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ExecMojo

Talent Strategies in an Economic Crisis

Sue Schaefer and Sue Wyman
Posted: 01/26/2009

We are facing some really tremendous economic challenges this year. No matter which industry or cycle of business you're in, we’re all feeling the impact of the economic crisis. And the impacts of the collapsing economy will likely be with us for quite a while. As this economic recession ripples across the globe, it feels like we've entered a period of reduced economic expectations and a time where uncertainty threatens to paralyze us all. No matter how long the economic recession lasts, I believe it is imperative for us all to stay focused on the end game and not let a flurry of activity and confusion dominate our focus.

In human resources, uncertainty seems to be one of the biggest challenges impairing our judgment around talent management—hiring, succession management, etc. Having a plan tied to the needs of the business, revisiting the plan and working the plan are the best ways for human resources managers to ensure that they're hiring, utilizing and retaining the best talent to help ride the economic storm. In fact, it can be said that retaining talent is even more important now that we are being catapulted into a world where "doing more with less" is being taken to an entirely different level.

Dipping into the Job Candidate Pool During an Economic Crisis

Hiring and retaining talent of the highest quality plays an integral role in energizing companies and ensuring that human capital investments are optimized. Some benefits of hiring during a challenging economy can also tempt people to deviate from proven "plans." There are tremendous benefits to hiring in a challenging market:

  • A larger pool of higher-quality job candidates exists
  • More industry talent becomes available as competitors shrink their business
  • Top performers are sometimes available at more affordable base salaries

However, we have to be careful not to "deal shop" where due diligence in hiring can be thrown out the window. Corporate fit, proven performance, personal fit and adaptability in uncertain times is essential to making sure the business gets and keeps the best talent within its organization. I would suggest an emphasis around the key elements of recruiting best practices to ensure that companies emerge from the economic downturn stronger than ever. Emphasize alignment of employer brand, diligent sourcing to support corporate fit and expectation alignment during onboarding to help executives contribute to the business sooner. The fundamentals of recruiting do not change as the economy softens—we are all just challenged with staying on course in this period of uncertainty.

Sue Schaefer and Sue Wyman
Posted: 01/26/2009