In a Recession, Top Employers Abide by 2 Golden Rules


There’s a lingering misconception that finding top talent in a recession is as easy as fishing in a barrel. Yet, that was disproved in the 90s recession when employers found that they were overwhelmed with resumes, but very few applicants met their criteria.

At The Bagg Group, we receive hundreds of resumes for every available position. Typically, only three out of 100 responses are potentially suitable for the job opportunity. Our recruiters meet face-to-face with every prospective candidate. And on average, we recommend less than 30% of all those we interview to our clients.

Quantity is not the issue, quality is. When it comes to staffing in times of economic turmoil, there are two golden rules. These practices will carry you through this recession, as they’ve carried top employers through past ones.

Rule #1. Hire the best people.


Why invest now in top talent? A-level people are more than high producers. They’re innovative thinkers who can problem-solve with you.

And companies which involve employees in finding ways to operate more cost-effectively report excellent results, according to surveys of The Great Place To Work Institute Inc., a global research agency.

Rule #2: Treat your employees with fairness and respect


These are qualities that can’t be bought, so they won’t eat in to your budget. And you can measure your return on effort in increased loyalty and productivity.

Here are some suggestions that top employers in the GTA have implemented, with great success.

Help employees decompress: Recognize that today’s overburdened employees need ways to de-stress. It’s money well spent  to subsidize gym memberships. And bringing a massage therapist on-site for 15-minute treatments can help employees get the knots out of their neck and out of their thinking.

Holding regular trivia and other types of contests and celebrations builds camaraderie in tough times, and injects some levity into the workplace.

A time-out for fun is proven to reduce stress hormones and increase a sense of wellbeing, which in turns sharpens creative thinking and increases productivity.

(For why and how some companies are bringing humour into the workplace, see the article Making Work Fun by Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.)

Even small gestures can make a difference. Human resource professionals at one company reported that employees were delighted when the company replaced regular coffee with top premium blends.

Consider creative perks: Post-cuts, many employees are doing the job of two, and could use a perk or two to stay motivated. They know best what could make a difference to their worklife. Ask and you may be surprised by the answers.

More and more, over-stretched employees are putting in requests for a temporary or contract worker who can take some tasks off their overloaded plates. At The Bagg Group, we are regularly fulfilling demands from all sizes of corporations for efficient, knowledgeable temps who can step in and take over time-consuming activities to allow full-time staff to focus on their primary work.

Talk about the elephant in the room: Open, transparent communications between executives and employees is key for building trust and collaboration.

During this recession, many executives hold relaxed, regular get-togethers with employees to report candidly on progress and challenges, and address questions and anxieties. The result is a company-wide appreciation that everyone is in this together. And that fuels the motivation to work on solutions.

Nothing attracts and retains top talent more than company leadership which actively demonstrates that its people are its best asset. And that’s a fact that hasn’t changed with the times.

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