Look to the long term to remain strategicOn 10 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article There is little doubt that the downturn is beginning to bite hard. As aconsequence, we are seeing companies shifting their focus from far-sightedstrategies to short-term tactics to deal with more difficult market conditions.This approach, while understandable, carries with it a need for firms torefocus their people strategies when market conditions improve, which can causeuncertainty and demands constant change management. An ongoing strategicmanagement process is clearly a better model – short termism results in overrecruitment in buoyant times, with the risk of valuable staff being lost tocompetitors. At Deloitte & Touche, we have not made any large-scale redundancies. Ourbusiness plans have recognised the potential volatility in our markets and inall our businesses we strive to avoid excessive resource build-up. As peopleare our business, the ability to retain, recruit and motivate the best talentis critical to business success at all times. We also realise that a toughclimate can provide opportunities for future growth and the potential forgaining an edge on competitors. A motivated workforce will be best positionedto capitalise on these opportunities. Over the last few years we have recruited directors and partners from theother ‘Big 4’ firms and financial institutions, bringing in talentedspecialists who innovate and add to our service range. We are continuing withthis even in the current environment. It is clear that whatever difficult decisions are taken, a business mustkeep long-term strategy in mind while ensuring costs are managed effectively inthe short term. If this can be achieved while strengthening the business, thenthe business will be on a good platform for growth. Sometimes it is not possible to perform this balancing act – redundanciescan be inevitable. But, it is worth bearing in mind that redundancy programmesare costly in comparison with other available options, such as postponinginvestment programmes. Companies that make large-scale redundancies will needto deal not only with the costs of the programme, but with motivational issuesfor the remaining staff and the cost of employing new staff when there is anupturn in the economy. A more flexible reward programme tied to corporate andindividual performance can provide an effective cost management tool. This flexible approach is our favoured option. It works for our people andour business. For us the cyclical nature of the economy means that when dealsdrop off, other parts of the business become more buoyant. To benefit fromthese economic shifts we take immediate action – which can mean aggressivereallocation to those parts of the business doing well or strong performancemanagement of our staff, as doing what is right for the business cannot wait. Clearly, there is no single formula for success, but companies which seizethe initiative early before changes are forced on them by externalcircumstances will be best positioned for the future. By John Connolly, Chief executive and senior partner, Deloitte& Touche Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.