Retention and Talent Management Following a Downturn

West Perth, Australia (PressExposure) December 07, 2009 -- A shift is underway, however, because organisational reactions to the downturn have had major unintended consequences for the relationship between organisations and their employees from both a brand and talent management perspective.

It’s important to recognise that the decisions you make in regards to talent management this year have far reaching consequences, often setting the tone for the relationship with potential employees for years to come. Basically, the only thing more worrisome than the prospect of too much change is too little change, especially in a downturn where many competitors are chasing too few customers and dollars.

Talent Management and Development

When looking at the challenges employers faced as a result of reducing employment costs in an effort to increase competitiveness and profitability, there’s no doubt that many decided to sideline Talent Management programmes and Leadership & Development training. Visionary companies, on the other hand, carefully reassessed their talent management strategy to ensure their biggest asset, their team, was being used as effectively as possible.

By now, we know that neglecting talent in a downturn has a significant negative impact over the longer term. Given the past knee-jerk reactions from CEO’s and Finance Managers when faced with gloomy outlooks (i.e. slashing jobs, mothballed training and talent management programs) these actions having rippling effects. Thankfully, however not all organisations repeated previous actions. Strategic companies regarded this downturn as a perfect opportunity and time to seize market share, build a stronger organisation for the future and view their talent management as a top priority. True talent management is selecting and managing key groups of employees with high potential to develop, learn and grow in the organisation.

The correct training will provide more value than it costs, and in terms of talent development during economic instability, the following guidelines are best applied:

* Who would benefit most from training or development activity? * What are some alternative methods of training and development which are readily available? * And, if we don’t train, develop and manage our teams, will they continue to be motivated, committed and stay with the company?

Employees value the ongoing development of their own skills and with talented employees this is even more so. Cutting back on training, leadership and development is likely to act as a de-motivator, reduce morale, and for some, may even prove enough reason to leave. Key staff retention is making certain that the talent you wish to hold on to are motivated, engaged and have high morale – all usually potential problem areas in times of economic instability.

Employee Engagement

Following recent periods of workforce rationalisation, instability, non-communication and cost cutting, it’s clear that current strategies to maintain and develop employee engagement are not receiving anywhere near enough attention. It’s now worth taking stock – has your organisation considered measuring its Employee Engagement? Valuable strategic insights can be derived from a simple exercise such as this.

Looking to the future and upon emerging out of this downturn, it’s quite possible, strange as this may seem, that retention of key staff could well be a much more pressing issue in year 2010, especially for the heavy industrial realms of Oil & Gas, Energy and Infrastructure. Employees lose momentum as the recession drags on and on, and they continue to do more with less. Top talent especially is at risk – if Leaders don’t build bridges to them, you’ll risk losing them as the economy improves.

Key management factors identified as important to employee engagement include how your organisation is viewed by the community in which it operates (important to staff), as well as the values that exist within your organisation, not just those corporate values by which the organisation strives to achieve.

Communication and empowerment essential

The crux of this is that the recession, cutbacks etc have damaged trust between all stakeholders of the brand. Communicating with employees must be seen as crucial, covering factors such as reward, ability to progress in terms of career, personal skills, empowerment etc. Factors such as these are often waylaid in economic downturns and the CEO must continue to communicate to rebuild this trust with the team, empowering their talents for a better chance to exit the downturn successfully with new, evolving leaders.

A recent survey* stated that 76% of respondents ranked ‘building trust among employees, customers and management, as the criteria executives most needed to develop, second only to the need to ‘guide their companies and people post-recession’. Interestingly, the least-favoured way for executives to move their organisations forward was by developing a higher media profile.

Instead, we advise company leaders to focus upon their internal brand, by inspiring, communicating with, motivating and engaging their employees. Your team knows their qualities, and with the potential and possibility to develop their skill base and competencies, they’ll naturally look for the opportunity to show their potential and shine. The CEO’s task, along with the HR team, is to support these talent management programs and employee engagement as much as possible to ensure longevity, retain existing key talent, foster innovation and ultimately the profitability of the business.

* Survey of 148 businesses, Suzanne Bates, Author of Motivate Like a CEO: Communicate Your Strategic Vision and Inspire People to Act

About The Right Group

Brand management and market research experts – The Right Group. Services include brand strategy & identity, marketing strategies, corporate branding & management training. We especially focus on the alignment between brand strategy and business strategy.

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Press Release Submitted On: December 07, 2009 at 1:03 am
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