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Vodafone criticised for "weak talent pool and lack of commercial savvy"

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Vodafone has a "depressingly thin" talent pool, according to one research analyst.

In an open letter to Vodafone's board of directors, Robin Beinenstock, an analyst at Bernstein Research, wrote: "We think Vodafone needs to fundamentally change its organisational culture. Many of Vodafone's managers have been there since the glory days and throughout the decline of their businesses; the same managers that led the business into trouble in the first place cannot lead a turnaround.

"Vodafone has repeatedly demonstrated a worrying lack of commercial savvy. The big examples are well known - missing the iPhone, leaving Carphone Warehouse, leaving the Aldi deal for KPN. The list is long. Vodafone needs to tap a broader pool of talent from more commercial industries and a fresher approach to the business - as you have recently done in Turkey."

A spokesman from Vodafone told HR magazine the company was unable to comment on individual analyst notes.

But Chris Phillips, vice president of international marketing at Taleo, said: "In an age of unified, on-demand talent management systems, it is surprising to hear that such a large, high-profile organisation could be suffering because of a weak talent pool. As we enter the economic recovery, every business, regardless of size, needs to be seizing on any market opportunities that emerge. This can only happen if the organisation has its workforce firing on all cylinders.'
 
 "In order to achieve this, employers need insight into the performance, experience and ambitions of each individual. By having a fully integrated system in place, one that tracks existing employees' performance and develops a high quality pool of potential internal and external candidates, businesses can develop a clear picture of the skills held in-house, identify potential areas of weakness and ensure these are tackled quickly and efficiently."