2010 Trends: Recession Recovery

2010 human capital trendsI will be speaking at a number of events in the next 12 weeks and last week I was a guest on a show that covered the “workplace landscape” of the next decade. I’m sure most of you are in the midst of planning for 2010 budgets and are wrestling with what is critical, what is outdated, what is relevant, what is new/old, etc. It is my perspective that there are four major macro-level trends that are shaping some of the best thinking and planning for human capital professionals, especially in the context of professional development and talent management.  In the next four weeks, I will discuss each one. The first one is what I am calling Recession Recovery.

This is not entirely new. I’ve talked about it before. The notion is that the economy that we have experienced in the last 12+ months has had a fundamental and paradigm-shifting impact on not just the working professional, but also on the organization. Most of us have been unfavorably hurt in some form or another. Whether it was watching our savings literally disappear, or losing jobs, or being overworked, or reducing our habitual consumption … in some way, we’ve all been impacted by this recession. The impact has not just been a financial or vocational one – in fact, it has been a profoundly emotional one. A peer of mine compared it to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the emotional stress that survivors of wars or other traumatic experiences go through. The trust in employers, in institutions, in government, in leaders, and in some basic truths about workplace behavior has eroded. The survival mode behavior has indeed taken its toll.

So as we begin to exit the recession, and there are finally signs of it, organizations and leaders have to be emotionally prepared to deal with this apathetic and fatigued workforce that is the aftermath. And  the singular competency that can help both employees and employers get out of the funk faster is, arguably, emotional intelligence. The ability to recognize emotions, to regulate them, to maximize the desired ones, and to harness them for high performance will be paramount. I submit that EQ has never been more relevant in the workplace than now, and will be so for at least the next few years. Those of us brave enough to espouse this to our executives and make this a formal part of their 2010 Plans are going to have a significant advantage over those that do not.


11 responses to “2010 Trends: Recession Recovery

  1. I agree wholeheartedly that there has been a paradigm shift and that EQ is now even more critical for individual and organizational success!

    I don’t think your points about the individual and organizational impacts go far enough!

    In addition, I believe there has been a global economic and societal paradigm shift which means that the ‘Recovery’ is not a return to ‘our old apple pie world’ but to a ‘new world of unprecedented uncertainty, risk and opportunity’.

    As Productivity gurus like to illustrate, to find out the weak links or leverage points in the river (system), lower the water level by increasing throughput. Then the rocks or bottlenecks leap out at you!

    We are now entering an Era of Increased Emotional Throughput as individual leaders, organizations and as a national and global economy! Beware the rocks!

    Leverage and sustainable competitive advantage will go to those with their hands on the levers of those Emotional Rocks – those developing their individual, team and organizational EQ!

    Just my humble opinion .. feedback welcome.


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