ECONOMIC, technological and social changes across the world are placing challenging new demands on organisations. Competitive talent acquisition and retention pressures have never been greater. The human resource recruitment function has come under increasing pressure with a focus on its effectiveness and return on investments.

With the labour market flooded with job seekers, one may think that there is an abundance of talent available in the market.

But there is an acute shortage of talent and an oversupply of unskilled workers within the same markets. There is also a severe shortage of skills related to technical, engineering and scientific areas and employers are still willing to pay top dollar for qualified talent.

Attracting talent

Organisations recognise that their talent gives them the competitive edge and they use various ways to attract the right employees. Especially in today's market, good performers are reluctant to move and need to be swayed with more than an attractive monetary package. They seek companies with values and a mission that are aligned to their beliefs.

Organisations that are astute are responding to this by getting their senior leaders to share their vision and the values of the company with potential employees. Talented people want to be part of an organisation they can believe in, and one that excites them.

Here are some ways to attract talent into your organisation:

* Treat talented individuals like customers.

* Understand their motivation, and push and pull factors.

* Have a systematic planned strategy to manage the recruitment process.

* Ensure that your reward and recognition programme is attractive and is performance-driven.

* List your organisation's strengths and how its culture supports the growth of the company and its employees.

* Showcase your leadership team and their congruence with the company vision.

Employees these days are also concerned about a company's stability and reputation. At a time when even large and established organisations are facing a crisis, this is understandable.

Companies recruiting these days have to work harder to convince employees of their long-term business view, while employees are interested to know more about severance packages and support given, if there is a need to part ways.

Talent retention

Talented individuals are on the radar of your competitors and other recruiters. Retaining talent is no longer about keeping the good performers within your company as long as possible.

It is more about how you can get optimum mileage from your relationship with the individuals, which may change over time from that of employee to associate; consultant to business partner; and in some cases, even competitor.

Smart business owners know how to keep important relationships alive and draw the best out of them. There are many cases where an individual moves to a rival organisation and then rejoins the company. Keep employees' options open and fluid in order to tap into a more diverse talent pool.

Good recruiters know the value of this, especially in today's market where employers need to extend their network globally. One way to stay in touch with talent who have left your company, is through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

A chief executive of a fast growing company recently said that he treats all his employees as if they are managers, partners and shareholders. If you lose great people, you lose success. Facilitating and growing people are valued traits of successful business leaders.

The bottom line is the organisation must foster an atmosphere where talented people need not be induced to stay but make a choice to remain connected to the company in one form or another.

GUIDELINES FOR RETAINING TALENTED INDIVIDUALS:

1. Stay in touch.

2. Respect individuality.

3. Build a conduit within your company that fast-tracks talented individuals and gives them access to your leadership team.

4. Give talented individuals a platform to discuss their views and provide challenges to showcase their capability. Keep them engaged.

5. Recognise achievement milestones besides remuneration. Talented people also do things for glory and appreciation.

6. Keep track of your talents' value, know their market worth and always keep track of who else within your playing field may be interested in pursuing them. Be aware of your own team's push and pull factors.