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Talent war becoming a beauty contest

THE ERA when labour market conditions were dictated exclusively by employers is over. Companies are now in an increasingly merciless fight for qualified employees, and are starting to replace their old human resources strategies with talent relationship management (TRM), or personnel marketing.

THE ERA when labour market conditions were dictated exclusively by employers is over. Companies are now in an increasingly merciless fight for qualified employees, and are starting to replace their old human resources strategies with talent relationship management (TRM), or personnel marketing.

This new approach to recruitment was inspired by classical marketing techniques. In order to find the highest quality staff possible, companies are trying to sell themselves to their current and future employees through a personnel marketing strategy called "influencing".

"In TRM, a firm's work with talents is not finished after they have been identified. That's just the beginning. TRM is a controlled process of care for talents that is based on working with them systematically. This is different from previous methods, where the talent was found and a new search for talents began only when the need to find a new talent arose," Radomír Mako, a managing partner with Amrop Jenewein Group (AJG), told The Slovak Spectator.

TRM has become a useful tool in those sectors of the economy, such as IT and the auto industry, where firms are competing for young and clever people with high potential, Mako added.

"TRM can help an employer gain motivated, loyal, and high-quality human capital, which gives him the possibility of planning for employee succession as well as a range of other advantages that follow from a healthy personnel policy."

Mako sees personnel marketing as an important new tool in the fight for talent, as employers use marketing tools that until recently were used only to sell products and services to build a positive image for themselves.

"They apply well-tested [marketing] methods to personnel marketing, thanks to which the market regards them positively as companies that offer not only quality goods and services but also good conditions for employees and the possibility of further career growth," Mako explained.

Such firms are now hard at work on their long-term image, presenting themselves through the media, having their experts offer opinions on various issues, supporting conferences, pioneering projects, and presenting the results of their personnel policy.

However, Gerard Koolen of Lugera & Maklér said it was important that TRM also be supported by other talent recruitment tools such as traineeship programmes, database management of applicants, public relations tools such as newsletters and open days, labour marketing through the Internet, advertising, and sponsorship of associations and clubs that could produce job candidates.

While in the past the recruitment process was just a one-step process, companies are now thinking more in advance, Koolen said.

"Before, recruiters chose a suitable candidate and left it at that. Now, if a recruiter is interested in a candidate but the candidate cannot take up the position, the recruiter puts him into a database - a talent pool. Companies are also building internal talent pools that can make the process of succession within the company easier."

According to Mako, there are several ways a company can maintain its talent pool. "Certainly, [one way is to have] a creative recruitment campaign combined with tools that are able to identify hidden potential. Individual or group assessment centres are among the best tools."

To keep talented people within the company, Koolen suggested job rotation, career development plans, training programs, international assignments, and constant salary benchmarking in order not to underpay talented people.

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