Winning Talent Management Strategies During Global Downturn

Winning Talent Management Strategies During Global Downturn
Among the many factors that architect the specific challenges and responses of particular organizations to demanding times especially global downturn, one of the most imperative is global talent management.

The Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) Model by Arnold Bakker and Evangelia Demerouti has always fascinated me. People will be engaged when Job Demands i.e., an emotionally, mentally, or physically demanding job, job complexity, and work pressure are compensated with a similar (or higher) level of Job Resources i.e., autonomy, performance feedback, social support, coaching, relevant knowledge. 

This has always nourished my thinking cap and I often tend to illustrate its application in Talent Management, especially in the context of a turbulent and dynamic environment. Among the many factors that architect the specific challenges and responses of particular organizations to demanding times especially global downturn, one of the most imperative is global talent management.

And there are numerous elements that revolve around designing the winning strategy which include globalization, changing demographics, matching the demand and supply of people with specific competencies, employer brand, crisis communication, building culture, sense of purpose, and many more. A few of the things that come to my mind have been cited below.

Understanding Organization Linkages and Cardinal Priorities

In times of global downturn, there definitely arises a need to rethink the approach to talent management and one of the most important aspects of this is comprehending strategic priorities and imperative goals. These could range from what the customer is focusing on, what skills are we revisiting, and how the physical environment, technology, and culture are changing.

The approach clearly needs a paradigm shift from “one program fits all” to customizing programs to specific employee segments. It is important to come together as a team to establish goals, objectives, and KPIs and share those goals with everyone in the company. This will multiply the commitment quotient of employees and they will be more engaged in hitting milestones, and understand where they fit in and how they contribute to the company’s goals.

Collective Sense of Purpose

It is very important that during such times, there exists a collective sense of purpose. This becomes an astounding differentiator in creating a winning model of talent management.

The eye-opener here is that an organization’s success during the downturn is totally dependent on people’s ability to innovate and move forward, reinvent and revitalize, provide superior customer service, and remain steadfast and dedicated even during tough times. And all this is possible if we build a collective sense of purpose and use it to weather the storm.

Doubling down on architecting Culture 

Culture does not exist within walls; it exists within people. So, wherever people are, one thing is certain; the messaging on dignity and psychological safety in a disrupted world should be clear and cascade from the top.

We need to reach out to people more often to gauge sentiment, listen to learn about what employees need, and prioritize actions to support employees in the most impactful and cost-effective way.

Remember that Retention still matters

It is understood that retention might not be an organization’s concern during the downturn, since employees are less likely to switch jobs during a recession. But what is important here is that companies should not invest less in developing their key critical talent.

Continue investing in feedback, goal setting, career development, succession planning, and nourish the talent that we already have. This will help achieve company goals and enable employees to serve as brand ambassadors for people outside the organization.

Keep rewarding high performers

We should not forget to reward high performers even during a downturn. Shout out to people who face the tide, perform exceptionally, and rise to the occasion even during turbulent times.

If someone increases productivity is cost-conscious, solves customer problems in a radical fashion, manages projects aggressively, then reward them and recognizes them. Such an approach will go a long way in sustaining a culture that will help survive a downturn.

Harmonizing Employee and Customer experience

Juxtaposing both and mapping the experience of employees with the customer journey is of utmost importance in such times. End customer alignment is critical so that focus does not shift from exceeding customer expectations even in these times.

The customer needs to be treated as a major stakeholder in the workforce strategy and it is advisable to focus on rewards driven by customer metrics. This will connect employees to the company’s growth story, improve their performance and align with EVP and CX with focused delivery of results.

Many firms adopt differentiating strategies during such times; an international professional services firm coined an emerging leader programme to assess potential leaders who rise during the crisis, and a major provider of holidays focused investment in developing front-line managers and leaders during crisis because it found that was where talent management was delivering the most value.

A technology company reinvested in its core and spent even more time with customers. A global tech giant did not eliminate its employee development programs during downturn.

Leaders, HR, line managers, and talent managers need to manage their people with an eye for the future to ensure they have the skill sets imperative for the organization tomorrow, safeguard the intellectual capital, retain their critical talent, and develop it to meet the ambitious demands once the downturn ends.


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