Are You Ready for the Recovery? Now May Be the Right Time to Start Hiring

By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 28, 2008

With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, government economists now believe that the current recession began the early part of 2001. In fact, the warning signs of an end to a decade of seemingly boundless growth stretched back to the previous fall, when various engines of growth began to sputter. Those warning signs included the implosion of the dot-com economy, lagging sales of telecommunications and computer hardware, a sagging stock market, the drying up of capital investment and the curtailment of corporate hiring.

It just took a while for all this to sink in.

At the end of the day, however, the demise of the 1990's boom years proved once again that the economic cycle has yet to be abolished. In the manner of a sine wave, bust had to follow boom - but, just as inevitably, boom will come again. And, like the current recession did, it will sneak up on little cat feet. Because it will come in bits and pieces, we won't know for sure that it has arrived until the turnaround is well under way.

The consensus forecast remains that the U.S. has emerged from the recession, with other nations to follow as the year goes on. Various wild cards, such as further terrorist attacks or the potential war with Iraq, could delay the timing of course. Currently, however, the consensus view is supported by such encouraging signs as surprisingly resilient consumer spending, new home and office construction, and declining inventory levels for a variety of products.

Until recently, corporate hiring practices have been a lagging indicator of economic change. Historically slow to react, most companies used to reduce headcount well after a downturn had begun - and were equally slow to rebuild their workforces after recovery had begun.

Compared though to the last recession from 1989 to 1992, companies entered the 2001-2002 recession with more advanced information systems that could process and analyze mountains of business data in a few nanoseconds. As a result, the speed with which employers began to trim their workforces and compensation packages was unprecedented. This time around, employers may resume their normal hiring and compensation practices in a much more timely fashion as well.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.