It is easy to be an "a" player when there is a robust economy. Now is the challenge. Today, you can not afford to carry "C" players. People and productivity are inextricably linked. Therefore, employee development can make a difference to the bottom line – short- and long-term. While some see the economic downturn as an excuse to stop paying attention to employee issues, experts believe that the economy should not stop companies from doing the good things they have been doing. Now is the time to assess talent and drive performance.