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Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives by John W. Boudreau, Wayne F. Cascio

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Chapter 9. The Economic Value of Job Performance

Consider this single question: Where would a change in the availability or quality of talent have the greatest impact on the success of your organization? Talent pools that meet this standard are known as “pivotal” talent pools. For example, at Xilinx, the world’s largest manufacturer of programmable logic chips, the ability to innovate, to develop new products, is key to the firm’s success in the marketplace. A pivotal talent pool is, therefore, engineers, for as CEO Wim Roelandts is fond of saying, “De-motivated engineers don’t create breakthrough products.”[1]

In defining pivotal talent, an important distinction is often overlooked.[2] That distinction is between average value and variability ...

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