Talent Strategies During Economic Downturn

We continue to read about softness in the global economy and the resulting job loss.  In the US, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate has reached a 5-year high. image Asia will not be immune to the economic slump.  In the latest Hudson survey of employment trends in Asia, the report shows that hiring expectations are falling in all the markets surveyed except China.

Organizations with a strategic focus on human resources will continue to attract, develop and retain critical talent during both good and bad times.

Focus on Employee Retention

In today’s knowledge economy, we continue to see a critical-skills shortage of top talent.  A company’s on-going ability to attract and retain key talent is vital to executing long-term business strategies.

  • In economic downturns, managing talent by setting realistic goals, measuring achievement and results, and leveraging talent across the organization is needed to keep the organization evolving.
  • Enhancing employee development by offering new assignments serves as a great retention tool.
  • At the same time, continued performance management and merit reward programs to reinforce employee productivity is critical.

Values of Strategic Programs

An organization’s workforce is key to the success of any company.  Continued focus on strategic HR initiatives will enable the long-term business success.

  • Integrating newly hired employees and further developing skills and competencies of existing employees will enhance effective use of our talent within the organization.
  • Employee development and training continues to be a priority as recruiting efforts are anticipated to slow.
  • Focus on long-term university strategies with internships and student development projects enabling future hiring pipeline.

Getting Prepared

Companies are not insulated from the overall global economy.  There will be certain business units or geographic regions with growth potential.

  • Rather then a wholesale hiring-freeze, companies should take advantage and invest in strategic opportunities.
  • Companies can divest in slower-growth areas and shift resources to higher-growth business units and geographies.

Talent Recruiting Strategies

I would expect that high-performing talent will continue to be highly-valued and retained by their current employers.  Therefore, it will just be as difficult, if not more, recruiting this category of talent.

  • Use this period to practice opportunistic hiring when competitors have either cut back or reduced their hiring efforts.
  • Building up your talent base will allow companies to come out of the economic down-cycle stronger and shorten time-to-market ahead of the up-turn.

During economic downturns, organizations will typically look to tightening up headcount budget and close-off hiring during.  However, companies will benefit from taking a long-term look at their human resource needs by focusing on strategic talent initiatives and invest in critical hiring.  By doing so, companies will bounce back stronger in an up-turn.

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