Managing talent in an economic downturn

Written by: Annie Hayes
Published on: 24 Jul 2023

Annie Hayes at People Management Jobs shares how to manage your most vital resource during a recession

As an HR professional, you understand the impact of economic downturns on hiring. However, finding and hiring top talent remains crucial for your organisation's success. From embracing the side hustle to expanding your search, here are some handy tips to help you hire effectively during these challenging times.

Essential hires first
Conducting a robust analysis to assess actual hiring needs versus desirable ones is crucial for businesses. This analysis can help identify critical gaps, prioritise hiring decisions, and manage employment costs, ultimately affecting the company's long-term survival. As an HR professional, it's your responsibility to help ensure that your organisation makes strategic decisions based on comprehensive analysis.

The power of part-time
Taking on a full-time employee comes with significant costs for businesses, including expenses such as sick pay, parental leave, and holiday leave allowances. You must evaluate whether a particular need requires a full-time employee or if it can be filled by part-time employees, freelancers, or those seeking a second job. By adopting this approach, businesses can boost their headcount and access top talent while reducing employer responsibilities and associated costs.

Invest in your team
Retaining and motivating employees during an economic downturn is a top priority for HR professionals. One way to achieve this is by focusing on in-house training and development, allowing employees to upskill and potentially fill more senior gaps in the business. This approach can boost employee morale, create a positive work culture that rewards hard work, and establish your organisation as a great place to work.

Flexibility in work
When it comes to benefits, it's important to consider perks that carry significant weight for employees. While financial incentives are important, other perks such as the opportunity to cut commuting time or hybrid working arrangements can be just as valuable. By opening up these opportunities and supporting them with digital communication channels and senior leadership buy-in, you can create a positive work culture that prioritises employee satisfaction and work-life balance.

Selection perfection
It's also important to ensure that the hiring process is free of bias to protect the employer's brand and reputation and build a diverse and talented team. HR professionals should be trained to use unbiased screening tools in every stage of the recruitment process, from job postings and candidate screening to interviewing and selection.

Test for the best
As an HR professional, you understand the costs of hiring the wrong person can be high, not just in terms of financial resources but also in terms of the impact on team morale and productivity. That's why it's crucial to use tools such as situational evaluations to compare candidates and make informed decisions. By assessing candidates in real-life scenarios and comparing their performance, you can make a more accurate evaluation of their potential fit for the role and the organisation.

Target the right people
By developing social media campaigns and leveraging affiliated platforms, you can create targeted content that incorporates relevant keywords and hashtags to appeal to specific demographics or skills. In addition, you can tap into vertical job boards that specialise in your field, such as People Management Jobs. This will ensure that qualified candidates with the right skills are aware of the opportunities available to them. By adopting these strategies, you can increase your chances of finding the right talent to help your organisation meet its goals.

By aligning robust hiring strategies with flexibility and cost-consciousness, you can help ensure that your organisation fills its needs with the right talent. In today's competitive job market, it's important to be mindful of factors that may impact the hiring process, such as job seekers who may be hesitant to leave their current positions. Additionally, it's important to have streamlined hiring processes in place to avoid being bogged down by a high volume of applications and to ensure that the right candidate is identified and hired in a timely manner.

If you would like a free consultation specific to your needs, write to us at or visit People Management Jobs.

This article was first published on PRWeek.