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Looking ahead to 2010 with Eric Winegardner

4 min read


As part of our upcoming year-end report, I spoke with Eric Winegardner, vice president of client adoption for Before joining the Monster team, he worked as a recruiter in a niche executive search firm and led the U.S. recruiting operations of a Fortune 500 financial services organization. In his current role, Eric is responsible for all client training and post-sale consulting services at Monster and speaks to thousands of human capital professionals a year on leveraging the changing recruiting landscape to hire and retain the best talent possible.

Our year-end reports publish on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. If you’re not already a SmartBrief on Workforce subscriber, sign up today so you won’t miss it!

We’re getting mixed signals about the health of the economy right now. What effect will that have on how employers recruit and retain workers in 2010?

2009 was about job losses being announced by the tens of thousands. As we rebound, jobs will be created by the handful — much less likely to make the nightly news. There will be an increase in hiring in 2010, and there will be employed workers competing for those jobs — not just the 15.1 million unemployed workers. Employers who are in a position to grow their workforce recognize the competitive advantage of doing so and will take greater care in the talent they select. Each position is more valuable when your workforce is reduced, therefore the effort put into selection of employees will be greater.

Professional workers are increasingly focusing on their own personal brands. How should employers best respond to that?

The increasing focus on personal branding has been an exciting outcome of the social networking evolution. Leaders within companies who acknowledge that people are indeed their No. 1 asset will embrace the concept and even encourage growth of high performer’s personal brands. Having engaged, passionate workers who are mindful of their personal brands and the connection to their employer’s brand will be well positioned to lead in this social media age. It is widely accepted that people do business with people. The more great people I know at a company increases the likelihood that company will win my business. Translated: Grandstand your great people. Trust that the risk is worth the reward.

What will be the greatest challenge for HR professionals in the coming year? How do you suggest they overcome that?

The greatest challenge for HR professionals in this coming year will be leading the rebound within the confines of the new reality of their own smaller teams. I don’t know of many HR teams who have not been directly affected by reductions. We also acknowledge it will not be the first department where companies will choose to invest. Overcoming that challenge requires demanding efficiencies in which we invest our time. Retaining your talented resources during the rebound and recruiting the best new employees possible will be prioritized higher than in the past two years.

What will be the biggest opportunity?

The biggest opportunity I see for 2010 is retention of your solid talent. Many companies have been entrenched in survival mode this year. Employees understand that during tough times, they need to be patient. However, as we see signs of rebound, employees will demand more attention. Being mindful of the sacrifices we have all shared and making good on promises made will be critical to maintaining your tenured workforce. Be incredibly mindful of the personal branding phenomenon. People outside your organization can easily see and appreciate the talent you have on your payroll. Be sure you are equally aware and most importantly that your employees are aware of your appreciation of their contributions.