Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recent Survey Results: Leader’s No Longer Concerned About Talent Management

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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dan,

Very interesting post,in the year 1954 if I am correct Prof Peter Ducker wrote the famous "The Practice Of Management", where he wrote, the purpose of a business is to create customers.

If you pick up any text book of economics even in high school level it say that "Demand is the mother of production".

Customers and demand goes hand in hand , now during the time of recession you don't have the demand , so sales don't happen , cash to cash cycle slows down even stops.

At this point management is in a real catch 22 situation , you can't afford to throw your tested and trusted people by blaming them ,nor you can carry them as things are are tight and if you carry them you get into deeper trouble.

As the world has got global things
are more complex now, every countries government initiatives are very important,proactive economic engineering will help a lot.

These are temporary phenomenon we have optimism it won't last long,but 2009 will be a tough your
as The President of the World Bank
Mr Robert Zeollick said in a recent interview with Financial Times, U.K.

With Warm Regards,

Debashis Bramha.

Dan McCarthy said...

Debashish -
Thanks for your comments!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that in stressful times, strategy can so easily go with the wind, while people attend to the urgent but not necessarily strategic?

You can't blame them too much, for fear and panic can cause anyone to behave differently at times.

But the winners when all this is done will be those that did not stray from their basic strategy.

Jo Ellen

Mary Jo Asmus, President, Aspire Collaborative Services LLC said...

The results of the survey are unsettling at best, and perhaps a reminder that business continues to be focused on the short term. I understand that, especially now.

However, I do know of a few organizations who are looking out over the long term and realizing that they will be better positioned when the good times come if they continue to invest in talent management.

I guess these few weren't the ones who responded to this survey. The survey-takers might want to keep an eye on their competitors, who understand the importance of talent management to their future. They are positioning themselves to be fierce rivals in the marketplace when economic recovery happens.

Anonymous said...

Dan, thank you for sharing the results of this survey, and especially for your evaluation.

You are absolutely correct that turning a blind eye to talent management will not only hurt, but possibly destroy companies when the economy turns upward. I feel like screaming "it's the people stupid!" (but that would not be polite).

Companies that understand and develop their people into leaders will win in the next upturn. -Michael

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right, Dan, that in the end, moreso in our knowledge economy, people and their knowledge and relationships are the font of sustainable competitive advantage. I suspect, though that's what's happening here is a form of triage. The execs who were polled are trying to make sure the patient lives, figuring that if they do that, there will be time for a fitness program later.