EMPLOYERS worldwide are frantically trying to hold on to their best employees even as they try to find and recruit the best available talent in the marketplace.

What is the cause of this challenging problem and is it a new phenomenon or a recurring circumstance?

Why the crunch

As a trainer and professional speaker who has conducted programmes worldwide for many years, I know of a variety of causes or contributors to this current talent crunch.

Here are a few of the more obvious ones:

* The relentless march and increasing speed of technology and its impact on society and individuals;

* The increasing cost of living in developed and progressive countries;

* An ageing population in many countries;

* An increasing lack of employee loyalty;

* The desire for control over one's life and destiny;

* The desire of many organisations to increase their offerings of products and services;

* The desire of people to go wherever there is opportunity;

* The increasing unwillingness of people to take on entry-level positions; and

* The desire of many organisations to have an increasing presence either locally or internationally or both.

I don't see any of these circumstances changing in the near future.

So if you are an employer - regardless of your organisation's size, history or growth plans - or if you are considering starting a new business or enterprise, it is important to develop and maintain a clear, workable and effective strategy and process for keeping your best talent and finding new employees.

This will help you to continue to grow your business profitably and consistently.

What employees want

What people want has not changed in hundreds of years. However, finding it is becoming increasingly difficult.

People around the world all want the same things, regardless of their country, religion, gender, age, career and/or marital status.

They want inner peace, happiness and to maintain control of their lives and outcomes. Many feel that these wants are gradually being eroded in the workplace, so it should be no surprise that employees everywhere are:

* starting their own businesses;

* looking for better financial opportunities;

* retiring earlier;

* staying with their current employer but losing productivity and effectiveness;

* losing loyalty and commitment to their current employer;

* developing a more self-centred approach or personal agendas and concerns about their futures; or

* becoming more independent in their thinking and behaviour.

What employers can do

If you are an employer, what is the answer to this ongoing and growing problem? I would like to share my thoughts on a few fundamentals:

1. Corporate culture

It is critical that your organisation become an "employer of choice".

This involves developing, fostering and maintaining a positive corporate culture.

To do this, you must be willing to empower employees at every level of the organisation.

Learn to give more positive recognition and appreciation to each employee regardless of his status or position.

Treat all employees fairly, regardless of their gender, cultural background, age or experience.

Create an environment of inclusion not exclusion.

2. Decisions

Drive decision-making further down the corporate ladder.

Stay in touch with the reality of your business, your markets and your customers' needs and expectations.

Your managers must keep their egos out of critical decisions, actions and behaviours. They must learn to validate their subordinates.

If you want employees to trust and respect you, do the same to them first. Keep the lines of communication open in all directions throughout your organisation.

3. Vision

Share your vision with all your employees and encourage the bottom-up flow of information.

Senior managers must get out from behind their desks and talk to employees.

As an employer of choice, you must listen without prejudice and clouded perceptions.

Put as many resources in developing your people as you do in upgrading your furniture and other supplies.

Set a clear direction for your organisation and share this with your employees.

Create a culture that blends the right amounts of accountability and responsibility.

If you want to be one of the survivors during the coming decade or decades, you will have to embrace these changes willingly and diligently.