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Best Practices for Making the Most of Uncertain Times: How Important is Talent?

Managing a supply chain company in our still uncertain economy can be challenging. The people you employ probably have to do more with less, and you may have less money to work with overall. In this situation, it may seem foolish to hire more people. You may think it makes more sense to find more work, more business, and bring in money rather than spending it. But who’s going to do that work?

If this seems like an impossible chicken-or-the-egg story, consider this: if you hire the right people the first time, you will save money down the line. If your business is running smoothly, you can concentrate on profits rather than problems.

The first thing you need to consider is a strategic hiring plan. You’re competing against other supply chain companies for talent. Figure out what your core needs are and identify the talent you need to support them. Take advantage of any of your competitors who may be cutting employees or making other confidence-shaking changes at their organizations. They may be a great place to find skilled employees who are looking for new opportunities.

Second, share your insight as to your company’s core goals, and make sure your current employees know where and how their work supports these goals. It’s important that they know they’re making a contribution. You should also communicate the truth about any other changes that outside forces may be causing in your company: being transparent with your employees will help them feel better than a culture of uncertainty. You want to avoid sending mixed messages or fueling rumors.

Third, you may be able to relieve some of your payroll burdens by reconsidering your compensation strategy. Instead of paying people based on their titles or job levels, use a pay-for-performance scale. Pay for performance can get your employees to excel and actually help your bottom line as you avoid the trap of overcompensation. If you recognize and compensate your top performers accordingly, they’ll be more likely to stay with you.

If after implementing steps 1-3, you still need to lay some people off, don’t do it randomly. Take this as a chance to weed out the low performers and optimize your workforce. If you cut the wrong people, you run the risk of damaging your company’s current value and your chances for future growth. Even if the better employees cost more, they’re worth more.

If you’re looking for more tips on strategic hiring and recruiting in the supply chain industry, contact ZDA. With our knowledge and experience, we can help you identify your top performers, locate new skilled employees and see how your compensation packages compare to the competition.

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