Talent management trends in an unpredictable economy
As we move out of a global recession organisations have adopted one of three talent management strategies. Businesses can be defined by the bravura (or not) of their board’s choice of:
a) Hiring Freeze
Some companies have reacted to banks recalling debt and tightening market conditions by resorting to the path of least resistance. This manifests itself in wholesale cancelling of talent management initiatives and, in some cases, redundancies. Quite often this is accompanied by ‘stealth recruitment’ under cover of the redundancy programmes but by and large the norm is to cease all forward planning activities regarding talent.
b) Temporary suspension
Less head-in-the-sand, more ‘pause for thought’, this approach sees companies taking a pragmatic quarterly view and temporarily suspending recruitment for a short period. An alternative has been to split top roles and promote individuals to take on additional responsibility thus creating a ‘feel good’ factor internally and providing short term prospects. This however is a flawed approach which is short-term at best and results in loss of strategic input and direction which will ultimately need addressing.
c) Entrepreneurial activity
The companies who learned the lessons of the early 2000 dotcom bust and perhaps the early 90’s recession are looking to use the market conditions as an opportunity to press on and take advantage of the bargains that are to be had. Many companies are looking at innovative ways to reduce their exposure to leveraged debt by rights issue/bonds and conversion of debt to liquidity. Opportunistic M&A activity can throw up bargains for both companies and individuals who are available and looking for forward thinking businesses.
Questions for the CEO: which category is your company in? Are you happy with the make-up of your board? Could you be doing more with regards to talent management?