companies gain monopoly advantage in the production process of creative products. Removing creative talents from the network is highly possible to fail as their creative power is not the result of only individual competencies, but also of information and complex interconnection of human resources in the network.
Until now, Thailand is not the land of great product manufacturing, but is the land of commerce with lots of traffic of people of diverse races and cultures. This makes Thai people friendly, service-oriented, and flexible in terms of making relationship. So, it is not difficult for Thai people to apply talent management strategy, which is an approach to manage and turn diverse information and people into a “creative network”, in order to leverage Thailand creative economy development to another step higher than those countries with traditional concepts and profit-making principles.
Translated by Thaya Wichayathian