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How you manage talent spells the difference between success and failure. To gain a competitive edge, leaders must be prepared to address shifting economic, social and demographic trends that impact workforce performance. Stay informed with research, insights and advice from our leading industry experts. The world of work is changing. Is your company ready?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cutting Back on Cutbacks

For the past couple of years, organizations have cut costs and laid off staff. Most organizations have very little, if anything, left to cut. After two years of widespread downsizings most companies foresee few or no staff cutbacks in the year ahead. We recently surveyed more than 700 firms across the U.S. and learned that just five percent of firms nationally anticipate significant cutbacks or restructurings.

While it is anticipated that organizations will likely continue to be conservative with cash, many leaders are shifting from crisis mode to a growth agenda. According to research by Gartner, some 42% of CEOs are focusing more on revenue growth than cost control and 29% expect this to be the prime focus for 2011, according to Gartner research. In 2009, this research reflected CEOs’ focus on restructuring, layoffs, consolidation, write-offs and rebuilding trust.

So the road ahead will be one focused on growth. Many organization’s are at a point where they need to make a greater investment in talent to ensure strategic viability. An organization’s people are, in the end, the only differentiator that may be sustained. And a coherent strategy around talent will be needed to deliver on increasingly aggressive business goals. Businesses across the board have successfully taken costs out of their structure through a variety of methods. The challenge is rebuilding and growing the business with the talent left after the wake of cost cutting efforts.

Engagement and motivation levels are not the only challenges firms face when re-focusing the business on the future. The skill sets and abilities of the remaining workforce may or may not be what is needed to take the business forward. Organizations that evaluate what the “new normal” looks like – and how the mindsets, skills sets, motivations and abilities of the workforce need to be developed, adapted and changed to meet the future – dramatically increase their the chances of success.

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