Back to Latest Posts

What are companies saying about their business outlook?

(a bit of an economic survey AND talent management forecast)

As mentioned at the end of the last Blog post, my peers (search firm owners from around the country) and I asked a few clients questions about the overall business climate.  Here, in very brief summary form, are some of the more critical answers/themes:

The answer to the first question really summarized the theme of all the answers:

  • All of the companies surveyed, regardless of industry, size and structure, were either very optimistic or somewhat optimistic about their outlook for the year.
With this rather positive answer as our base, our next question was about challenges that businesses will be facing this year (and beyond).  The answers were telling - four items were consistently mentioned and three of those items involved talent:
  • Finding the right talent
  • Staff retention
  • Succession planning
  • Sustaining growth

Companies are taking a more strategic view

While we never heard companies mention that the recession is over or that business is back to normal, they were focused on strategic growth and investment, something that was very different than even one year ago.  Obviously as search firms, our questions were clustered about talent and talent needs.  The answers were clustered as well.  The people we talked with - heads of human resources and company executives (presidents and operations-focused executives) are talking planning:
  • Business planning
  • Succession planning
  • Retirement planning
The term War for Talent was mentioned more than once - and not by us.  Companies are aggressively looking at long-term positioning and mentioned two areas that will be key for future leaders:
  • Candidates need to have a more global view of business - their specific industry, general business trends and how to compete globally
  • Candidates need to understand business, not just their own functional area
This was just the beginning.  Again as mentioned on May 1st, we will continue to report on some of our findings and conference learnings.  For now, I can say that talent management will be at the forefront of company planning.  Stay tuned . . . . . .