A Guide to Leading in Times of Uncertainty

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent. The latest job numbers are not ideal and in many ways headed in a downward direction.

During a challenging economic climate, more companies realize the importance of retaining top talent. And, organizations that invest in their employees will see positive business results when things start to rebound.

The past year has been one of unprecedented uncertainty, and organizations have rapidly adapted their talent strategies to meet their company’s growth goals.

Many experts believe that we are on the brink of another economic downturn.

While it may seem daunting to plan for such an uncertain future, organizations need to prepare accordingly for a soft economy.

During Accelerate22, Betsy Summers, Principal Analyst, Future of Work at Forrester, discussed how business leaders — including those in talent acquisition — can navigate these uncertain times.

It’s natural for business leaders to be overwhelmed, but keep a balanced outlook

At the beginning of her Accelerate talk, Betsy discussed the potential economic downturn and provided a brief overview of what we see now related to TA in various companies.

“As a society, we are inundated with signals that we’re getting from the media, market, or whatever data point you’re paying attention to about what’s happening,” said Betsy. “And so it’s natural to be confused. It’s natural to look at this data and be a little frenetic about it.”

Despite the looming challenges, Betsy added it is essential to remember that despite what is on the horizon, the outcome will be all negative.

“We are still determining exactly what’s going to happen,” said Betsy. “But we know that we have the tools and resources in ourselves, our colleagues, and our organizations where we can weather any storm.”

Use internal mobility as an opportunity to use internal resources

According to Betsy, leveraging internal mobility is an essential aspect of how organizations can navigate these uncertain times successfully. In doing so, teams can also leverage internal resources and talent pools.

“We’re leveraging internal mobility,” said Betsy. “We are doing gig and project work internally, recomposing teams to prioritize critical work, and working around empty seats. Remote work is a huge benefit to maximize employee experience, but also expand different talent pools that you have available and save on some office costs as well.”

Creativity is key during these times of uncertainty

Betsy shared in her Accelerate session that creating a culture of creativity is vital during times of uncertainty. One way to enforce creativity in your strategy is to have employees get together and engage in brainstorming on ways to work together.

If you want your company to succeed during times of uncertainty, it’s important to encourage creativity in your employees, said Betsy. Brainstorming is a great way to get employees to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. When brainstorming, it’s important to create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

“People and their creativity are worth more than any type of program you’re running or even tools that you have,” said Betsy. “People and their creativity are ultimately your greatest tool to get through any kind of downturn.”

Layoffs produce a negative impact on companies

Betsy also discussed the negative impacts of layoffs — not just for those laid off, but also organizations.

She added that layoffs negatively affect companies’ bottom lines. Consider the ramifications layoffs had on one particular enterprise company Betsy highlighted in her Accelerate session:

  • The number of inventions the company in question was able to produce fell after a cut in staff.
  • Layoff “survivors” experienced lower job satisfaction.
  • There was a distinct decline in organizational commitment and job performance.

In addition, downsizing the workforce can also lead to voluntary turnover in the consecutive years following the layoffs. She recounted how companies with layoffs are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as companies that don’t have them. In some cases, layoffs speak to the failure to plan and to seek the alternative.

“Companies who have layoffs are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as companies who don’t have them because layoffs tend to speak to failure to plan ahead,” said Betsy.

There are certain instances where layoffs speak to the failure to plan and to seek the alternative.

Listen to the keynote talk to learn more

By utilizing a guide during these times of uncertainty, organizations can create a structured plan to develop strategies for a potential economic downturn.

It includes advice from developing creative strategies, to implementing internal mobility.
But, most importantly, it provides a framework for thinking about and planning for an uncertain future concerning your team.

Watch our Accelerate 2022 on demand to take the first step towards preparing your organization for the future. So don’t wait – watch it today and start planning for a bright future.

Learn more about how we can help you lead your team in uncertain times by scheduling a demo today.

Further reading