Preparing for the end of the recession

July 27, 2009
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Some experts say the recession has hit rock bottom; many say it still will linger into 2010. What they agree on is that the economy will recover.

"Now is a great time to start making a plan for when the economy returns in full force," said Mathew Sullivan, vice president and regional manager of EmploymentGroup.

"There's been a lot of discussion within our own organization about optimism and generating optimism. Things do run in cycles. The economy will return and we're starting to hear about that from our own clients. There's light at the end of the tunnel and now is the appropriate time to start thinking about how you are going to get the right people in your organization when it returns."

It's no secret that many experienced, talented workers have lost their jobs in the past year, said Mark Lancaster, president and CEO of the staffing and managed service solutions company. It's a good opportunity for companies to rebuild staff.

"Now is the time to upgrade your current talent if you have players that aren't acceptable to your performance standards," he said. "It's a free market right now. There are a lot of great people out there looking, not because they were under-performing, but because the economy freed them up."

Sullivan said an optimistic attitude along with a dose of reality is essential.

"A lot of (optimism) is self-generated. A lot of it's about the leadership of an organization generating the appropriate vision," said Sullivan. "It's got to be realistic. You have to be truthful and honest to people, but talking about what lies ahead and the positive plans you have, and engaging your people in how you're going to get there — I think that's your road to creating optimism."

Sullivan said part of what he does is to cultivate an attitude of optimism.

"When we go and speak to a company, it's first of all about your presence and your attitude, but it's also the notion of telling them the story that we are hearing others say there's light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

"Then there's just the optimism that's generated by being proactive and developing that plan. Every company has its plan. Every company needs to be looking forward, and everybody still needs to generate their goals for the next year."

As a staffing company, EmploymentGroup is often exposed to early indicators of which way the economy is going.

"The Feds use the temporary industry as a leading indicator for their Beige Book, because we're typically first into a recession and first out," said Lancaster. "Companies will often bring people back on a contingency basis through a staffing company until they feel confident in the economy, and then they'll bring them on full-time."

Lancaster said the company does not have any hard figures to indicate when the economy will come back, but it does have a growing number of clients looking to re-staff as early as August.

"That's a great sign," he said. "Could something happen that prevents that? Sure, but it seems that all indications are that we're going to see upticks in Q3 and Q4. I don't think 2010 will be a robust year, but hopefully it will get better."

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