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Investment into talent management and its influence on the retention of key talent employees: a case study of a department in the Western Cape provincial government
A quality public service demands total quality management (Paramasur, 2010:540). South African organisations, especially the public service, face challenges to attract and retain key talent employees with the right skills match towards achieving the organisation’s long term strategic objectives. According to Thomas (2003), it is difficult to keep employees happy; therefore, the key is to find out what matters most to organisational staff. This is because what makes employees satisfied could lead to enhanced productivity and efficiency. Therefore organisations should take the responsibility to address the problem by investing in talent management, and implementing talent management strategies to influence key talent retention. The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) is a Western Cape provincial department. DEDAT’s main strategic objective is to facilitate economic growth and jobs in the Western Cape economy. This requires the right key human talent to achieve its strategic objectives, and goals in the short and long term within the public service environment. The research study strives to determine variables that should be considered in the talent management strategy of DEDAT, which have been identified by key talent and, therefore, will likely exert influence on the retention of key talent employees within DEDAT. The population consisted of managers within DEDAT and included key talent employees on the employment skills level from middle management (Deputy Director salary level 11 to 12) to senior management (Director salary level 13 to Head of Department salary level 15) employees. An adapted questionnaire, based on the research of Birt, Wallis and Winternitz (2004), was used to assess the investment into talent management and the retention of talented employees within DEDAT, a department in the Western Cape provincial government. A convenience sample of forty-seven (47) participants was targeted for this research study, which yielded forty-three (43) responses. The results suggest that some critical factors impact on retention, with significant age and gender differences with respect to critical retention factors. These results are juxtaposed against previous research findings, while strategies are offered to ensure that efforts are made to retain core talent, and implications for DEDAT are discussed. While the methodological implications of using a small sample, based on the method of convenience sampling are discussed, and the use of a positivist approach presents some limitations, the results provide some tentative insights into some of the more salient factors, which influence retention for employees who participated in the survey.