PULSE SURVEY REPORT: MANAGING TALENT IN TOUGH TIMES
A TIPPING POINT FOR TALENT MANAGEMENT?
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As the global economy moves toward recovery, companies face some tough challenges and complex choices about how best to retool for growth. In the year since the ﬁnancial markets collapsed, most organizations have streamlined, downsized and restructured to varying degrees, trying to stay on an even keel until the economy stabilized. The well-worn phrase “lean and mean” took on particular resonance — a badge of honour for many in reacting swiftly to market conditions. Now, however, a different set of questions are emerging. Have organizations cut too far too fast — beyond “fat” and into “muscle”? If so, have they inadvertently slowed a fast return to growth? How easily can they correct course and close emerging gaps in capacity and capability? Are we on the brink of a new round of “talent wars”?
To begin exploring these issues, we recently surveyed over 400 HR and business executives across a broad range of midsize and large companies in the U.S. and Canada on emerging talent management priorities and strategies. We wanted to understand how organizations are deﬁning talent and talent management, what activities they’re focusing on, how effective they think their processes are, and the degree of alignment between their talent management approach and their overall strategic goals. (See page 15 for more details about this study.) Overall, we found that companies are inching toward a tipping point in how they deal with talent. Both our data and our experience conﬁrm that organizations have awakened to the importance of having skilled and engaged people at all levels delivering results. Companies know that high performers, high potentials and pivotal talent are a critical resource (and source of competitive advantage) to which both business and HR leaders need to pay special attention. And they’ve made efforts over the last decade to bring