Delivering HR Strategy is the key challenge in the downturn

In this challenging economy there is more that needs to be done by the HR department than brush up on redundancy rules. All too often, the day-to-day process of running HR means that strategic work is overlooked or shifted lower down the ‘to-do’ list. More than ever HR needs to be responsive to the changing economic conditions and add value to the organisation. The top three areas for HR to focus on in order to support its organisation are managing talent, improving HR Operating models, and like every other department, demonstrating that HR delivers value for money.

Andrew Spence, Glass Bead Consulting’s founder and Managing Director, has the following advice to ensure that HR is leading by example and adding the most value:

1.) All executives in the organisation must demonstrate leadership by managing change in a calm and decisive way. HR can stop the organisation making ‘knee-jerk’ reactions – more than ever, this is the time to make the right decisions for your organisation.

2.) Allocate more of your HR resources to delivering strategic objectives and anticipating organisation requirements. Sharpen your HR operating model and ask how each HR role will support your organisation in the next 12 months?

3.) You will be better able to respond quickly and more effectively to organisational changes with better HR systems, more effective processes and better aligned capabilities. This will make HR better positioned to deal with the next “new change”.

4.) Consider ways to deliver HR services ‘better and cheaper’ with more flexible costing. In sectors with mergers, acquisitions and rapid changes in employee numbers, a goal is to provide more variable costs. Evaluate outsourcing options for non-strategic, transactional HR activities.

5.) Understand the cost levers for HR: like every other department, HR will be asked to demonstrate value for money. Determine your ‘Cost to Serve per employee’ and ‘HR : Employee ratios’.

6.) Brush up your retention strategies, particularly for the most talented of Generation Y who have not experienced anything like this before and could easily run to the hills. Utilise the “recession management” skills that the hardy Generation X developed from the dot-com crash and early 90s recession.

7.) Refresh your succession management plan – help your Board identify the skills and experience needed in the next three years. These will have changed from six months ago.

8.) Training budgets are one of the first cost categories to be slashed in recessions, but it is vital to maintain your staff development in the right skills. Quickly reassess and prioritise your training needs for staff in the new environment, so you are better able to negotiate with the CFO.

Andrew Spence
+44 (0)1273 888 182

PR Contact:
Laura Munns
020 7392 2632
07827 995 180

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