Exploring talent indicators in internship programmes for human resource management graduates
The landscape of the labour force is changing fast all over the world as we have more employees who belong to Generation Y entering the workplace and older employees are retiring. The most common entry point is through graduate development programmes such as internships. Many organizations use these programmes as talent management tools to develop and retain employees for their future human capital needs. For many, an internship is the first contact with the workplace, so their experiences and how they are managed can influence their work-related attitudes. The main objective of the study was to explore the perspectives of human resource managers on talent indicators for human resource management graduates, and to explore the role of the HR function in managing graduate interns, while also looking into the antecedents and outcomes of a graduate internship programme. The study followed a mixed method approach. Data were collected from human resource management professionals (n=25) by means of semi-structured interviews. This was followed by a focus group with graduate interns (n=10). The participants (n=101) completed the following measures: a talent management measure, a questionnaire on aspects of the graduate internship programme, the Employee Value Proposition Questionnaire, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, the Job Satisfaction Questionnaire, and the Career Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction Questionnaires. Most graduates experienced the internship programme as positive. This study makes important theoretical and practical contributions. From a theoretical point of view, this research adds to the limited body of empirical knowledge on the role of talent management in the establishment of graduate internship programmes. A conceptual model of talent indicators was also developed. Managers can use internships as a basis to conceptualize their understanding of Generation Y employees and develop relevant strategies to manage them effectively and to get a clearer understanding of the causes of Generation Y behaviours and attitudes.