We hear a lot about down-sizing, right-sizing and restructuring these days. In order to meet twenty-first century demands, it seems we need to re-imagine and reorganize everything from the way we produce energy to the way we manage personal networks of friends.

The article Thinking HR in Good Times  warns that many companies must evolve their organizational structures if they are going to succeed in the hypercompetitive environments we are in today and will remain in the future. Those firms, tied to organizational structures that no longer make sense, are going to wobble in the recovery.

In short, the same old, same old isn’t going to work.

Re-evaluate what’s relevant

The Thinking HR article first points to India, an economy that was much less affected by the financial collapse and recession-unlike the battered Western economies. Trends indicate that while some workforce reduction did take place during the past two years, companies in India are now ready to resume hiring at pre-collapse levels. In addition, India is using this time to establish a more stable, relevant course for the future. Companies are resizing and reshaping their talent structure, management and needs. And it’s probably time for the world to do likewise, before the workforce is outsourced to South Asia.

“Organizations will, after the lessons from the recession, strive to right size, be in the right shape and obtain the necessary skills to succeed. A number of leaders are especially concerned about the challenges of structures and levels in their organizations. There is consequently focus on role clarification and position evaluation. Indeed, due to the overheated years before the recession, companies had created bloated structures with multiple layers that added little value.”

This means the org chart that your company currently has may not chart the course to a more productive, more profitable future. Are there positions that need to be reconsidered, redefined or reshuffled? What talent and skills are missing to achieve your specific goals and new business opportunities? How relevant is your org chart to the demands of the changing marketplace? These are the questions recruiters need to start asking.

Re-brand yourself as a business partner

Recruiters are often asked to simply fill a position-fill the open box on the org chart because it has always been there and is now vacant. Okay. In good times, this routine is moderately acceptable. In transitional times, this service could be a disservice to your company.

If we are to help companies navigate an altered talent pool and changed economy, we may need to rock the boat-challenge what has always been done before. In fact, the value we bring as recruiters requires exactly that: new insights and smarter directions. We can’t simply fill positions; we must fill relevant needs.

We must re-brand ourselves to be business partners first – trusted advisors, knowledgeable counselors. We must restructure the way we approach an opening, asking “why” as eagerly as we ask “who.” We need to learn the business, learn the marketplace, dive in to the hypercompetitive environments, and if they demand blowing up an outdated org chart, we must have the spine to push the challenge button. Because when moving forward, it’s BOOM or bust.


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