Business & Talent. Aligned.

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?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Prevailing Winds of “Cautious Optimism”

Do you feel like some days you are taking one step forward and two step backwards? For every economic prognosticator, there seems to be equal parts optimism and pessimism, and the stock market follows suit. Well, that’s because many leaders seem to be approaching this year with cautious optimism. In fact, recent research we conducted told us that 58% of senior leaders believe this year will be one of caution with limited hiring and renewed investment in talent development.

Like most people, employers aren’t sure what to expect in the year ahead. So it’s not surprising the survey findings reflect this uncertainty with a majority hedging their bets and expressing caution. The rest of the respondents seem fairly evenly divided between optimists and pessimists, with some 22% believing it will be a year of growth and recovery marked by increased hiring and new talent development initiatives and a further 16% believing it will be similar to 2010 with sluggish hiring and postponed HR initiatives. Very few (3%), however, anticipate more cutbacks and restructurings.

There is at least one positive sign of corporate confidence. Four out of five employers plan to renew or step up their investment in developing talent, a hopeful sign organizations are shifting their 2011 focus from cost-containment to growth.

And the source of real growth comes down to the quality of the talent in your organization. Talent, and the unique culture it creates, is the main source of competitive advantage and is becoming the only real source of sustainable differentiation. Having a solid, relevant talent strategy is the greatest enabler to delivering on business goals.

Executing strategic initiatives and delivering on near term bottom-line business goals are absolutely dependent upon a firm’s ability to manage talent better than their competition does. Aligning talent with business goals, through an integrated talent management strategy, is imperative to delivering on growth objectives.

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