When thinking about HR and leadership development, one must consider that the talent environment in 2016 is radically different than in was during the recession of 2008–2009. In 2008, organizations often had too many layers. The recession was severe and required mass layoffs. The best organizations responded by shifting the bell curve of employee performance at their organizations sharply to the right. Our advice at the time was to protect high-potential employees (HIPOs), aggressively manage out low performers and the disengaged, and get more out of teams. Those who followed this advice emerged from the recession with a strong, high-performing, and engaged workforce—a much better workforce, truth be told, than they had going in.
In 2016, on the other hand, organizations are lean (especially so far into an economic expansion); employees have been in their roles 30% longer globally than they did just a few years ago; employees’ skills are rapidly eroding in the face of market change; and workers are struggling in new, complex, and interconnected organizations. If a recession comes this year, we are unlikely to see the kind of mass layoffs seen back in 2008 because we are not on the verge of a financial crisis, and a lot of organizations would not survive that level of downsizing this time around.
To learn more about how the changing talent environment can improve HR and leadership development plans, download a copy of our white paper "Priorities for Advancing HR Function" today.