Hat Tip: Talent Management in Tough Times

Last Updated Oct 17, 2008 9:58 AM EDT

Personnel Today's special report on talent management yields some useful insights into how other businesses manage through tough times.
  1. Up is not the only way. You don't have to climb up the corporate ladder to be a success. A transparent and systematically plotted set of career paths that every employee can see gives individuals the freedom to choose which way they want to go, when and why. Theresa McHenry claims that Microsoft has a talent development framework that capitalises on non-linear career progression and boasts a 90 per cent job satisfaction rating among its employees.
  2. Being honest will help you keep up employee morale, especially if you've had to make people redundant. And consider re-deploying people rather than cutting headcount -- it's worth checking redundancyhelp.co.uk for tips.
  3. Keep up with training as much as possible -- onsite training, at least -- and consider Tesco's idea of offering money management courses to employees.
  4. Even if your balance sheet looks solid, you may need to reassure people that you're capable of managing in a crisis. Sara Edwards, HR director at high-end retailer Liberty, advises managers to make themselves highly visible and be enthusiastic: "My team are in-store, out on the shop floor every day, talking to staff to keep everyone chipper. We need to energise the team and managers need to set the example."
  5. Edwards also joined forces with the retail director to persuade the CEO to reduce sales targets as retail demand wanes, so staff get their bonuses.
  6. She also suggests that mystery shoppers be tasked with reporting only positive feedback. But this one strikes me as a step too far -- in the spirit of honesty, it makes sense to face up to bad news rather than shy away from it.
  7. But the underlying message from Liberty is to avoid a blame culture -- approach negative feedback as a team, in the spirit of "what can we do better?"
What do you think -- is it wise to adjust sales targets and tweak feedback in the interests of employee morale?