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Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy: Part Four

Leaning into the recovery


Deloitte’s September 2009 survey, “Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy: Leaning Into the Recovery,” reveals a clear divide between companies that are positioning themselves effectively for the economic recovery and those that are in danger of being left behind. While hunkering down may help a company survive the recession, we believe it represents a losing strategy for companies that want to excel during changing times and the economic recovery and that companies that remain in a defensive posture risk losing the increasingly critical fight for talent.

When asked which strategic issues rank highest on the management agenda, executives who participated in the September survey ranked “cutting and managing costs” first, just as they had in each of the three previous surveys. However, despite a significant focus on cutting costs, many of these executives indicated their companies are gearing up to go on a “talent offensive.” Looking ahead to the future, the strategic shift among executives could become even more pronounced.

Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy

The results of our survey revealed the following key findings:

  • The hints of economic optimism that first appeared in our May survey, reported in “Clearing the Hurdles to Recovery,” have grown considerably (see accompanying chart).
  • Many companies represented in the survey are implementing strategies to avoid a resume tsunami by going on the offensive to retain today’s key employees and train the next generation of leaders.
  • While nearly all companies represented in the survey recognize the importance of innovation, few of them appear to have talent plans in place to drive innovation in their businesses.
  • There are clear and compelling differences between talent and innovation leaders and talent and innovation laggards that participated in the survey.

In this fourth edition of Deloitte’s longitudinal study of talent trends and strategies, 325 international executives participated in the survey conducted by Forbes Insights on behalf of Deloitte. The fifth edition in Deloitte’s longitudinal survey will be published in January 2010, completing a year-long study tracking talent trends and attitudes from the depths of the recession through the emerging economic recovery.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

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