Talent management after the economic crisis
By: Walter V. Martínez
Partner - Consulting Services
In the last months we have heard that the United States and many countries in Latin America are already in the process of a clear, albeit slow, recovery from the financial crisis that hit us all as of 2008. There is still great uncertainty regarding what will be the effects and for how long we will be feeling those effects. There are those who are expecting a V effect, others a U effect, and those who are least optimistic expect an L effect. Regardless, the fact is that this is not the first crisis we have had to deal with and surely it will not be the last. However, as with any difficult circumstances in life, how long it lasts will depend on how we propose and work to get out of it.
As I have commented in previous articles, in these times the most important thing a company can do is establish how to take care of its most valuable asset: its HUMAN CAPITAL. Companies that faced the crisis hand in hand with their best talent have been less impacted to the extent that the creativity, energy and resolve of their people have been focused on leveraging the opportunities that any crisis presents and in finding the path to success.
In light of the need to cut costs and be cautious, many companies made the first decision that comes to mind when faced with this situation: lay-off personnel. Unfortunately, by implementing such measures, many of these companies lost valuable talent and did not assess other options such as what new opportunities were arising based on the situation at hand or what options they had based on the structure and talent available at their company. Of course, much of this valuable talent was attracted to and hired by the competition. Moreover, some of this talent even became entrepreneurs and new competitors in the market.
In this stage there are new priorities in human resource management processes and activities that require special attention, mainly in everything related to efficiency and development of capabilities and competencies of the talent the company decided to retain.
Flexibility is a necessary condition for adapting to change and organizational flexibility implies having flexible people. In addition, it is important to encourage and promote enterprising activities in the organization, to know which are the distinctive capabilities of the company, to innovate in order to take advantage of new opportunities, and to sustain basic activities for keeping the business productive (training, databases for future candidates, etc.).