Leadership: Invest in human resources

I am linking to an interesting opinion on Financial Times on investing in your human resources.

Rejecting top graduates is no way to run a government — or a business | Financial Times

But cutting off the intake of able new graduates is precisely what any high-quality business does not do. Even in hard times, the best employers make sure that they are investing in future talent and leadership….

….But when we gathered nervously together one early morning, the message that Weatherstone delivered was not what we feared. Yes, the world economy was in a mess. Yes, there would be a hit to the bank’s earnings. Yes, the bank would need to tighten its belt. But, no, we would not be sacked. We were the future of the bank, recruited for the long term. The exciting jobs we had hoped to occupy on our return home — trading complex derivatives or selling securities — might not be available. But the bank would find homes for us.

Financial services make disproportionate amounts of money from financial instruments. However, this is instructive. Despite the economic recession, the new hires were not let go off. The lessons are obvious-unless organisations nurture talent or identify exceptional individuals for ideas, they will eventually decline. The problem comes to the fore when organisations focus on short-term “quarter-mentality” and do not have a long-term vision except for management puff speak.

There are lessons here for UK ministers. Turning away the brightest graduates is good short-term public sector cost control but very bad long-term policy. The supply of future leaders is blocked. And if ministers axe this programme, it will be more difficult to find the right individuals in the future: they must expect to pay higher salaries and spend more on recruitment.

Likewise, for organisations not looking for diversity of talent. If your sole aim is to hire an individual to “serve” in a “pre-defined” role, it will eventually atrophy the idea pipeline, completely making it impossible to break new ground. The write up ends on an interesting note:

If ministers think that scrapping the recruitment of top graduates is the business-savvy thing to do, they should look back to 1987. JPMorgan has thrived and remains one of the most successful businesses in the world. The companies that brutally laid off their graduate entrants after Black Monday mostly no longer exist — their once well-known names consigned to history.

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