Companies have to create a giant talent pool to survive in a shrinking labour market and against a background of downsizing.
Bruce Tulgan, founder of business consultancy RainMakerThinking, told delegates at the annual HR conference in Barcelona that companies must staff the work, not simply the job.
He said, "If your core of permanent employees gets smaller and smaller, HR needs to have a reserve talent pool to call upon. HR's role is absolutely critical - it needs to be a partner to managers in their day-to-day battle to find the talent to do the work."
Tulgan also advised HR to adopt to negotiate customised employment contracts with talented staff in order to keep them.
He said, "One great person is worth a whole bunch of mediocre people."
By Karen Higginbottom