We’ve talked a lot about job loss. With U.S. companies slashing nearly 600,000 jobs in January, it has been top of mind for most of us. Here’s the upside in what is an otherwise very dismal situation. Layoffs can give a company the opportunity to cull its lowest performers, resulting in a leaner, more competitive organization. Those companies with a strong talent management program, who really know who the top performers and key employees are and which positions are most critical to the organization’s future success, will emerge from the recession on top. After losing, let’s say, the bottom 10% from their organization they’ll replace them with top talent that has become available when they begin to hire again. The net effect will be that the firms that have a strong grasp of strategic talent management will emerge from the recession miles ahead of those who don’t. This is HR’s time to shine if they’re up to the task.
Is leadership development worth fighting for in a down economy? That’s a question human resources professionals and businesses should be asking themselves right now. Often travel and training are the first budget items to get slashed when a company experiences a difficult patch. In fact, a recent study showed that 23% of companies cut their training budget in 2008, with another 18% planning to do so this year. But can a company afford to sacrifice tomorrow’s leaders because of today’s economy? I’d argue strongly that a company must continually invest in its leaders and that the costs associated with not doing so, while often difficult to measure, are too great. One thing to consider might include paring the group of trainees down so that you’re investing the same amount in each future leader, but fewer of them. Another might be to start (or expand if you already have one in place) your internal mentoring program. It can often be much more cost effective to focus on existing leaders within the organization to provide the training.
OK, here’s my rant of the day. How can Congress even be considering amendments to the stimulus bill that would require any business which receives stimulus funds to enroll in E-Verify? Here’s a system, with a nearly 10% error rate, that the government admits is not sufficiently accurate. It’s also a system that many have speculated will not be able to handle the more than 165,000 federal contractors that will soon be required to use it. Now Congress is thinking about piling on some more? It doesn’t make sense.
Dan Oswald, is president and publisher of M. Lee Smith Publishers, which produces the Employment Law Post and HRhero.com as well as many online and print products and live events with information from experienced employment law attorneys in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, to help human resources and business professionals comply with state and federal employment laws.