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August 2010 Newsletter

Five HR Actions Businesses Need to Consider

Before The Economy Recovers



          During this economic recession the human resources function has taken a severe beating.  Staffing functions were slashed as layoffs replaced hiring. Training was reduced to the absolute minimum, which generally means any training of skills and knowledge required to perform a job adequately. Developing talent for the long term took a back seat to focusing on doing more with less. Even HR professionals themselves were more likely to take a bunker mentality, focusing on securing their own jobs.


          But best in class organizations are starting to reinvest in their human resources. Here are a few things that you can do now, which will pay off considerably when hiring rebounds.


#1: Plan for the Recovery

          No matter what business you are in and the sophistication of your HR processes, you need to start creating business scenarios which take into account the impact of HR once the recovery starts to happen (and it will sooner or later). Scenario planning can help generate the force required to get your company out of the recession inertia.  These “what ifs” can be powerful tools in getting senior leadership to start in motion the development and implementation of new HR processes, practices, procedures and systems which have for the last few years have laid fallow.


#2: Rethink your Staffing Processes

          It is the best time to evaluate the way you conduct this part of your business when hiring at its ebb.  Take the time to evaluate all portions of your staffing process. Streamline where you can and create a memorable candidate experience. Look at the vendors you are using-- job boards, applicant tracking systems, search firms, and contingent staffing companies—and go shopping for the best vendors that are going to meet your long term hiring needs. Renegotiate or place up for bid these services and lock into the best deal.


#3: Reevaluate your Assessment Processes

          Are they going to assess the competencies required of your employees now and in the future? Are you using the most cost effective assessments and are they valid for the jobs for which they are used? Can your assessments be defended if challenged by a disgruntled applicant or audits such government agencies like the OFCCP and the EEOC? Finally, are your assessments creating a positive experience for your candidates?   


#4:  Rebrand your Company as an Employer of Choice

          This is more than a PR campaign. It is defining the culture you want and executing on your plan to realize it. Becoming an employer of choice will benefit not only the attraction of new candidates to your expanded workforce, but be a prime driver of retaining mission critical personnel. The process of branding yourself as an employer is soul searching. It will allow you to uncover your real strengths and values as they relate to your employees. This can have tremendous consequence on the direction and priorities your HR organization


#5: Rewarding and Recognizing for Performance and Loyalty

          Consider restructuring your compensation plan to really be one that is pay for performance.  This requires the development a sound performance management process, which will take time to design, implement and be practiced by your management team. For you key personnel, think of creating monetary and non monetary rewards and recognitions which communicate your company’s desire to retain them and to reward them for not jumping ship when to fat times recur.  


Now is the time to take action and prepare for what we all know is going to happen.  This will allow you to think through and process all the facets of change as opposed to rushing to catch up later.