HR, More Valuable Now Than Ever

Finding success in business, as with all other areas of life, is often about finding the silver linings. The current economic climate is one hell of a cloud, but that does mean it is raining talent.

HR - More Valuable Now, Than Ever

People really are your greatest asset

You don’t need me to tell you that the international economic climate remains challenging. True, the world’s leaders are apparently feeling better about things, but there’s a long filter between them and (most of) us.

Here are the most important facts as I see them. Two years ago – for the first time since modern banking began – political leaders and fiscal policy makers got together and forced banks to accept a structure that ensured the avoidance of total economic collapse.

There are, of course, differing points of view on this – would the collapse of Fannie Mae, AIG, Barclay’s etc., have led to a run on all banks if unchecked? The truth is, we don’t know: but coordination was required because all indicators were worse than any economic indicators have ever been.

What did this political interference mean? In real terms, the dip was not as bad as could be, which may explain the good vibes at Davos. Unfortunately, if the dip wasn’t as extreme (and remember, we’re talking about utter failure), it still has a long way to run. Collective government action may have prevented a sharp V-shaped graph, but it has left us with a very flat-bottomed U.

And now… well, now the collective effort is done and it’s every man, woman and child for themselves. Individual government actions are becoming more selfish and splintered as they – quite rightly, I suppose – review what’s required for their own economies. That is why they were elected.

I believe that for many of us economic austerity will last for years, and the difficult times have just started. But when you’re chewing on life’s gristle, as Monty Python taught us, don’t worry. Give a whistle.

In difficult times, companies get the pick of talented individuals; people that are hungry to get the right position AND make it stick. That sounds like opportunity to me.

To really capitalise on that opportunity you need three things: 1) Products that count and make a difference, 2) A clear strategy and to execute on that strategy, and 3) Momentum.

My message? If the adage is ‘you’re only as good as your staff’, then right now may be the best talent pool to recruit from ever. Ever!

Does it work? In the last two years, my company, GDS International, has grown 78 per cent and our HR Directors have played, and continue to play, a massive role in that. In any tough environment there will be winners – and if that sounds smug, it’s certainly not meant to. I am enormously grateful for and proud of the hard work, long hours, selfless suggestion and team understanding that led to our growth.

Smug is currently sat on his or her arse staring at the same recruitment ad they’ve been running for the past five years and wondering where it all went wrong.


About Spencer Green

Spencer Green founded GDS Publishing Ltd in October 1993 to specialise in industrial, government-led publications for the burgeoning Chinese market. The company launched over forty business-to-business titles, was name-checked alongside Tony Blair on China’s national news as ‘best for Chinese business’, and – following a move into India – deemed to be ‘of national importance’ by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. In 1998, GDS Publishing became GDS International and launched its first conference, Enterprise China. The hugely successful Enterprise series of conferences was rolled out across China and Latin America in the next two years. In 2000, GDS International launched its first Senior Executive Summit under the ‘Next Generation’ banner. This became the catalyst for nine years of 25% year-on-year growth... and 40% growth in 2010. In 2011, GDS held over 70 Summits for C-level Executives from a wide range of industries and across the globe, and eight digital marketing conferences. Today, GDS International is determined to become the world’s no. 1 business-to-business media and services company. It’s going to be an exciting journey! Spencer is married to Emily. They have two children, Finlay and Maya, and live in Bristol, UK.
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