Personnel Decisions International, a leading talent management consulting, training, and research firm, recently asked leaders around the world to provide feedback on their top business strategies during these tough economic times. The study was conducted from December 2008 to January 2009.
More than 500 leaders responded—67 percent were HR leaders and 51 percent were director level or above; 79 percent of respondents were from for-profit businesses and more than 50 percent were from companies with more than 5,000 employees. The survey included 63 percent of respondents from North America, 26 percent from Europe, 9 percent from Asia-Pacific, and 2 percent from other regions.
I was one of the survey participants and was provided a summary of the findings.
It's no surprise that global leaders raked financial pressures to cut costs (82.95%) and rapid market decline (54.36%) as their toughest business challenges.
Unfortunately, "Loss of leaders in key areas or insufficient talent to quickly adapt to change" (5.30%) fell to the bottom of the list.
The latest findings are in stark contrast to a 2006–2008 study conducted by PDI, in which company leaders said top-line growth and talent management were their key issues.
I can understand the how the pressures of crisis management can distract leaders from the more strategic, but less urgent issue of talent management. When the house is burning, it's not the time to be replacing the siding.
But to go from second to last place in only a year? Wow, is the war for talent over? Did I miss the announcement?
PDI suggests, and I strongly agree, that leaders need to be careful they don't go completely to sleep and wake up in worse shape than they were before the downturn. The companies that continue to pay attention to hiring, retaining, and developing the best talent will more likely emerge stronger than their competition when the economy recovers.
A wise CEO once said, "In tough times, the strong prey on the weak". When it comes to talent, are you allowing yourself to become the prey?
Developing and retaining top-performing employees is essential in any business strategy, even—and especially—at a time of economic crisis.
To read the full summary, go here.