Inevitably, some top talent will be lost. What happens if you do lose an office MVP? In this economy, losing a key player can make or break a business, especially among small businesses.
And not every company is laying off staff. While industries such as manufacturing, real estate, construction, and travel have been hit hard by the recession, others are surviving, or even surging, in defiance of the overall economic trend. For example, industries such as biotech, green energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and certain IT sectors (those that deliver cost-savings, such as telecommuting, virtualization, etc.) are seeing increased interest and investmen
Those hiring may find a target-rich environment. The flip side: HR managers now have to wade through the largest applicant pool since World War II. It's never been easy to whittle down a pile of resumes, and today single job posting on a job board will typically result in hundreds of inbound e-mails, each with a cover letter and resume to review. It's not possible for most HR professionals to manage such an influx. And with most economists saying the economy won't improve until at least 2010, this problem won't be going away anytime soon.
Yet managers must be prepared to fill positions quickly and efficiently, or risk eroding the company's agility and competitiveness. One solution involves tapping the power of Web 2.0. Social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, and others are useful when scouting talent. Beyond active job hunters, this is where passive job seekers are building nests. Passive seekers are employees who haven't been laid off, but fear the writing on the wall. They're also those who are cautiously wondering if something better is out there. Indeed, they could be your own MVPs.
You may also use a staffing agency, and tap the employee referral network and candidate clearing capabilities they have in place. [Disclosure: my company is in the staffing services business]. A knowledgeable staffing firm has already vetted most candidates, and can quickly attract and vet more. It should be able to present you with a short list of resumes from people who meet your requirements. As workers are rebrand themselves in hopes of leaving failing industries, a staffing agency can help determine which skill sets are transferable across industries.
For example, a former project manager might do well as an IT Developer. The agency can help you determine what skills the job requires, and find candidates you might not have otherwise considered, including those who require mininal training.
Despite an economy that's wreaking havoc on businesses worldwide, focusing on the right priorities will keep your company's foundations strong by helping you find, attract, and retain the talent you need. They'll also keep you poised for the rebound, when you're again ready to expand. What goes down will eventually come back up. Make sure you're ready when it does.
Adam Lawrence is vice president of service delivery for Yoh, a leading provider of high-impact talent and outsourcing services and a unit of Day & Zimmermann.
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