An integrated framework of workplace wellness as strategic business imperative for talent management
Organisations worldwide, regardless of size, must deal with challenges of attracting, developing, and retaining employees who successfully contribute towards organisational goals. For talent to be effectively developed, deployed, and retained there is a need to ensure that the appropriate talent management strategies are in place and aligned with wellness initiatives. The research problem identified for this study pertains to the lack of knowledge and information on the multilevel holistic integration of talent management and employee wellbeing to enable human resource professionals, line and staff managers to execute their roles effectively. As such, the main purpose of this research was to develop a strategic and multilevel integrated talent-wellness management framework. In this study, an exploratory sequential mixed-method approach was adopted. The first phase of the research was quantitative in nature, involving the completion of 210 questionnaires by human resource professionals in South Africa. In an effort to verify and expand the research results and to solicit deeper insights into these responses, interviews were conducted with ten human resource professionals selected using purposive sampling. The quantitative findings revealed a statistically significant relationship between talent management and employee wellbeing. Furthermore, the empirical results suggest that there is a positive association among the various constructs for talent management (attraction, development, and retention) and employee wellbeing (social, emotional, physical and psychological). Based on the qualitative findings, the following themes were identified as determinants of employee wellbeing: physical wellbeing and employee performance, psychological wellbeing and achievement of goals, management of emotions in the workplace, social wellbeing and work relationships, wellness programme management, talent conceptualisation, talent attraction strategies, sustainable talent development practices, engaging and retaining talent, talent and wellness stakeholders, optimising talent and wellness integration and, lastly, harnessing diversity. The triangulation of the results and findings, as well as the literature review, contributed to the development of a multi-level integrated talent-wellbeing management framework. This framework will serve as a practical management tool for the planning, implementation and management of talent and wellness interventions in the workplace. The framework comprises of three stages. Stage one focuses on the antecedents of talent and wellness interventions. Stage two focuses on the optimisation of talent and wellness practices. The last stage which is stage three focuses on the multilevel consequences of optimised talent and wellness practices. The framework takes cognisance of the operating environment of the organisation, that is, the external environmental dynamics. Central to this framework is the fact that talent management operates within a dynamic environment, thus human resource professionals and other relevant stakeholders must be knowledgeable about the external dynamics that have an impact on the multilevel (individuals, groups and structures) outcomes of talent and wellness practices. The first inference to be drawn from this research is that at the team level, team members should encourage each other to adopt healthy lifestyles. This may result in employees paying more attention to living healthy lifestyles to enhance their wellbeing. At the organisational level, this study provides leaders with insight into identifying and making informed decisions on initiatives that foster the conducive environments that lead to psychologically healthy workplaces. The second inference is that it provides new avenues for multilevel thinking within organisations by producing validated empirical results aimed at the integration of employee wellbeing with talent management. The third inference is that human resource professionals who do not effectively optimise the integration of employee wellbeing in the talent management process by committing resources and time may end up preventing organisational growth and fostering psychologically unhealthy workplaces. Therefore, organisations should implement wellness and health promotion interventions as part of their strategic human resource plans.