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Finance for Life: a Talent Management Case Study Exercise

This is a case study set in an established financial services firm which is facing a talent retention and development challenge. Allow at least 45 minutes for completion.

This case study exercise will enable you to recognise the resolve talent management problems associated with management positions and succession planning. Read through the case study below and answer the questions that follow. You can use this case study as an individual exercise, or adapt it for use with your team. Allow about 45 minutes for completion if being run as a team exercise.

This case study exercise will help you to identify the talent management problems in a given scenario suggest a strategy to address the inherent problems outline immediate steps for solving short-term problems draw parallels with your own organisation

Case study
Finance for Life is a financial services firm that was established in 1885. It offers customers a large variety of financial services including investment portfolio management and audit.

The firm presently employs over 2,000 individuals in its main Liverpool office, and around the same number again in offices throughout Britain. The firm has built a brand that is associated with reliability, high performance and trust.

However, the firm underwent a dramatic re-engineering programme in the mid-1990s, which saw almost every talented over 50-year-old retired to make room for younger managers. The younger managers who gained a speedy promotion have now reached a static stage in their careers with few opportunities for promotion into the boardroom. Many are voicing their dissatisfaction and their intentions to leave. The individuals that are positioned for promotion if the senior managers leave are considered not to be experienced enough for these positions.

The problem has been exacerbated by the rise in popularity of start-up companies amongst experienced managers who value the generous share options and flexible working style.

What is more, the Human Resource department that oversaw the re-engineering programme has found that it now has less credibility in the organisation and this is hindering attempts to implement ideas that may help remedy the problems.

The firm appears to have a talent retention and development challenge on their hands.

Task Task 1: Answer the following questions.


What are the main talent issues facing Finance for Life? What do you think the repercussions of the re-engineering programme have been at lower levels of the organisation? Can you suggest a set of solutions for the talent retention problem at the senior manager level? Do you have any suggestions for the board regarding the development of the younger managers? Check your answers with the suggestions listed overleaf.

Task 2: List any parallels between the case study and your own organisation. Could any of the suggested measures for improvement benefit your organisation? Task Sheet: Finance for Life Case Study Exercise

Suggested answers
1. The main talent issues facing Finance for Life include:

a significant proportion of senior workforce feel that they are not progressing team members are attracted by other companies with a more modern outlook the HR department is suffering from credibility issues individuals highlighted to succeed current senior managers are not experienced enough for the jobs 2. The repercussions of the re-engineering programme include:

the fact that young talent has moved ahead too quickly without the adequate training and development the company will soon be faced with problems due to a lack of experience at senior levels, which will in turn make it more difficult to develop and mentor new talent the HR department has suffered a loss of credibility and cannot make the changes it sees as necessary

3. Solutions for the talent retention problem at senior manager level include:

senior management could openly communicate their concerns over lack of experience with the individuals concerned the company could look into modernising the way it works, perhaps introducing more work-life balance friendly measures senior management could try to mentor the younger managers who lack experience 4. Suggestions to the board regarding the development of the younger managers could include:

a coaching or mentoring programme a development course work-shadowing