TALENT management is a key issue facing business leaders and human resource (HR) practitioners today.

In the current turbulent economy, it becomes a critical one, as employees and employers alike worry about what is going to happen to their jobs and the future of their organisations.

A question often asked now is: "How should leadership be different in times like these?"

As the saying goes, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going". Hence, tough-minded leadership is required.

There are opportunities in every crisis and great leaders make bold moves. When other companies adopt the knee-jerk reaction of laying off workers, visionary leaders invest and train their people during the tough times to enable them to capture the market when the good times return.

Here are some of the people strategies that chief executive officers and senior HR management ought to embrace for long-term business success.

1. Identify and retain the best talent

This statement may not raise eyebrows but it remains a vital aspect of the business process. The number one job of top business leaders is to identify, develop and retain the best people because this is what will ensure their companies' success.

In fact, this "people strategy" is even more imperative than strategies to capture the market.

Human capital management gives you a competitive edge over your rivals, and having the right people in your team is a step in the right direction.

2. See HR as a strategic business unit

Leaders of organisations must recognise the increasing importance of human resources (HR) as a strategic business unit in guiding the company to success.

The role of HR continues to evolve from that of an administrative/tactical function to a more transformational one.

3. Be a value-driven organisation

Every organisation is driven by a set of shared values and convictions, which every member in the organisation embraces.

These core values determine the behaviour of the members within the company - that is, the culture of the organisation. It can mean the difference between the success and failure of the company.

As a leader, you should not only recognise this, but be instrumental in identifying the values your organisation stands for to ensure the "buy-in" of all employees.

4. Leadership in difficult times

Communication is key to strong leadership. It is important to tell your troops - your people who have been contributing to the success of your organisation - what is going to happen and what they should expect in the weeks and months ahead.

It is about assuring your people and managing their psychological states so that they remain positive. You cannot afford to let them lose confidence. For example, if a right-sizing exercise is necessary, make sure it is handled with the utmost care, and that outplaced workers have all the support they need.

5. Look long-term

The US sub-prime mortgage crisis has left stock markets around the world in turmoil. Share prices have plummeted even though the fundamentals of many companies continue to be strong.

Investors like Warren Buffett see opportunities to buy good stocks at a low price. Company leaders should take a cue from him and invest in good talent within the company and outside it.

In a downturn, top-notch personnel may be willing to lower their salary expectations for a position with a company that offers stability and a strong corporate mission.

With the right people in place, leaders can focus their efforts on working towards higher productivity, value creation and confidence-building for the long-term.