The Role of HR in a Recession

HR leaders have some tough decisions to face if they are going to help to lead their organisations out of recession.  They have to decide whether they are willing to raise difficult questions about sensitive issues such as pay, benefits and performance.

 

In the light of the publicity last year surrounding City bonuses, and more recently the debacle over MP’s expenses, HR leaders need to have the courage to stand up and say if they believe that things are either, or how vital savings can be made in the way people are remunerated and rewarded.

 

Take the practical example of company cars.  How many managers in your organisation have company cars and how many of them really need a company car for their work?  Further, how many company cars are prestige marques such as Jaguar, Mercedes or BMW?  How much could be saved if manager’s used cheaper makes?  Finally, how many managers have fully expensed vehicles?  Surely they should pay for their journey to work like everyone else?  All of these things need to be challenged if HR leaders are to help their organisations reduce costs.

 

On a broader level, HR leaders should also be looking at how they can help the organisation improve the productivity and performance of its people.  They need to examine the capability of staff, their levels of engagement and creativity and work out ways that will help employees be more effective.

 

They also need to focus on their fellow business leaders, helping them to develop the intelligence, capability and integrity needed to meet the ever increasing demands placed on them not just by customers and shareholders but also by other stakeholders such as the local community and environment.

 

HR leaders therefore have some tough decisions to face if they are going to help to lead their organisations out of recession.  They need to balance their efforts on improving efficiency and reducing costs as well as laying the foundations for the future when the upturn returns.