Journal of Human Resource Management
Volume 4, Issue 2, April 2016, Pages: 10-18

Generation Y Talent Management Strategy and Competitive Advantage: Case of Commercial Banks in Kenya

Angelica Gatiiria Gitonga, James M. Kilika, Eliud Obere

Department of Business Administration, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

Email address:

(A. G. Gitonga)
(J. M. Kilika)
(E. Obere)

To cite this article:

Angelica Gatiiria Gitonga, James M. Kilika, Eliud Obere. Generation Y Talent Management Strategy and Competitive Advantage: Case of Commercial Banks in Kenya.Journal of Human Resource Management.Vol.4, No. 2, 2016, pp. 10-18. doi: 10.11648/j.jhrm.20160402.11

Received: February 27, 2016; Accepted: March 11, 2016; Published: March 24, 2016

Abstract: Almost every organizational activity brings about a competitive world thus, making a paradigm shift inevitable. It therefore calls for the function of human resource in the organization to understand the category of that shift in order to implement meaningful change. Organizations need to identify the impact of values and work preferences of the young generation of workers in order to employ, develop, retain and prepare staff for future leadership. This study examined the relationship between talent management strategies for Generation Y which included Human Resource Planning, Human Resource Procurement, Human Resource Retention and Human Resource Development and the competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya. The study tested four hypotheses that related to independent and dependent variables and a cross sectional descriptive survey design was employed. The target population was a census of all the 43 Commercial Banks in Kenya as indicated in Central Bank’s Annual Report of December 2014 and the unit of observation was six (6) departments in each bank. A sample of 258 respondents was drawn and data was obtained through a semi-structured questionnaire that was self-administered through a drop-and-pick later method. The data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics with multiple linear regression analysis to test the hypotheses. With the analysis of the data collected on all the variables and the testing of hypotheses, the study revealed that Talent Management Strategies of HR Planning, HR Procurement, HR Development and HR Retention contributed to a fairly good extent (Mean = 3.8) so as to contribute to competitive advantage of Commercial Banks in Kenya with a percentage level of 56.3% (R2=. 563). The results of the hypotheses found that there exists a statistically significant, but negative relationship between HR planning strategies and competitive advantage (β=-0.323, p<0.05) while that of HR Development strategies had a weak relationship that was not statistically significant (β=.162, p>0.05). However, there was a strong positive and statistically significant relationship between HR retention strategies and competitive advantage (β=.599, p<0.05). There was also a positive statistically significant relationship between HR procurement strategies (β=.322, p<0.05).The study suggested that Commercial Banks in Kenya should consider Talent Management Strategies for Generation Y when making organizational policies. They should also embrace best HR practices that contribute to the management of human capital in order for them to realize a competitive advantage.

Keywords: Commercial Banks, Competitive Advantage, Generation Y, Human Resource Planning, Human Resource Procurement, Human Resource Development, Human Resource Retention, Talent Management

1. Introduction

The concept of Talent Management evolved around 1990s with an aim of incorporating human resource management developments, which placed more weight on the management of human capital. Talent management has been defined by several authors with some referring it as the overall process of developing, managing and retaining employees without specifically considering any demographic group [5]. A number of scholars defined Talent Management as a Strategic Human Resource Management process that uses an integrated set of activities to enable the organization to plan for, procure, develop, retain, and motivate the right kind of employees required both at present and in future [27]. Talent management is anchored on the premise that the employees are the firm’s most valuable asset and aims at securing the flow of talent, bearing in mind that talent is a major corporate resource [4]. A talent management program that includes effective goal management enables organizations to create a true competitive advantage. The program aims at aligning the workforce so that employees understand how their goals connect to and support to overall organizational goals, enabling the entire team to pull in the same direction. Such goals may focus in enhancing customer service as a key pillar of firm’s competitive advantage. Talent management programmes encompass a wide variety of human resource functions including but not limited to: HR Planning, HR Procurement, HR retention, HR training and development and employee succession planning.

In most organizations, work preferences are influenced by generational differences, a fact that is supported by the generational school of thought to the study of human resource management [14]. This school of thought has been supported by various people who grew up in different times, making them have various sets of beliefs, values, attitudes and expectations which eventually influence their behaviour in the workplace. Generational theory asserts that one generation influences and creates those coming behind it, and that each generation creates what it needs at that juncture in history. Generation Y refers to the most recent demographic group that has entered the workforce. It is not possible to exactly know the start and end dates, which define the parameters of Generation Y, but is believed to vary from beginning dates of 1977 to 1982 to ending dates of 1994 to 2003 [44]. Young employees are found to exhibit characteristics such as being techno savvy oriented, high maintenance due to their high demands, being optimistic and very confident, they tend to be self-reliant and entrepreneurial. In most cases, many Generation Y employees hold a self-confident attitude and love to be given the results needed and the freedom to figure out the process to achieve them. Technology has also shaped the way this digital generation learns and processes information. They are continually customizing how they gather and share information [3]. Talent management strategies for Generation Y are derived from Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM) programs that integrate decisions about people with the results the organization intends to achieve [1,5]. SHRM amalgamates Human Resource Management (HRM) into the organization planning process and emphasises on human resource activities that support the mission, goals, and building strong human resource management relationships. It is maintained that Human Resource Management practices increase employees’ capability and impetus to work which in turn impacts on organizational performance.

The business environment today is radically changing from that which prevailed a few years ago due to demographic changes. There are not only fewer people but also fewer people with the skills in demand [2]. Generation Y demands of promotions, flexible work schedules and others pose a big challenge to the organization [37]. However, because they represent the workforce of the future, employers are changing HR policies in response to their demands. Talent Management strategies have attracted attention in the recent past and substantial contributions have been documented in terms of dealing with issues related to the management of people. Various arguments have been put forward by researchers that support the assumptions there exists an effective link between how people are treated within the organization and how well the same organization performs [10,16].

Kenya’s banking sector has for many years been credited for its size and diversification by African standards and in comparison with other East African economies [11,12,13]. Credit has been given to GDP which is a standard indicator of financial development which was 23.7% in 2008, compared to a median of 12.3% for Sub-Saharan Africa [11,12]. The development of globalization in the financial market has paved the way to increased competition and has re-established the fact "survival of the fittest". Survival and sustainability evolved as key issues in a competitive environment. Commercial banks are now concentrating in designing activities and practices that give them additional competitive advantage. The banking sector in Kenya comprises of Central Bank (CBK), Commercial Banks, non-banking financial institutions and foreign exchange bureaus. However, only five banks account for 60% of the total banking industry assets and deposits [11,12]. Commercial banks in Kenya have come together under the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), which serves as a lobby for the banks’ interest and addresses issues affecting its members. As at 31st December 2014, banking subsector comprised of 43 commercial banks, 1 mortgage finance company, 7 representative offices of foreign banks, 9 microfinance banks, 2 credit reference bureaus, 2 money remittance providers and 112 Foreign Exchange Bureaus [11,12].

Explosive growth in Information Technology has changed the way individuals interact with banks and the way banks respond. In the changed scenario success will depend on the ability of banks to leverage the human potential and capabilities. Kenyan banking industry has created a more complex and dynamic environment in which most commercial banks must learn to compete effectively to achieve sustainable growth [30]. Workforces around the world have become larger, increasingly diverse, more educated, and more mobile. Every talent would wish to work in an organization with clear systems and structures of career development and growth. It is maintained here that talent development strategies in the banking industry should aim at recognizing potential talent by assigning them tasks that expose them to higher managerial roles [35]. The younger generations are perceived to be aggressive and have been accused of having a strong sense of entitlement and a desire to work in a fun environment [48]. Due to the large number of players in the industry, there is intense competition which has put the labour market under pressure as commercial banks demand for more sophisticated employee skills [38].

The change in customer behaviour is caused by increased access to product quality and information which has consequently led clients to be more sensitive to product quality and cost, and to the nature of delivery and cost of service. Since employees are the key to good service delivery and wide product offerings, it is important that banks employ adequately skilled individuals [38]. Generally, it is recognised that the study of talent management is still a relatively new and continually evolving area of research, and therefore, the view of the researchers that an empirical study is required to better understand talent management strategies for Generation Y in relation to the context in which it takes place and how it affects the commercial banks’ competitive advantage.

2. Research Problem

The banking industry is commonly recognized for its contribution to the economic activities, employment, innovation and wealth creation of a country. The banking industry has experienced unprecedented growth coupled with impressive performance over the same period. The industry has remained largely profitable in spite of the economy performing poorly in some years and facing adverse effects of the global financial crisis [11,12,13].

It has been established that talent management issues are becoming increasingly more significant than previously due to the rapid internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises including the banking sector and the emergence of "micro multinationals" in recent years. The specific management of talent has been widely seen as a solution for the Human Resource challenges in today’s labour market in which Generation Y is involved. Human Resource Management (HRM) practice embraces a strategic orientation incorporating influence of environmental dynamics on the design of HRM programmes in organizations. Demographic changes both in the environment and the workforce are of HRM concerns in rapidly changing environments. The presence of Generation Y workforce fits in this demographic variable and draw management attention in designing Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) programmes that will enable the organization gain a competitive advantage. The commercial banks are assumed to thrive on employee talents and have a high percentage of Generation Y workforces making the study relevant to them [33,38].

Studies on talent management have concentrated on examining its importance in general and none has attempted to make a specific focus on particular groups of workforce with unique characteristics. An understanding of the differences between and relationships among the preferences and motivators of generations and associated work outcomes can be used as an important building block in the development of effective recruitment materials, training methods, hiring processes and benefits packages [36,39]. In spite of this, it is clear that previous studies on talent management have concentrated on examining its importance in general and none has attempted to make a specific focus on particular groups of workforce with unique characteristics such as Generation Y. The purpose of this research was therefore to respond to the stated gaps with the main objective of finding out the relationship between talent management strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage in commercial banks in Kenya. The study identified four objectives, the first one sought to establish the relationship between Human Resource Planning (HRP) strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya, the second objective sought to determine the relationship between Human Resource Procurement strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya, the third objective sought to find out the relationship between Human Resource Development (HRD) strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya and the fourth objective sought to determine the relationship between Human Resource Retention strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya.

3. Significance of the Study

The findings of this study were considered important in several ways: The first contribution regards the relative contribution of Talent Management Strategies for Generation Y to the competitive advantage of the firms. Secondly, the findings show that though commercial banks in Kenya employ a large number of Generation Y workforce some of whom are in managerial position, the current structure of banks’ human resource planning strategies for Generation Y are yet to be improved so as to gain competitive advantage. The study also established that banks use employee procurement methods that are not favorable to Generation Y hence a high probability of not recruiting the right employees for the right jobs so as to gain a competitive advantage. The findings of this study have presented information to cover some of the research gaps from previous studies especially on factors that influence competitive advantage of an organization focusing on a specific demographic group of employees to bring in specialization aspect. It enables the scholars gain more understanding on the concerned topic. Lastly, this study is expected to add to the number of studies done in the banking sector in Kenya.

4. Literature Review

4.1. Theoretical Review

This research was built within a process-related context integrating various theories of motivation and strategic human resource management. Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) theory was used to guide the conceptualization and hypotheses development in conjunction with Job Characteristics Model Motivational Theory of Achievement and the Two-Factor Theory of Motivation. In SHRM theory, it is assumed to be HRM-firm performance link, concluding that individual performance increases performance of the business departments, and it is expected that performance of business departments increases the firm’s performance hence gaining a competitive advantage [16]. It focuses on the HRM performance link concentrating on a more integrated management approach and looks at the contributions of the entire HRM practices and policies to the organization’s competitive advantage. A group of researchers observed that for an organization to be felt, the human resource practices and strategies have to be connected with other aspects and strategies of the firm. There should be synergy between HR practices and strategies of the organization [15,16,20].

The Job Characteristics Model (JCM) introduces core job characteristics which include skill variety; task identity; task significance; autonomy; and feedback. They are then complimented by three critical psychological states which include experienced meaningfulness; experienced responsibility; and knowledge of results. The critical psychological states are responsible for enhanced work fulfillment, intrinsic work inspiration, performance and decreased employee absence and eventual turnover [25]. The model assumes that autonomy and feedback in the job are more significant than the work characteristics assuming that workers with higher desire for challenges and personal development respond more positively to enriched jobs than others. The components of the model are well-thought-out to be supreme in this study because they describe what brings about an employee’s job satisfaction and reduced turnover rate. A company will adopt the kind of strategy to meet the requirements of both the employees and the organization in terms of employee Talent relationship Management, Role Development and Total reward that leads to highly motivated employees with high retention rate. Motivational Achievement theory established achievement-based motivational and enhancements in employee assessment methods, promoting competency-based assessments and tests.

Scholars have stated that the hunger for talent can no longer be dismissed as a management clinch despite global economy downtowns. The need of identifying, retaining and replacing the people who form the backbone of the organization has led to a burning obsession among the many executives. Various researches have also brought to the light that business leaders are extremely concerned with getting talented employees with the expectation that the progressively universal competition for talent will have a major effect on their corporations [6,7,8]. With this in mind, the outcome has been increased competition to attract and retain individuals who demonstrate high level of potentiality. There are various approaches contained in the concept of talent management which include attraction, retention, motivation and engagement, development, and succession planning. Talent management begins with the organization examining its business strategy and determines what it signifies in terms of the talented people required by the organization.

4.2. Empirical Review

In consideration of some of the talent management strategies that have been reviewed in this study from previous researches, the strategy of human resource planning (HRP) assists in analyzing and identifying the need for and availability of human resources so that the organization can meet its objectives [1]. It is a proactive process that examines the implications of business strategies and goals on human requirements such as the number and type of people required the training they will require and whether the organization will have to employ additional employees. HRP has over the years been utilized by companies to determining how to staff the organization with the right employees at the right time and in the right place [29]. In the long term period, success of any enterprise depends on whether the right people are in the right places at the right time. Researchers have also argued that attraction, selection and maintenance of the required workforce is a crucial ingredient to organizational success [34,39,43]. Large numbers of companies recruit young graduates with the sole purpose of facilitating growth of the organization and continual improvement through innovation [18]. They have also argued that today’s business environment is drastically different from that of a few years ago with the dominant factor being its demographics. There are not only fewer people but also fewer people with the skills in demand.This pauses a great challenge in retaining skilled and talented employees. It is also more difficult when attracting and hiring employees from a limited talent pool. Scholars pointed that the policies and methods used previously to attract the best candidates are possibly relatively ineffective when it comes to procurement of Generation Y calling for greater understanding of Generation Y and more so their expectations and goals for work, with the purposes of devising the best means by which to recruit and retain them. The also reviewed researches on the strategy of Human Resource Development (HRD) which emphasizes that after planning and procurement of the required talent, there is need for implementation of development strategies for the entire talent pool to ensure that the organization has skilled and competent workforce for both the current and future supply in order to meet its strategic objectives [16,35,45]. It is worth noting that development activities should be aligned with organizational talent management processes. Therefore, talent development strategies can be embraced as a key measurement of a bundle of high performance work practices that are connected to superior organizational performance leading to sustainable competitive advantage. HRD also include policies on career management to enable employees move up the corporate ladder. Career development contains the processes of career planning and management succession [6,10,14,18]. The last strategy reviewed was that of human resource retention. Researchers have argued that workforce retention is a process in which the employees are encouraged to remain with the organization for the maximum period of time as it beneficial to both for the organization and the employee. Various literatures have been reviewed across occupations and have indicated that both age and tenure are associated with voluntary job leaving. It was established that those employees who are younger and those who have been in a job for shorter periods of time are more likely to leave the job than older and longer term [26]. Organizations are required to come up with effective retention management policies that incorporate ongoing diagnosis of the nature and causes of turnover. It is therefore vital to develop approaches that determine in what human capital markets retention has the largest impact on organizational success, and the development of an appropriately targeted and organized bundle of retention initiatives.

4.3. Conceptualization and Hypotheses

In view of the theoretical and empirical literature reviewed to answer the main research question under investigation, the study proposed a suitable conceptual framework as presented in figure 1. The dependent variable of the study was Competitive Advantage which was operationalised through indicators such as cost of production, speedy delivery, continual innovativeness, flexibility to change and corporate image. The independent variable of the study was talent management which was operationalized through strategies such as human resource planning, human resource procurement, human resource development and human resource retention.

Figure 1. Conceptual Framework.

From the conceptual framework, four hypotheses were stated in the null form as follows:

Hypothesis 1: There is no significant statistical relationship between Human Resource Planning activities for Generation Y workforce and the competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya.

Hypothesis 2: There is no significant relationship between Human Resource Procurement strategies used by banking sector during recruiting and selecting Generation Y workforce and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya.

Hypothesis 3: There is no significant relationship between Human Resource Development strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage workforce commercial banks in Kenya.

Hypothesis 4: There is no significant relationship between Employee retention strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya.

5. Methodology

5.1. Research Design and Population

The study employed descriptive survey research design to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena and to describe what existed with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. The study also adopted correlational type of descriptive research design which comprised of collecting data to determine whether, and to what extent, a relationship existed between talent management strategies for Generation Y and the commercial bank’s competitive advantage. In this study, the target population comprised of all the forty three Commercial Banks in Kenya as per the Kenya Central Bank of Kenya’s Annual Report of 2014 [11].

5.2. SamplingDesign

The sampling method used was Census of all Commercial Banks in Kenya which allowed elements to be chosen based on purpose of the study. It allowed the researcher to use own judgment to select cases that best enabled one to answer the research questions and meet objectives [9,42,49]. This procedure was preferred since the target population was small hence had an equal chance of being selected. The unit of analysis was commercial banks and the unit of observation was the functional area of each bank. Each of the commercial bank was studied from six (6) functional levels or departments namely Human Resources, Credit, Audit, Finance, Treasury and Marketing.

5.3. Data Collection and Analysis

The study used a questionnaire to collect data. The questionnaire contained both structured and unstructured questions that were both open and closed ended. This ensured uniformity and consistency of the answers given by various respondents. The researcher distributed the questionnaires through drop and pick later method. The researcher subjected the data collection instrument to reliability and validity test through a pilot survey. The respondents were a selected group of postgraduate students working at managerial levels and are at the same time enrolled in two major universities in Kenya. The researcher pre-tested the instrument using a sample of 40 managers. This was to test for both construct and content forms of validity to ensure conformity with relevant guidelines for ensuring research instrument validity and reliability. The study used Cronbach’s Alpha Score to check for internal consistency and ascertained the items within a scale measure the same construct [9,49]. It computed reliability score for the instrument prior to and after the main survey. The Alpha was calculated using SPSS and assisted in measuring the mediocre of quantifiable items and its relationship. Cronbach’s Alpha value of 0.7 is the threshold for determining reliability. After the collection of data, it was recorded and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The study used both descriptive and inferential statistics for data analysis. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the characteristics of all variables and it comprised of percentages, frequencies, means and standard deviations [1]. Inferential statistics aimed at testing the hypotheses where linear regression analysis was used to predict the existence of a relationship between the dependent variable (y) and the independent variables (X1,2,3,4). The four hypotheses in the study were subjected to a test at 95% confidence level which formed a statistical basis for drawing conclusions. Each research variable was combined using SPSS to generate composite scores. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to examine if the overall models were statistically significant by indicating whether or not R2 could have occurred by chance alone.

6. Findings

6.1. Response Rate

A total number of 258 questionnaires were distributed to units of observation out of which the researcher collected 184 giving a response rate of 71.32% which as considered satisfactory for data analysis. The respondents’ age group that ranged between 26 and 40 years were the majority of employees in the middle and senior management levels. This implies that majority of employees belong to Generation Y demographic group with working experience of between 4-10 years.

6.2. Descriptive Findings

Table 1 below shows the summary of aggregate mean score, standard deviation and Alpha score for each variable. The scales used in the questionnaire for each independent variable was: 5= Very High Extent 4 = Good Extent 3 = Fair Extent 2 = Slight Extent 1 = None atAll.

Table 1. Summary of Descriptive Analysis.

Variable α No of Items M Std Dev
HR Planning 0.922 9 3.84 1.07
HR Procurement 0.902 12 3.77 1.11
HR Development 0.929 10 3.81 1.10
HR Retention 0.910 10 3.76 1.04
Total/Aggregate 0.916 41 3.80 1.08

All the mean scores for the independent variables rounded off to the nearest whole number measured at 4 which corresponded to the level of good extent according to the scale of the questionnaire.

6.3. Test of Hypotheses

The regression output results are summarized in table 2 below:

Table 2. Summary of Multiple Regression.

The first hypothesis sought to test whether there exist a significant statistical relationship between Human Resource Planning activities for Generation Y workforce and the competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya. The hypothesis was tested using multiple regression equation. The Beta coefficient of HR Planning was β= -0.323 and indicates a negative relationship. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the study fails to accept the null hypothesis. It concluded that there is a statistically significant but a weak and negative relationship between HR planning strategies for Generation Y and the competitive advantage of Commercial Banks in Kenya hence the study adopted the Alternate Hypothesis.

The second hypothesis sought to find out whether there is a significant relationship between employee procurement strategies for Generation Y workforce and the competitive advantage of Commercial banks in the Kenya. The Beta coefficient was β=0.322 which signified a moderately positive relationship between HR procurement Strategy and competitive advantage. The statistical level of significance was 0.029 indicating the variable was significant at p< 0.05. As a result, the Null hypothesis was not supported hence the study adopted the Alternate hypothesis. The conclusion made from this hypothesis and judged from previous researches shows HR procurement strategies are essential in enabling the firm gain a competitive advantage.

The third hypothesis sought to find out whether there is a statistically significant relationship between Human Resource Development strategies for Generation Y workforce and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya. The Beta coefficient of the hypothesis was β=0.162 indicating a weak positive relationship. The level of statistical significance was 0.135 indicating the variable was not significant (p>0.05). Since the p value was greater than 0.05, the study failed to reject the null hypothesis and concludes that there is no statistically significant relationship between HR Development strategies for Generation Y workforce and the Competitive Advantage of Commercial banks in Kenya. The conclusion made from this hypothesis shows that HR Development strategies have not been considered essential in helping the firm gain a competitive advantage.

The fourth hypothesis sought to find out whether there is a significant relationship between Employee retention strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya. The Beta coefficient for the hypothesis was β=0.599 indicates that Human Resource Retention Strategy was strongly and positively related to competitive advantage. The level of statistical significance was 0.000 indicating the variable was significant at p< 0.05. As a result, Null hypothesis was not supported hence the Alternate Hypothesis was adopted. The study thus concludes there is a statistically significant positive relationship between HR Retention strategies for Generation Y and Competitive advantage of Commercial Banks in Kenya.

6.4. Discussion and Implications

The results of hypothesis one and its conclusions can be supported by the findings of previous researches and the theory of SHRM that linked SHRM with business strategies and concluded that HR must be involved with the firm’s strategic objectives [16,22,27,28]. More researches indicated that human resources are sources of competitive advantage, however strategic planning on its own may not be an indicator of competitive advantage due to varying levels of sustainability such as rarity and as such, can highly be imitable. The researcher further argues that the highly competitive environment of the banking sector is a major factor that is now leading to imitation of competitor strategies by rival firms [38, 40, 46]. The study indicated that a mere implementation of HR Planning strategy may not yield the desired results. Based on the findings above, it can be concluded that Generation Y employees are not fully involved in the banks HRP processes but are a result of the processes themselves hence not fully involved in the strategic decision making processes of the bank but are part of the decisions made by the strategic management. The study has brought to the attention of senior management of the Commercial Banks in Kenya and other firms that they need to come up with HR planning policies that involve Generation Y in order to have them identify the right HR planning needs of the firm for both present and future strategic objectives.

The findings of hypothesis two support its results. The conclusion made from this hypothesis judged from previous researches shows HR Procurement strategies are essential in helping the firm gain a competitive advantage [46]. The theories of motivation also support this study by bringing out motivators that make the work attractive to the employees hence attracting high competencies during HR procurement. Other researchers concluded that procurement of the right human resource enhances competitive advantage due to its strategic differentiation to an organization [28]. This indicated that identification of exact mixture of resources and capabilities is essential towards competitive advantage. The study contributes to the research field by bringing out the expectations of Generation Y which should be considered during HR procurement processes. It also highlights the preferred procurement methods by the young generation.

The findings of hypothesis three support the results in this study. Previous researchers such as Boudreau (2003) found a positive relationship between human resource development and sustainability where it was noted that as organizations embrace sustainability and assert goals such as meeting the needs of the present employees without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, it would be important to focus on execution of employee development [10]. Sustainability in action requires culture change, which rests on how deeply, consistently and logically employees can connect their own efforts with sustainability goals, and thus make better decisions about their own talents and human capital [5,19]. Other researchers further argue that talent management also has its implication on HR development where financial decisions may result into managers focusing on acceptable returns and not the return from human resource investments hence may support the weak significance in the findings on hypothesis of HR development. This study stresses the need for HR Development strategies in the Commercial Banks in Kenya with policy development geared towards development of Generation Y to enhance their performance.

The findings of hypothesis four support the pervious results and can be argued from theoretical point of view, using Job Characteristics Model (JCM) [25]. It identified core job characteristics, followed by critical psychological states, which are in return accountable for increased work satisfaction, internal work motivation, performance and reduced absence and employee turnover hence supporting the significance of HR Retention Strategy to the bank’s Competitive Advantage. The conclusion made in this hypothesis is also supported by the findings of previous researchers [41] who identified a positive relationship between Human Resource Retention and Competitive advantage, where it was concluded that efficient management of human resources reduces the rate at which employees leave, and thus reduce costs. They concluded that a company that loses skilled workers, and in return gains a high percentage of novice workers finds it difficult to survive in the market. This study helps the management of commercial banks in formulating Generation Y retention policies that encourages them to work longer with the same bank by highlighting the preferred total reward strategies by the young generation.

7. Conclusion and Recommendation

The study sought to establish if there existed a relationship between talent management strategies for Generation Y and competitive advantage of commercial banks in Kenya. From the findings presented and explanations offered, the researcher concludes that firstly; talent management strategies for Generation Y positively affect the commercial banks’ competitive advantage at a level of 56.3% meaning that this cohort of employees requires consideration when making organization’s strategic policies and decisions. With regard to the first objective, HRP had a negative relationship with Competitive Advantage at a significant level of 0.036. The study identified that if the banks properly implements HR Planning that is geared towards Generation Y management, the banks would be able to maintain technologically driven employees with high levels of performance as well as alignment of employee goals with those of the organization. The study thus observed that the current structure of banks’ HRP strategies for Generation Yis not well thought out hence offers an adequate explanation on the negative relationship between HRP and competitive advantage. The second objective HR Procurement had a positive relationship with Competitive Advantage with a significant level of 0.029. This study concludes that the required HR Procurement methods that attract Generation Y workforce have been implemented and the commercial banks are able to employ the right talent for the right position. The third objective, HR Development had a positive relationship that was not significant at a level of 0.135. Therefore, HR Development played no role in Competitive Advantage of the commercial banks. The fourth objective of Human Resource Retention was highly significant at a level of 0.000. Based on the results of the hypotheses, the researcher concludes that the banks have put in place the right mechanisms of retaining Generation Y workforce to a great extent leveraging on their talents and capabilities which enable the banks meet its strategic goals and objectives. Therefore the strategy of HR retention plays a major role in the commercial banks’ competitive advantage.


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