Your Talent Strategy in an Economic Downturn

Cast your mind back to January of this year. That may seem like a world apart from where we find ourselves now, but you may remember that many organisations were allocating substantial time and budget to engaging with key talent. They were focused on both motivating and retaining employees already working within their company and also on raising awareness of their organisation as an employer of choice. Ironically, one of the major issues many businesses grappled with was whether or not remote working was ‘for them’. It turns out it was.


Now, in July 2020, as we embark on what may be the biggest economic downturn many of us have seen and unemployment is overall substantially higher, it may seem tempting to prioritise your efforts (and your cash) elsewhere. After all, higher unemployment means that there will be a surge of talent queuing up to work for your company, and those who work there certainly wouldn’t put themselves in the precarious position of leaving, would they? Unfortunately this is not the case. During a recession organisations must work just as hard, if not harder to impress key talent.


One of the main reasons for this is that high-quality candidates will never be without a home for their skills. They also rarely need to look for the next opportunity. They have their next employer in mind before they have even considered leaving their current one. During times of economic recession, you need these people more than ever. You may have fewer numbers in your headcount so those who you do employ need to be packing a punch.


You should also consider your industry in isolation. Many industries have experienced growth during this recent time of crisis. Sectors such as Financial Services and Software Engineering may even need to expand their headcount significantly. Therefore, the talent shortage will seem more glaring than ever.


The good news is that many organisations will batten down the hatches on their talent pipeline and strategy, leaving the playing field open for you. This means that you can achieve a much higher talent market share by employing fewer, more effective strategies to raise awareness of your brand. You will also be able to yield much higher retention rates by clearly communicating to your people why you are the perfect employer for them.


So where should you start? You can begin by reviewing your current position within the marketplace. Are you an employer of choice for graduates and experienced hires in your industry? You may also want to look internally to discover if your key team members are content with their role and operating a high level of productivity.


Talent can be a key cost-saving area for your organisation during this time. If you can master the art of increasing your high-quality applicants per hire, boosting productivity among those who already work within your organisation and reduce the number of employees seeking greener pastures you will reduce your expenses hugely. You will also increase output and as a result experience higher client satisfaction and more repeat business.


It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?


If you have any questions about this article or simply want to polish your talent pipeline and strategy, please feel free to email me at, I will be happy to help!