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Post-Recession Management Strategies: Don’t Look for New Talent Until You Know What Hidden Talents Already Exist on Your Team
A look at strategies related to management and employee relations that can help companies prepare for the post-recession economy

By DeAnna Stephens Baker
Date Posted: 8/1/2010

As the United States comes out of one of the worst recessions in decades, many companies may be finding themselves in a state of complacency, wondering why they should bother with improvements when over the past few months to a year they have barely been holding on. However, it is important for companies that are going to come out ahead to think about the future and use this time to focus on preparing for the post-recession economy.

            With the end of the recession in sight, employees will once again have the luxury of looking for new jobs that are more satisfying, making it more important than ever for companies to focus on utilizing the skills and talents already present in their workforce and help boost employee job satisfaction.

Manage Your Talent

            It is important to remember that each employee is valuable for the unique contributions they can bring to the company. Gallup Consulting has a strength-based development program that focuses on finding the inherent strengths of individuals and explaining how they can best use them in their professional lives and interpersonal relationships. StrengthsFinder, which focuses on how companies can build on their employees’ natural talents, is a great example of how companies should look for new talent – by finding the untapped talent already on the payroll. Assessments that reveal personality types or work-related strengths can be helpful in doing this, and often do not take very much time. Consider having employees take a personality, skills or strength survey. Many reputable ones, such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, can be found for free online.

            Not only could this be beneficial in terms of production, quality and labor costs, but it could also play a large role in retaining staff as new jobs start to open up again. During the recession this was not a big concern for many companies. However, part of a recovery is the availability of more jobs, giving employees new options - and forward thinking companies the incentive to ensure that they can give their employees a reason to stay put and give their best. Research has shown that employees that are satisfied in their job are more productive and more likely to stay in their current job. By giving employees tasks that utilize their natural tendencies you will increase their satisfaction with their work and their job. Additionally, using people in their strengths will make your company stronger and will help you achieve success in your field.

Evaluate Your Teams

            This time of transitioning to a new economy may require some changes in how a company operates. Evaluating any teams or groups that work together is an important part of this. Once you have a handle on your employee’s strengths and skills, you will be able to look at how that affects your overall staff dynamic. No matter which assessments you choose, make sure you read through the explanations of each type and how they relate to others. Understanding how your employees relate to others can help you form teams that will work well together. With this in mind, take a look at teams within your company and determine if each member is contributing talents or skills to that team or if their abilities would be better used in another position.

            Reengineering the staff of a company should not be done haphazardly or for its own sake. Rather, it should be done in a way that more fully utilizes the abilities of existing staff and results in more efficient, dedicated and satisfied employees. Teams that are successful can be identified by those with clear goals, defined roles for each member, open and clear communication, balanced participation by all members, a positive atmosphere and cooperative relationships. When deciding which employees will be working together in a team-like setting, selecting a diverse group may be the best answer. Recognize and use the expertise and skills that each member brings to the team. Strive for diversity, not just in gender or race, but in experience, thought patterns and styles.

Build and Maintain Trust

            Many people do not like change. Even fewer like uncertainty. But right now, the only certain thing about the economy is that there is going to be some change. In the midst of change, employees will often get nervous, wondering what it will mean for them and their job security. During this time, make a point of building trust and ownership of tasks within the company. Make a point of being accessible to employees with questions and honest about what future direction the company may take. Above all, be dependable and trustworthy. A climate of trust and openness is essential to a team being truly successful and plays a large role in employees’ job satisfaction.

            If you choose to rearrange teams or work groups, trust is going to be imperative. As they take on new roles, workers must be comfortable enough to take risks, be creative and make mistakes. Build this climate of trust by celebrating successes and learning from mistakes. Also, let your employees know that you trust them. If they feel like they have ownership of a task or area, they will be more likely to feel that their contribution makes a difference to the overall company. Encourage team spirit by helping employees be more engaged in their roles as part of the company. Provide a forum for giving and receiving constructive feedback. For example, you could have employees complete self-evaluations on a regular basis. Creating a sense of teamwork and ownership of a project can go far beyond creating happier lunch breaks. Research has shown that when employees feel like their contributions are important to a task, that they take pride in their work and work harder.

Provide More Training

            The opportunity for advancement or further training is one of the top indicators of job satisfaction. For this reason, providing the chance for employees to further their training serves the double purpose of maintaining a contented workforce and supplying yourself with a more educated one. Make a point of giving employees regular opportunities to learn new skills or information. This can be as simple as on the job training on any piece of machinery or workstation. But it can be taken a step further by sending them to an outside seminar or workshop, and paying them for their time. These can be found through local associations, extension offices or universities. Or, you can also check the calendar of events every month in the Pallet Enterprise for information on events like these. 

            The benefits of cross training for a company is coverage of duties during vacation or sick leave by the regular workers in a given area, as well as the convenience of being able to pull more workers into a given area if needed in an emergency.

            When offering on-the-job training, it is important to remember that everyone learns in their own way. Effective training should be provided in a format that helps the person being trained understand it completely. The three main learning styles are auditory – those who learn by hearing, visual – those who learn by seeing, and kinesthetic – those who learn by touching or doing. When training in group setting, include training that covers all of the learning styles. If instructing an individual, ask how they learn best and tailor the presentation to fit the employee’s learning style.

            Many things that are good for your employees are also good for your company. Understanding your employees’ strengths and weaknesses within the workplace is the beginning of being able to tap their greatest potential. By allowing them to utilize areas they already have strengths in, they will be able to achieve more on a daily basis. As you build trust between your employees, they will be able to try new things and give new ideas. And as you give them further training and experience, you will give them a wider skill set. That’s good for them and for your company.

Online Resources

These Web sites can help you test strengths and maximize the use of your personal while achieving the best team mix.

Myers-Briggs Type Tests (Free)



Jung Personality Test (Free)


Keirsey Temperament Sorter

(Some free, some paid)


StrengthsFinder (Paid Only)






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