Cautious Optimism for Economy in 2009

We just published the results of our annual corporate issues survey. This year’s survey shows that executives and company leaders are somewhat optimistic that the US economy will rebound in 2009. Following the 2008 slowdown that has crippled economies around the world, over 70% of those surveyed expected the economy to begin its recovery sometime this year.  Only a quarter of the respondents thought the downturn would continue unabated into 2010.


The 2009 results represent feedback from more than 1,700 executives, line managers, and training and human resource leaders from a range of companies, industries, and countries. Since 2003, over 6,700 leaders have participated in this ongoing study. Here are some of the highlights from the press release:


“Participants in the most recent Blanchard survey were asked to describe their organization’s overall outlook in regards to the economy, training expenditures, expected cuts, and coping strategies.  In addition, the survey touched on corporate issues relating to organizational, HR, and management challenges. Responses focused on the most important aspects of future corporate growth and employee development, as well as how employees are prepared to deal with these and other hurdles. Some of the survey’s top responses include:


Tactics for Coping in a Down Economy


         Invest in productivity and performance

         Cut travel costs

         Increase focus on branding and differentiation


2009 Top Organizational Challenges


         Economic challenges

         Competitive pressure

         Growth and expansion


2009 Top Management Challenges


         Managing change

         Creating an engaged workforce

         Reducing costs


Types of Training to be Offered in 2009


         Leadership skills

         Managerial/supervisory skills

         Customer service skills


With the expectation that the economy will begin to recover within the next year, survey respondents also predict that their corporations will not make drastic cuts to training budgets. Fewer than 1 in 5 state that their organization plans to spend significantly less money on training in 2009, as compared to 2008. This desire to maintain an adequate level of training points to the identification of corporate development as a way to ride out the storm of economic turmoil, while also refining and realigning each organization’s own learning infrastructure.


While recent news has highlighted the downsizing of well-known companies, the Blanchard survey results show signs that corporations are looking inward to survive current conditions instead of resorting to the old playbook of cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Companies seeking to decrease costs along all facets of the organizational structure are not, the survey suggests, primarily targeting personnel and marketing. Only 29% of respondents listed personnel layoffs and cuts as ways their companies plan to cope with the down economy, while marketing cuts came in at 14%. More than 60% plan to invest in productivity and performance-maximizing strategies, while another 46% plan to focus on their corporate branding and differentiation.”

You can view the entire Blanchard 2009 Corporate Issues Survey findings at:



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