It's not a time to cut staff development

Thursday 11th December 2008 00:00

I was at an event last week and - like so many over the past month - it was hijacked by talk of economic doom and gloom.

"I'm about to have to lose 20% of my staff - staff I care about - and what's worse, if I don't let the 20% go now, 100% might have to go in a few months' time," said one attendee. "I really can't think right now about talent management."

And, of course, that's natural. It's not pleasant out there at the moment, and people are scared. For many, survival is becoming the name of the game.

But it's now more important than ever to make sure that the people that you are retaining and relying on are engaged, motivated and highly productive.

They not only need to ensure that you ride out the storm by continuing with their existing role, they will probably also have to rise to the occasion and stretch further to cover lost colleagues. Then, when all is said and done, they will be the ones to pitch in as the economy recovers.

So, my question is: "Can we afford to not think about talent management at the moment?"

This will no doubt be a difficult time for our industry, as it will for others. However, it might also be an opportunity to get back to basics and rediscover some of the skills and techniques that have fallen by the wayside in year after year of boom.

More of an onus will be placed on individual managers to get the best out of their teams. At the same time, less money might be available in training budgets for courses and classroom learning.

We have to remember that we have done this before, and we can do it again. We need to encourage managers to take talent under their wing and share everything that they know.

When you ask most people about their careers and their most important influences, it is very rarely a course or training session that is credited. More often than not it's a person: someone who took an interest and took the time to invest in their learning and development. So let's make sure that the next generation of leaders and managers get the same opportunity. It doesn't cost much.

With less money available for courses and classroom learning during a recession, individual managers will be called on to pass on their knowledge and get the best out of their teams





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