Striking the Right Balance Between Reducing Headcount and Workforce Costs While Focusing on Talent

As the economic downturn continues, executives around the globe are scrutinizing business strategies and looking for ways to cut costs and reduce overall staffing levels, while ensuring that high-performing employees and other critical contributors within the company feel supported and motivated. Deloitte outlines key findings from extensive one-on-one interviews and polling of top business leaders from around the world, revealing their strategies for managing today's most pressing talent issues.

"Managing business and talent challenges today is a high wire balancing act," says Jeff Schwartz, principal, human capital, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Executives are seeking to find the right balance between reducing headcount and workforce costs and focusing on strategic talent issues at the same time."

Here are some key findings and insights around ways talent is being managed in these difficult economic conditions:

-CEOs are playing a greater role in talent management - Two-thirds of the interviewed executives mentioned that their CEO is connecting more with employees around the globe - particularly those with high potential.

-While companies are focused on reducing costs and headcount, they are making unexpected moves - For example, 52 percent of the executives surveyed report their company plans to restructure jobs to lower costs and increase efficiency. In addition, 40 percent of polled executives report they will try to attract more critical talent with hard-to-find skills, while 30 percent report they are looking to bring on more critical leaders.

-Important workforce analytical tools are being left in the toolbox - In an environment where companies are continually rebalancing workforces to match difficult times, restructuring jobs to cut costs and increase efficiency and redeploying employees to make the most of current talent, 66 percent of polled executives acknowledge that workforce planning is not being integrated with their annual business planning, their contingency planning or even being updated as a result of the changing economic conditions.

Innovative practices are being implemented to address talent challenges - More than 25 percent of the executives shared that they will increase innovative work practices, such as the use of flexible work schedules through measures like telecommuting and reduced work weeks to engage and retain key talent.
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