When your firm is struggling, it’s hard to imagine scooping up and retaining top talent. But by rethinking your selling points, even companies going through bankruptcy can do it. Concentrating on your hiring practices when you’re floundering just to stay afloat may sound counter-intuitive, but without stellar employees, can you really expect to rebound?
Keep in mind: Over 64,000 companies filed for bankruptcy in 2008, the most since Congress made great changes to bankruptcy laws back in 2005. That’s according to Jupiter eSources, LLC.
The number of companies battling to deal with this problem will likely get worse before it gets any better. That said, how do you attract employees that will make you better when you’re struggling?
It takes creativity and determination. Example: One MD-based specialty-chemical making company has been driving ahead under Chapter 11 protection since early 2001. And they should be out of bankruptcy by the second half of 2009.
Throughout the bankruptcy, the firm managed to reel in talent through careful, analytic assurances of its long-term success plan. Of course, there was more.
Came up with bigger compensation packages for managers — Even after they suspended their stock options, they developed cash bonuses that were connected to growth in pretax profit from core operations — over a time span of three years. Note: The company eventually fought for and won the right for stock options — and cut the number of workers eligible for the long-term bonus pool, in 2008.
Created severance packages for certain new hires — Because the firm had been in financial purgatory for a significant period of time, they made the wise decision to fight hard in bankruptcy court to create some exit packages. The company was able to give severance plans to 10 new hires.
Rethought recruitment practices — When the number of business-school students showing up for company events became disappointing, the firm began looking at individual resumes and targeting specific students. They also hosted campus luncheons for sought-after students from time to time, among other things. The result: a more efficient, less wasteful recruiting process with three out of five M.B.A. grads accepting job offers last year.