If your company needs to reduce costs, you don’t have to abandon your mid- to long-term plans. With the right talent strategies, you can prepare for growth, even when budgets are tight.
In a recent LinkedIn Live, Alan Guarino, Vice Chairman of Korn Ferry’s CEO and Board Services practice, shared insights that leaders can use to help their organizations continue with growth plans during a downturn.
Reduce overhead with interims
When leaders or senior members of your team leave or you need additional expertise for specific projects, one way to temporarily reduce overhead is with interim specialists. These professionals bring years of experience with them and can help you bridge a gap without all of the costs associated with a full employee.
Companies going through an economic downturn or dealing with smaller budgets “need a combination of full-time committed employees on the payroll and as part of your fixed overhead, plus judicious use of interim staffing,” Guarino says.
The same is true for less mission-critical positions, too, where temporary staff or freelancers can step in to provide cover as you assess your longer-term talent needs. This can be particularly crucial when planning for growth as the skills you might need in a few months or a year could be significantly different than those you need now.
This essentially means you’re renting services from experts, consultants, or critical partners within functions such as HR, finance, or technology, in order to complement in-house teams. Guarino says that this blended approach can inject new skills and energy to drive transformation, while keeping total overhead costs down.
Hold onto skills
When it comes to employee retention during a budget crunch, if you’re planning for growth, you need to shift your thinking. The most critical talent to focus your best retention strategies on will be those who have in-demand skills for your growth plans.
You need to align your organizational strategy to your growth plans to understand where to focus limited resources. Think carefully about the skills you’ll need tomorrow, from tech to leadership, and not just those you use today. You can often upskill or reskill existing staff at a much lower cost than hiring new team members, so try to map out in your talent pool the key people with the potential to learn the skills you’ll need to grow.
Once you’ve identified them, look at your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and make sure you communicate effectively with them their potential for personal growth and development, as well as any rewards you can offer. This can help you retain those people who will be critical to your growth when you can’t offer them an increased salary due to current budget restrictions.
“Companies are customizing and focusing on rewards to retain top performers or skill sets in short supply,” notes Don Lowman, leader of Korn Ferry’s Global Total Rewards practice.