We are encountering challenging markets and business environments globally. One would not have normally expected the impact to be this big when all this started with the housing market collapse in the US.

When business environments get tough, focus on costs become the highest priority for everyone. It is really important to ensure though that the messages regarding value for talent do not get diluted.

I wanted to share my three key points for managers, leaders and HR to keep in mind while tackling difficult external environment scenarios. Many of these come from multiple sources that I’ve read and have thought about.

1. High clarity and increased frequency in communication

This falls on the top of my list because the level of uncertainty among employees is very high generally during tough times. Lack of high quality communication esp. with the talent population that’s critical for an organisation’s success could result in the loss of key talent. This in effect weakens an organisation’s capability to execute when it’s badly needed and there’s no time to lose. Being realistic and frank about the challenges but at the same time, engaging the talent by laying out and drawing the picture of a promising future beyond the tough times will help to build commitment and trust.

2. Understanding talent priorities
Any organisation will need to clearly prioritise where to focus on with limited resources. The key here is not to forget that at the end of the day it is the right talent that helps organisations grow. Even though short term survival rightfully gets high priority, it’s also important not to take away key talent investments for the future. Availability of a high quality talent pipeline could result in finding alternative success options for the business and provide a major advantage over competitors when the markets start to rebound.

3. Clearly being aware of the key talent population and increasing the touch points.
Understanding who does and will have the highest impact on the organisation’s future (in terms of competencies and strategy execution) is critical. It is equally important to increase the touch points and therefore ensure that the organisation does not lose the right talent for reasons that could be avoided.