This paper investigates the extent to which multinational enterprises formally identify a key group of non-managerial employees that are critical to the achievement of corporate strategy. Furthermore, the paper investigates whether there is a differentiated HR approach utilised according to the different talent pools. Utilising data from 260 MNEs operating in Ireland, the paper supports the viewpoint that there are employees other than management who possess significant strategic value in terms of their contribution to the corporate strategy. Although not a universal finding, a slight majority of MNEs noted that they identify a key group of employees based on possessing knowledge and skills deemed critical to the achievement of the organisation’s competitive strategy. In addition, some support was also found regarding the use of a differentiated HR architecture based on different. Specifically, we found that both the managerial pool and key group were more likely to be offered financial participation schemes, be subject to variable pay based on performance and were also more likely to have a pay policy of paying in the top or second quartile than the largest occupational group. Differences in the HR approach between the key group and managerial pool were also found but these were more minimalist.
11th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe, 11th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe. CD (Pecs, Hungary 02-04 June, 2010) p. 1-14