Recent CIPD surveys have indicated the signs of a recovery in recruitment activity, with more companies planning to hire staff than to cut workers. This is to be welcomed.
The recession and, with it, redundancies continue to leave big holes in companies, often in the difficult-to-fill category, and this can hinder recovery and further growth.
This may be a good time for companies to reflect on who they have and how to keep them before pushing the button on external recruitment. Although recruitment is often about filling gaps in the workforce at critical points in the business cycle, it is often only planned for that recruitment campaign and not as part of a long-term strategy.
What is needed is a strategy for a recessionary climate that involves making talent management within the company a priority. This will involve not only thinking about what the business wants to achieve, but most importantly how to make this happen- the classic workforce planning exercise.
Mapping out the skills and capabilities that are needed to win business will be an absolute priority. This naturally leads onto working out whether you have the right personnel with the right skills in the right place.
Tracking down the talent in your business, unearthing what people can do and unleashing their creative, often hidden, talents can be just a matter of talking to, engaging with and motivating people.
Most companies have this in their kitbag – appraisals, internal know-how, maybe even training and development initiatives such as coaching and mentoring. If line managers are motivated to understand and support skills development, these tools can be put to work to increase internal bench strength.
This is talent management of the many, unlike the traditional view of talent management as an activity reserved for individuals with specialist skills or knowledge, or for high fliers.
The payback of using a talent management approach to recruitment issues can include a more engaged workforce, with improved succession planning and lower recruitment costs. Encouraging people to multi-skill and to coach and mentor others helps knowledge and skills circulate around the business. It can also help create a more diverse culture and facilitate a learning organisation.
EEF has a long history of helping companies develop and strengthen their internal resources – everything from training managers in specific skills to fostering team capabilities. Making the most of what you have and holding onto it will be the battleground for the future – this is the time to come prepared.