Topgrade Now

As we all start to raise our head from the mud of the depression, opportunity to topgrade our organizations will present itself.  The stress of the past two years has many talented folks ready to change and get a fresh start at a new company.  And, like other times in history after big downturns, many talented folks have found themselves unemployed or underemployed by no fault of their own.

Jeff Schwartz offers great insight into these opportunities in his post to Knowledge@Wharton in the last few days.

Excerpts follow, or you can read the full posting at the link above.

Although many business leaders are not convinced


that the worst of the global economic crisis is over, there is no better time than the present  for top executives to ramp up their recruiting of top talent, launch new in-house programs  for training future leaders, and map out a formal succession plan covering the CEO or other top officials. These are among the key findings of a massive, year-long study of approximately 1,800 global executives by professional services giant Deloitte titled, “Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy: Where Are You on the Recovery Curve?”,  which seeks to answer some of the questions about how leadership training and development fits into economic recovery efforts.

The project, which surveyed senior executives from a cross-section of large companies around the globe, found that the firms that posted stronger performances and were more optimistic about the future were those that refused to put retaining top employees — or even hiring some of their rivals’ future stars — on the back burner.

Over time, these industry leaders began to display a measure of confidence that the world economy was turning around, although slowly. In December 2009 — when the final part of the study was released — the surveys found that 35% of executives thought the worst of the economic crisis had passed. It was the highest figure since the meltdown occurred. Despite a growing sense of optimism, however, a majority of managers continued to maintain that their top priority was managing costs and making cutbacks.

In fact, the number of executives who cited “reducing employee headcount” as their highest talent priority jumped up in the final tally. At 31%, it still ranked as a higher priority than “training and development” (29%) or “retention” (27%).

Perhaps most importantly, executives at firms that placed a greater emphasis on leadership, with ongoing programs in place and clearly identifiable procedures, also reported higher morale and greater confidence in management from the rank-and-file. Nearly 60% of the respondents that described their leadership development programs as “world-class” reported increasing employee morale, while 53% reported greater trust and confidence in corporate training.

Investments in people and leadership were missing in companies who never changed tactics and were members of that 31% concerned with reducing headcount.  Talent that survived has lost a lot of confidence in their organizations.  Now is the time to strike to find new blood and ideas for your company.

Have you called your favorite recruiting firm yet to begin tapping that vein of great talent?

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