Published on 1st October 2009
As we exit the recession – or at least, the first ‘dip’ of the recession, the “people agenda”, driven forward by HR, should be back in fashion.
In many instances, however, HR departments have had their decision-making power taken away from them during the downturn – as highlighted by Ceridian’s own research. So is “the people agenda” a chance for HR professionals to claw back some of that power and begin to lead the business again? There are a number of key opportunities...
Have you thought about what happens when the job market wakes up? According to Ceridian’s research, 33% of the UK workforce is likely to look for another job as soon as things get better. You could stand to lose 1 in 3 of your employees if the upturn continues.
HR needs to act quickly to retain as much of their organisations’ talented employees, and have the capability to attract suitable replacements. The requirement for a Talent Management strategy is growing, as Marks and Spencer’s HR Director, Tanith Dodge, underlined recently:
Continuing to invest in your talent for now is absolutely key. Organisations that stop that investment risk cutting the Achilles heel. You have to keep these people and do it in ways that aren’t ridiculously expensive.Marks and Spencer's HR Director, Tanith Dodge
Maximising the potential of your people, as all HR professionals know, is not just about giving some extra money and a training course. As the increased prevalence of Flexible Benefits shows, a personal total reward package appeals to a more diverse workforce. However, as Generation Y begins to dominate the younger end of the workforce, HR needs to be more innovative.
Managing Generation Y is HR’s next big strategic challenge. A generation of twenty-somethings who are more interested in their contribution to society than their contribution to a business are entering the workplace and need to be managed differently. BT Global Services’ Global Talent and Graduate Manager Rob Cross believes that the key is personal fulfilment, and a shift away from IQ to EQ (Emotional Quotient) and SQ (Spiritual Quotient):
“...we need to help Gen Y define and fulfil their purpose in a way that reconciles professional life and personal fulfilment. To help them do this we need focus on EQ and SQ...”
Whether we're looking at Generation Y or our failure to get the most out of talented women, there is so much to be done, but the challenge is to create an organisation that harnesses talent and looks after the emotional and physical wellbeing of employees.Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families
When change takes place in an organisation – as it inevitably will for many in 2010 – then HR needs to be leading that change. Talent management strategies are central to this shift, and HR’s role should be advising business leaders on how to manage change.
M&S has survived world wars and recessions and one of the things it has got good at is how to manage change and adapt. Tanith Dodge – HR Director, Marks & Spencer
The change brought about by the recession meant that HR was put in a position of reshaping organisations through downsizing. The upturn is an opportunity for HR to abandon the shackles of transactional work and focus on strategic input to the business. By understanding, engaging and harnessing the talent of Generation Y, HR has the chance to positively re-shape the business landscape.
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