In a recent article by Susan Cantrell and David Smith, How the recession has changed the face of talent management–for the good, the authors argue that tight budgets have forced companies to offer customized rewards and internal employee-created training options instead of lump sums of cash and formal classroom training, and that this is a good thing for employee engagement.

I appreciate any efforts to find a silver lining in the impact of the recession on today’s workforce.   And I agree that most employees prefer customized options and individual choices over a one-size-fits-all approach.  What I’m not sure about is that this is really happening on any sort of large scale.

It might be that the article is written for an HR magazine in the UK.  Here in the US, I’m seeing employers cut their efforts as well as their expenditures.

It would be great if we were really spending extra time being creative about motivation and development, offering lower cost options that better serve individual needs; it’s like when your younger sibling made your Christmas gift for you instead of buying it.  Maybe she knitted you a pair of socks or a sweater in your favorite colors.  You knew she did it because she couldn’t afford to buy something at the mall, but it was touching that she spent extra time to create something meaningful for you.  And in the end it probably better served your needs than some manufactured product from the mall would have.  But what I’m seeing is stressed-out short-sighted managers looking to cut costs everywhere they can and spending too much time putting out fires to make Christmas gifts.

What about you, are you seeing a silver lining?

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