Career & Talent Management in Unilever Bangladesh Ltd.
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Talent management is a process that emerged in the 1990s and continues to be adopted, as
more companies come to realize that their employees’ talents and skills drive their business
success. Companies that have put into practice talent management have done so to solve an
employee retention problem. The issue with many companies today is that their organizations
put tremendous effort into attracting employees to their company, but spend little time into
retaining and developing talent. A talent management system must be worked into the
business strategy and implemented in daily processes throughout the company as a whole. It
can’t be left solely to the human resources department to attack and retain employees, but
rather must be practiced at all levels of the organizations. The business strategy must include
responsibilities for line managers to develop the skills of their immediate subordinates.
Divisions within the company should be openly sharing information with other departments
in order for employees to gain knowledge of the overall organizational objectives. Companies
that focus on developing their talent integrate plans and processes to track and manage their
employees’ talent, including the following:
Sourcing, attracting and recruiting qualified candidates with competitive backgrounds
Managing and defining competitive salaries
Training and development opportunities
Performance management process
Promotion and transitioning
Talent management is also known as Human Capital Management (HCM)
Companies that engage in talent management (Human Capital Management) are strategic and
deliberate in how the source, attack, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move
employees through the organization. Since the initial hiring process is so expensive to a
company, it is important to place the individual in a position where his skills are being
The term “talent management” means different things to different organization. To some it is
about the management of high-worth individuals or “the talented” whilst to others it is about
how talent is managed generally – i.e. on the assumption that all people have talent which
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should be identified and liberated. From a talent management standpoint, employee
evaluations concern two major areas of measurement: performance and potential. Current
employee performance within a specific job has always been a standard evaluation
measurement tool of the profitability of an employee. However, talent management also
seeks to focus on an employee’s potential, meaning an employee’s future performance, if
given the proper development and given responsibility.
The major aspects of talent management practiced within an organization must consistently
workforce planning/identify talent gaps
This term “talent management” is usually associated with competency-based human resource
management practices. Talent management decisions are often driven by a set of
organizational core competencies as well as position-specific competencies. The competency
set may include knowledge, skills, experience, and personal traits.
2.Traditional Performance Evaluation Tools
To guide the personnel of the organization, to both assist in career management and talent
management, it is needed to know who need the guidance to make sure the both employees
and the organization’s growth. If organization needs to know that, first they have to evaluate
their workforce properly. And a successful evaluation system can lead the management to do
so. Now we will thoroughly discuss the commonly used effectively performance evaluation
tools to know where to apply which tools to get the specific result.
2.1. Management by Objectives (MBO)
Management by Objectives (MBO) is one of the most popular performance appraisal
methods among organizations.MBO requires you to establish the objectives of the job. The
questions asked in performance appraisal are whether these objectives are achieved by
employees and to what position. This method is suitable for assessing the performance of
managers.MBO is a method of performance appraisal in which managers or employers set a
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list of objectives and make assessments on their performance on a regular basis, and finally
make rewards based on the results achieved.
2.2.Graphic Rating Scale
Graphic rating scales require an evaluator to indicate on a scale the degree to which an
employee demonstrates a particular trait, behavior, or performance result. A graphic rate
scale list traits such as quantity and reliability and a range of performance values from
unsatisfactory to outstanding for each trait. Subordinates are rated by circling and checking
the score the best describes his or her performance for each trait. Then the total of assigned
value is calculated. This method actually asses the position of employees between the
minimum and maximum of rating scale. It is suitable for task oriented job.
2.3.Competency-based Appraisal Forms
It focuses on the extent to which the employee exhibits the competencies essential for the
job. With respect to duties, the employee is expected to develop and exhibit competencies.
2.4. Peer Review
Peers, who understand the objectives and goals of the position can observe performance of
the employee, suggest him possible improvements in order to attain goals and sent feedback
to management about the current situation.
2.5. Appraisal Interview
Appraisal interview is an interview in which the supervisor and subordinate review the
appraisal and make plans to remedy deficiencies and reinforce strengths.
2.6. Alterative Ranking Method
It is ranking employees from best to worst on a particular trait, choosing highest, then lowest, until all
are ranked. Since it is usually easier to distinguish between the worst and best employees, an
alternation ranking method is most popular. First, all subordinated to be rated are listed, and names of
any not well enough to be ranked are crossed. Then, on a form the employee who is the highest on the
characteristics being measured and the one who is the lowest is marked. This process continues until
all employees have been ranked.
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2.7. Paired Comparison Method
Ranking employees by making a chart of all possible pairs of the employees for each trait (quantity
of work, quality of work and so on), compare every subordinates with every other subordinates and
indicating which is the better employee of the pair.
2.8. Critical Incident Method
Keeping a record of uncommonly good or undesirable examples of an employee’s work
related behavior and reviewing it with the employee at predominant times. It requires the
supervisor to keep a log on employee’s performance. The assessor will submit an essay on
the poor or outstanding performance of the employee. The problem is that he or she may
come to arbitrary conclusions. Supervisor keeps the log of positive and negative examples of
subordinate’s work related behavior. Every six months or so supervisor and subordinates
meet to discuss the latter’s performance, using the incidents as example.
2.9. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales
This formatted performance appraisal is based on making rates on behaviors or sets of
indicators to determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of working performance. This is
suitable for either professional or technical jobs. This method identifies behaviors that show
high performance. But it requires the preparation of detailed performance levels ranging
from1 for very poor to 5 for very good or from 1 for extremely poor to 7 for extremely good.
How good is "good" and how poor is "poor" is something that every assessor must
understand well. If not the results may not reflect actual performance.
2.10. 360 Degree Appraisal
360 degree performance appraisal is a method in which employees will give confidential and
anonymous assessments on their colleagues. There are some firms that using this appraisal method.
Several parties are required to assess the same employee. These include the employee himself or
herself, working colleagues as internal customers, the superior, outside parties such as
customers and suppliers.
There is many other performance evaluation tools available like- confidential report, easy
method, electronic performance monitoring method, checklists, forced choice method,
performance test etc. These all tools are widely applied in different industries along the world
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to correctly measure the performance of the employees and give contribution to find out what
is the correct way to motivate those employees and facilitate the organization.
3. Career Management
The career management process begins with setting goals/objectives. A relatively specific
goal/objective must be formulated. This task may be quite difficult when the individual lacks
knowledge of career opportunities and/or is not fully aware of their talents and abilities.
However, the entire career management process is based on the establishment of defined
goals/objectives whether specific or general in nature. Utilizing career assessments may be a
critical step in identifying opportunities and career paths that most resonate with someone.
Career assessments can range from quick and informal to more in-depth. Regardless of the
ones you use, you will need to evaluate them. Most assessments found today for free
(although good) do not offer an in-depth evaluation.
The time horizon for the achievement of the selected goals or objectives - short term, medium
term or long term - will have a major influence on their formulation.
1. Short term goals (one or two years) are usually specific and limited in scope. Short
term goals are easier to formulate. Make sure they are achievable and relate to your
longer term career goals.
2. Intermediate goals (3 to 20 years) tend to be less specific and more open ended than
short term goals. Both intermediate and long term goals are more difficult to
formulate than short term goals because there are so many unknowns about the future.
3. Long term goals (Over 20 years), of course, are the most fluid of all. Lack of life
experience and knowledge about potential opportunities and pitfalls make the
formulation of long term goals/objectives very difficult. Long range goals/objectives,
however, may be easily modified as additional information is received without a great
loss of career efforts because of experience/knowledge transfer from one career to
4. Making career choices and decisions – the traditional focus of careers interventions.
The changed nature of work means that individuals may now have to revisit this
process more frequently now and in the future, more than in the past.
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5. Managing the organizational career – concerns the career management tasks of
individuals within the workplace, such as decision-making, life-stage transitions,
dealing with stress etc.
6. Managing 'boundary less' careers – refers to skills needed by workers whose
employment is beyond the boundaries of a single organization, a work style common
among, for example, artists and designers.
7. Taking control of one's personal development – as employers take less responsibility,
employees need to take control of their own development in order to maintain and
enhance their employability.
Advantages of Career Management:
Career Management may be art or it may be a science; whichever, it delivers huge benefits.
Having career goals mean people outperform those who do not have goals or who
only have a weak commitment to their goals.
Those with goals are more optimistic, they are more resilient.
Those with goals are more focused; they work harder at job search, are engaged and
are more successful at finding new roles.
People who engage in career management generate more job interviews and more
They obtain higher salary offers and are more realistic about their job expectations.
They are more effective in job interviews.
4. Talent Management
This new age economy, with its attendant paradigm shifts in relation to the human capital, in
terms of its acquisition, utilization, development and retention, has placed a heavy demand on
today’s HR professionals. Today HR is expected to identify potential talent and also
comprehend, conceptualize and implement relevant strategies to contribute effectively to
achieve organizational objectives. Hence a serious concern of every HR manager in order to
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survive this “War for Talent” is to fight against a limited and diminishing pool of qualified
available candidates to replace valuable employees when they leave, dramatically
underscoring the difficulty to attack, motivate and retain the best employees in an
Talent management refers to the process of developing and integrating new workers,
developing and retaining current workers, and attracting highly skilled workers to work for a
company. The process of attracting and retaining profitable employees, as it is incredibly
more competitive between firms and of strategic importance, has come to be known as “the
war for talent.”
Despite intense competition being the key to market development and success, organizations
have failed to identify some of the major reasons which highlight why “good performers”
leave. In his study, Branham clearly states that one major reason why people leave their
organization is because of the organizations failure to bring about a correlation between pay
and performance. Human Resource experts in the industry believe matching the right blend of
talent with the right job profile can lead to superior performance.
4.1. TALENT in Present Context:
Talent = Competence * Commitment * Contribution
C = Competence
Able to do the work means the knowledge, skills, and values that individuals require
for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs.
C = Commitment
Means the level of employee engagement. It is when employees work on time, work
hard and do what is expected from them.
C = Contribution
The part played by a person or thing in bringing about a result or helping something to
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How to effectively management?
Talent management implies recognizing a person’s inherent skills, traits, personality and
offering him a matching job. Every person has a unique talent that suits a particular job
profile and any other position will cause discomfort.
Talent management is beneficial to both the organization and the employees.
Build a winning environment that people want to belong to
Establish a talent management mindset, which embeds ownership and accountability
for optimizing talent and potential
Create tangible means to identify, select and develop people and outstanding talent
Fully engage talent, use it and manage it intelligently
So, how does an organization effectively manage talent?
1. Recognize Talent: Notice what do employees do in their free time and find out their
interests. Try to discover their strengths and interests. Also, encourage them to
discover their latent talents. For example: If an employee in the operations department
convincingly explains why he thinks he is right even when he is wrong, consider
moving him to sales.
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Figure: Ways of Manage Talent
2. Attracting Talent: Good companies crate a strong brand identity with their customers
and then deliver on that promise. Great employment brands do the same, with
quantifiable and qualitative results. As, a result the right people choose to join the
3. Selecting Talent: Management should implement proven talent selection systems and
tools to create profiles of the right people based on the competencies of high
performers. It’s not a matter of finding the “best and the brightest” it’s about creating
the right fit – both for today and tomorrow.
4. Retaining Talent: In the current climate of change, it’s critical to hold on to the key
people. These are the people who will lead the organization to future success, and you
can’t afford to lose them. The cost of replacing a valued employee is enormous.
Organizations need to promote diversity and design strategies to retain people, reward
high performance and provide opportunities for development.
5. Managing Succession: Effective organizations anticipate the leadership and talent
requirement to succeed in future. Leaders understand that it’s critical to strengthen
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their talent pool through succession planning, professional development, job rotation
and workforce planning. They need to identify potential talent and groom it.
6. Change Organization Culture: Ask yourself, “Why would a talent person choose to
work here?” If the organization wishes to substantially strengthen its talent pool, it
should be prepared to change things as fundamental as business strategy, the
organization structure, the culture and even the caliber of the leaders in the
A rightly managed talent turns out to be a gold mine. It’s inexhaustible and priceless.
It will keep supplying wealth and value to the organization. In turn, management
needs to realize it’s worth, extract it, polish it and utilize it. Don’t hoard talent- spend
it lavishly, like a millionaire flashing his luxuries, because at the end of day Talent is
Ways to keep hold on talent:
Build a path that enables employees to utilize their full potential
Invest in building the physiological contract
- Individual growth
- Compelling future
- Positive Workplace
Appreciate the contribution of all employee’s
4.2. Eight Steps of Talent Management process:
Organizations are made up of people; people create value through proven business processes,
innovation, customer service, sales, and doing many other activities. As an organization
strives to meet its business goals, it must make sure that it has a continuous and integrated
process for recruiting, training, managing, supporting, and compensating these people. The
following charts show the complete process:
4.2.1. Workforce Planning: Integrated with the business plan, this process
establishes workforce plans, hiring plans, compensation budgets, and hiring
target for the year.
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Figure: Talent Management process
4.2.2. Recruiting: Through an integrated process of recruiting, assessment,
evaluation, and hiring the business brings people into the organization.
4.2.3. Onboarding: The organization must train and enable employees to become
productive and integrated into the company more quickly.
4.2.4. Performance Management: By focusing the business plan, the organization
establishes process to measure and manage employees. This is a complex
4.2.5. Training and Performance Support: Of course this is a critically important
function. Here learning and development programs are provided to all levels
of the organization.
4.2.6. Succession Planning: Succession Planning ensures a company identifies and
develops talents in order to achieve its business strategy. Developing internal
talent can be a competitive advantage, thus leaders need to focus on all aspects
of succession planning to ensure success. Succession planning is vital to an
organization because it enables managers and individuals to identify right
candidates for a position. This function also must be aligned with the business
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plan to understand and meet requirements for key positions 3-5 years out.
While this is often a process reserved for managers and executives, it is more
commonly applied across the organization.
4.2.7. Compensations and Benefits: Clearly this is an integral part of people
management. Here organizations try to tie the compensation plan directly to
performance management so that compensation, incentives, and benefits align
with business goals and business execution.
4.2.8. Critical Skills Gap Analysis: This is a process we identify as an important,
often overlooked function in many industries and organizations. While often
done on a project basis, it can be business critical. For example: Today
industries like the Federal government, Telecommunications and Energy are
facing large populations which are retiring. How do you identify the roles,
individuals, and competencies which are leaving? What should you do to fill
these gaps? We call these “Critical Talent Management” and many
organizations are going through this now.
Advantages of Talent Management:
Having the skills and knowledge available for emergency situations.
Strengthening the organization’s capabilities by developing the skills and knowledge
the organizations needs now or in future.
Having back-up staffs with the knowledge and skills that will enable organization to
meet its objectives.
Talent Management helps in Increasing:
- Competitive Advantage
- Employee Satisfaction
- Worker Productivity
- Learning effectiveness
- Service Level
Talent Management helps in decreasing:
- Employee turnover
- Time to ramp new hires
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So far, we have discussed about the evaluation process, career management, and talent
management briefly. Now we are going to discuss how these days’ organizations using these
processes to retain its employees and contribute to the employees’ development. For these
purpose, we have selected Unilever Bangladesh and showed how this organization
implements career management and talent management program.
5. Brief of “Unilever”
Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch company, with a history of colonial exploitation, on which it has
gradually built its capital. Today it owns most of the world's consumer product brands in
food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever employs more than
247,000 people and had worldwide revenue of €48 760 million in 2002. Unilever has two
parent companies: Unilever NV in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Unilever PLC in London,
United Kingdom. This arrangement is similar to that of Reed Elsevier, and that of Royal
Dutch Shell prior to their unified structure. Both Unilever companies have the same directors
and effectively operate as a single business. The current non-executive Chairman of Unilever
N.V. and PLC is Antony Burgmans while Patrick Cescau is Group Chief Executive.
Unilever's major competitors include Nestlé and Procter & Gamble. Unilever is operating in
Bangladesh since 1964.
Unilever's mission is to add Vitality to life. They meet everyday needs for nutrition; hygiene
and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
To make cleanliness a commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and
contribute to personal attractiveness, in order that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding
for the people who use the products.
5.3. Goals and Objectives
The goals of UBL are:
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To manufacture high-standard products.
Promoting products to the highest extent
Producing large volume to achieve production cost economies.
Enabling quality products to be sold out at obtainable prices.
6. Performance Evaluation Tool of Unilever
Under the supervision of Human Resources Department (HRD), the Human Resources
Director, Jerry Jose, directly involved towards the performance evaluation process of the
Unilever. The other major work areas of this department are-
Factory Personnel functions or Industrial Relations,
Recruitment, Training and developments, labor welfare,
Personnel Services and Security.
To be specific for the project, we were concerned to know certain things which a directly
related to our project topic.
Higher productivity, industrial relations or the factory personnel functions are looked after
by factory personnel manager, training and development activities are supervised by
Manager Human Resource Development, Employee Welfare, activities are monitored
by Assistant Manager labor welfare, personnel services are looked after by the FPM along
with the office services manager and finally security officer is responsible for all the security
services At present, the total number of personnel in Unilever Bangladesh Limited are
720 which includes 159 in management & 543 unionized permanent workers.
For the evaluation process, Unilever Bangladesh mainly follows Management by Objective
(MBO) method. They named this process Performance and Development Planning (PDP)
process. Through this process employees are engaged to identify and deliver the challenging
goals. They mainly took part in decision making process. By doing so they built up their
leadership skills and behavior which help them to prepare themselves for better position in
future. Providing this opportunity, Unilever assesses their future leaders for the organizations.
So far the process gave them a very sustainable feedback.
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7. Career Management in Unilever
In Unilever, career management known as career progression. In this organization,
progression is based purely on merit & potential. With advice & guidance from your manager
& HR, the employees take control of their own career development.
Careful planning ensures you build a strong foundation in professional skills, gain experience
across different operating environments and processes, and develop capability in your chosen
area of expertise. Performing well will lead to opportunities to take on new and more
challenging roles. That in turn will allow you to deepen and broaden your skills and
7.2. Depth & Breadth
Depth of experience is about developing professional skills through performing and
practicing your role. We'll encourage you to build this depth of skill early in your career to
provide a solid basis for further progression.
Breadth of experience is about increasing your knowledge and understanding of the business
as a whole, so you can assess complex issues from different angles. Naturally, this becomes
more important as seniority increases.
7.3. Wider Experience
International experience is essential in many roles within a global organization – and
assignments offer valuable development opportunities. You can also gain exposure through
regional/global roles and project teams.
In higher-level positions that have a wider geographic remit, cross-border, category and
customer experience may be vital to help leverage our global scale.
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8. Talent Management Strategies of Unilever
Unilever starts its talent management program from the beginning of recruitment process.
Though they usually do not disclose their whole recruitment processes as a part of their talent
management program. The following process is usually followed by the Unilever HRD and
talent specialists. Unilever talent management process creates a comprehensive profile of
their talents which help organization in succession planning.
Figure: Learning Center of Unilever
8.1. Attract talent:
Design a talent management system
Unbiased reward and recognition
Flexible work environment and positive culture
Effective appraisal system
Design job for talent people
Proactive visionary management and leadership
Provide proper research facility
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Fig.: Talent Management Process
8.2. Keep talent:
Compensate talents as supplier
Right location to attract and retain talents
Assign right job to right talent
Career and succession plan
Balance age, race, gender, color
Create challenging environment
Create social bond with employees through adventure, sports, party, contest, etc
Compensation and profit sharing plan
Eliminate non working people
Figure: Talent Management Strategies in Unilever
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8.3. Manage Talent:
Establish effective communication and cooperation
Allow talent to create and apply knowledge
Build trust on talents
Set positive and constructive challenge
Performing XYZ analysis
Monitor talent as assets
Set challenging business goal
Take corrective action if necessary
8.4. Identify Talent:
Identify own talent before hiring talent
Performance based talent pool
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9. Critical Analysis of the Findings
During our interview session with the talent specialist, Marufa Tabassum, of Unilever
Bangladesh, we have found that Unilever has its very unique way of managing its
manpower. As we mainly focused on the employees who are related to the managerial
activities, these people need more assistance in career planning and organization also has
more need to retain those staffs. For this privilege, employees feel satisfied, which made
them motivate towards works and provide intrinsic reward. This is the reason employee
turnover is so low in Unilever.
Their career management planning helps the employees to boost their leadership skills. They
have given more independence along with the responsibilities which improves their decision
taking abilities. But this program also creates stress for few employees who cannot maintain
the work life balance. Another thing is this planning program focuses more on the
meritorious and potential employees. So those people, who have lack potential, may feel
uncomfortable on that environment.
As we know, the traditional talent management program has not conducted in Unilever
directly. Unilever has its own way to manage its talent management program. To manage
their talent, they start working from the beginning of the recruitment process. After the
selection process has been done they train their employees to learn about the organization’s
way of doing staffs and develop themselves. The organization set goals, performance
evaluations, performance ratings, succession planning, high potential listings for the
employees. These all things are done to shape an organizational culture within employees.
Unilever conduct “Unilever Future Leaders Programme” (UFLP). They include 30-40 new
trainees in this program to find out who is suitable for what. They develop general skills,
professional skills, and leadership skills through this program. Unilever also has individual
development plan for its employees. These all processes improve their working processes and
There is nothing to be surprised that Unilever has focus on its employees. Because they know
employees can be the only sustainable competitive advantage. So they always look after their
employees who make sure that employees are happy and motivated towards their works.
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Unilever should have meaningful descriptions of the capabilities i.e. skills, behaviors,
abilities and knowledge required throughout the organization.
As a multinational organization, Unilever can integrate assignments with career
development, succession planning according to employees’ performance.
Unilever should also focus on the employees who cannot perform their
responsibilities. They can provide training program and monitor them for the
improvement of their skills.
More certified training should be given to the employee to boost their effectiveness
and efficiency. It may also use as a tool of motivation.
As organizations can continue to pursue high performance and improved results through the
career management and talent management program practices, they are taking a holistic
approach to talent management-from attracting and selecting wisely, to placing employees in
position of greatest impact. The mandate is clear: for organizations to succeed in today’s
rapidly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace, intense focus must be applied to
aligning human capital with corporate strategy and objectives. It starts with recruiting and
retaining talented people and continuous by sustaining the knowledge and competencies
across the entire work force. With rapidly changing skill sets and job recruitments, this
becomes an increasingly difficult challenge for organizations. Meeting this organizational
supply and demand requires the right “Talent DNA” and supporting technology solutions. By
implementing an effective talent management strategy, including integrated data, processes,
and analytics, organizations can help ensure that the right people are in the right place at the
right time, as well as organizational readiness for the future.
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