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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historically, a key focus of human resource (HR) professionals was developing, implementing, and standardizing HR polices and processes to ensure employees perform in standardized ways. However, the utility of a standardized approach to HR practices has been increasingly questioned over recent decades. In this vein, formalized workforce-differentiation approaches to the segmentation of the workforce based on employees’ competence or the nature of roles performed to reflect differential potential to generate value has emerged as a central element of talent-management strategies. While earlier research on workforce differentiation identified individual talent as the locus of differentiation, more recently, the focus has shifted to strategic or pivotal jobs. This chapter reviews the emergence of workforce differentiation in the academic literature and charts key trends in this regard. The implications of a workforce-differentiation strategy for employees are also considered. The chapter concludes with a consideration of emerging trends and potential avenues for future study.

Keywords: talent management, workforce differentiation, talent, employee reactions, talent designations

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