2.0 Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) Options
In this changing economy with recession the Human Resource Management
(HRM) is in the spotlight as never before. It is great opportunity for HR
managers not just to support the organization, not just aspire to be respected
business partner but this is the time when HR Manager has the opportunity to
lead and to help run the organization in these demanding times. As in
Anonymous HR FOCUS (2009) suggested that if organization need to
effective it is time to Attracting, developing, and retaining talent involve
understanding what you have and adding what you need. As Karmar (2008)
pp1 “Strategic human resource management is one of the ways organizations
can attempt to achieve strategic fit with their market environment.”
In this turbulent time some Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM)
options organizations can adopt to minimize the risks are as below.
To meet the current (recession time) and future (after the recession) needs of
the organization the starting point is recruitment. There is no denying the fact
that recession has bite and HR is feeling the pain when it comes to
recruitment budgets. During recession period normally organizations behaved
typical with reactionary approach with layoffs, salary freezes, redundancies
and low recruitment. As results of survey done by Personnel today through
Xpert HR mentioned in Williams (September 2009) show survey of 105
employers - covering a combined workforce of almost 580,000 people -
showed that three-quarters (74%) now had fewer vacancies, while around six
in 10 (56%) had introduced recruitment freezes . There is a need to develop a
long term workforce strategy aligned with organization strategy to behave
strategically. As Brazeel (2009) pp 2 “cost cutting is an unavoidable necessity
in the midst of a recession however, retaining, recruiting and strengthening
top talent are all requirement to successfully outlasting a recession.”
During recession period the recruitment process of most of the organization
was slow but as signs are coming that UK economy is recovering it is
important to identify the human capital requirements and to make strategy
how to fulfil these requirement in coming time. With the signs of recovery
organizations need to look beyond the current financial crises and identify the
competencies they will need in the future. HR and corporate leader need to
work together to identify their needs for future before doing any work layoffs.
As Williams (2009) mentioned pp 28 "It's clear HR is looking ahead rather
than being reactive. There's a lot more confidence. A year ago, it was about
survival or maintaining some profitability; now we've moved on to talking
about recovery”. Organizations need strategy for the future to have right
worker on the right time and in the right place. It is not just the time to cut the
cost and just retain the right people it is time to do forward thinking and recruit
right people. As Brazeel (2009) pp 2 “Forward thinking businesses understand
that the time to recruit for the future is today. The competition for top talent is
still very much alive and well.”
In this competitive environment where every one is after skilled and
knowledge able worker the competition for top talent, knowledge worker is
alive. It is time to re connect with candidates and take ownership of employer
brand. However it is not about attracting every one to work for the
organization. Due to recession unemployment is high so to be successful in
finding suitable candidate it is important to give clear message. Clear
message is not possible until unless proper job analysis is not done so to do
the recruitment for present and future needs and to find the most suitable
person for the job is to start with job analysis what organization. And the clear
and straight forward message to the candidate is the job description process
about pay, hours, what the candidate need to do infect what organization want
from him and what organization can give candidate in return. At this time
when unemployment is high so clear message is important to attract the best
person. From the last 19 months the recruitment from all organizations is
slow. Due to the technological changes there are lot of new options and ways
to attract the people. Internet, social media, ads, smart phone is now common
with internet on it ads on the internet within web pages even advertising is
coming in online computer games and on career sites. As in Personneltoday
(03 November 09) during recession the 20th annual IRS graduate recruitment
survey shows that online recruitment has become more important than ever
as a tool to help employers reach top talent. Using an organization website or
external job sites to attract and recruit peoples is fast and cost saving at this
time of recession. A lot of organizations are using this method.
Through E-Recruitment organizations can cut the cost in recession time can
save agency fees, advertising fee, less paper used, save on postage cost and
most of the information is available on website and no need of too much
administrative staff to handle the recruitment process. Through E-recruitment
the process is smooth and transparent. The process of recruitment will be
prompt vacancies can be posted and reviewed instantly a lot of time can be
saved through E-Recruitment. Data produced through E-Recruitment will be
accurate and will be available instantly and the process of E-Recruitment is
constant across an organization all treated same regardless from where they
have applied. Through this can achieve equal opportunity easily. So the
organization needs to think smartly what way of advertisement for the job
should use so that the messages deliver to best candidate.
Organization need to reduce cost while recruiting to meet the need of the
organization. New graduate pool may offer a solution. To meet the long term
objectives of the staffing needs with cost saving because due to high
unemployment new graduates are available in the market organization can
recruit them on low starting salaries compared to experienced workers and
can develop them on long term basis and make them their competitive
In this recession time to fill the staffing need of the organization through
outsourcing, employee leasing, flexible and part time contracts, working from
home, temporaries workers. Through temporary workers organization can cut
the cost because no permanent contract, no liability on organization like
holiday pays, maternity or paternity leaves sick pays, bonuses and pensions.
Even the pay rate is same as temporary and permanent worker still
organization can save on other benefits like as Gray, 2002; TUC, 2001 cited
in Stanworth & Druker (2006) pp 176 “However, the figures exclude fringe
benefits such as pension schemes, bonuses, and company sick pay that are
rarely, if ever, paid to agency workers.” If temporary worker is not matching
the requirement of the organization can say goodbye easily no need to go for
redundancy procedures and costs. This not only cost saving it is a best way to
find the talent As Jones (2009) pp 19 " Many of the contractors and temporary
workers will be signed to fulltime employment agreements. It's a great way to
find talent, determine if there is a match and build a winning team.
At this competitive environment and tough time for organization temporary
worker can be used by organization to drive innovation. This is uncertain time
recession is still in the economy organization doesn’t know what will happen
in future so organizations can hire temporary workers on flexible terms. In
uncertain times because in lot of organization don’t need a permanent
executive so organization can hire temporary executive. projects As OECD,
2001 cited in Burgess & Connell(2006) pp 131 “Positive outcomes arising
from temporary employment are that: it can improve job matching within the
labour market, reduce job search time and expenses, and offer a transition to
permanent employment” There is some critiques on the temporary workers
about their motivation, loyalty, commitment and keeping the competitive
source with in the organization but still in recession and in changing time
temporary worker is a SHRM option for organizations to survive.
Out sourcing is the practice of subcontracting a business process to a third
party provider and out sourcing seen as an obvious cost cutting strategy. In
this recession time out sourcing is another way to meet the staffing needs with
cost cutting strategy in mind because organizations are looking the ways to
survive. Due to cost cutting interest increased in UK as Hanson (2009)
mentioned that National Outsourcing Association (NOA) reported in its last
quarterly index, published in July, that the UK outsourcing market grew eight
per cent last year. Organization need to use Out sourcing carefully to avoid its
negative impacts it is necessary to align all out sourcing activities according to
firm over all strategy. As Scott-Jackson et al (2005) cited by Reilly & Williams
(2006) pp 106 “you need to be careful that the delivery of HR services by your
outsourced supplier does not get disconnected from your internal HR strategy
Most of the organizations have some type of induction programme for their
new people. Normally in induction new employee told about organization
goals, policies, culture, markets, clients, and reward system. Sort of reception
ceremony for the new employee and then team leader take care about the
new employee by showing his workplace and handing him some documents.
The induction is the first step toward commitment of employee if it not done
properly the staff turnover will be greater than otherwise. As Fowler (1996)
mentioned in Armstrong (2006) pp 472 “employees are far more likely to
resign during their first months after joining the organization”. There is a need
for formal and full induction programme in the recession time because
organization don’t afford that they spend time and money on recruiting people
and they leave due to not proper induction. Smith (2004) gives some
suggestions for proper induction programme. According to him firm formal
induction should be as soon as possible. Team leader should introduce new
comers personally to other team members. All team members should email
newcomer to welcome and tell what they do and what they are doing in future,
Give necessary training to new comer. Answer all administrative type of
questions to newcomer, hold the team meeting within two to three days tell
the newcomer about his assignment and contribution, involve newcomers in
work as early as possible give them some task to complete so that confidence
start building in them, invest some time and get some feedback from them.
Induction is a source to build and clarifying the psychological contract.
And as in recession every one is taking about cost cutting induction is a way
to cut the cost of recruitment for the replacement if newcomer left due to bad
induction, save the cost of training on replacement, save agency fee and
advertisement fee and can become a source of revenue a good induction can
increase commitment in the employee and a committed employee will deliver
quality and quality bring customers and revenue to organization and that’s
what organizations are looking in recession time.
Employee retention refers to the preservation of the workforce of the
organization. Nowadays, retaining a good performer for a decade is a mega
accomplishment. Employee retention especially of your best talent is a key.
The employee is given a variety of incentives and in return employee gives
their commitment and loyalty to the organization. Employee retention is one of
the most important outcomes of all the HR activity in the organization. This is
so because of the following reasons
All organizations are looking for a sustainable competitive advantage. The
most difficult to duplicate competitive advantage is its human capital.
Therefore to maintain that success it is integral to have the creative minds
behind that success.
UK economy is based on service industry as mentioned before 70% of GDP is
form service sector. In service sector customer retention is based on
employee retention. In most cases an employee leaving connect to all his
customers leaving as well.
In most case organizational knowledge is not explicitly present. Rather it is
apart of the employee’s experience as well. When that employee leaves the
organization a lot of important tacit knowledge is lost. In the era of knowledge
workers this becomes even more a critical issue.
Due to recession organizations need top performers to stay with them to
innovate and provide high quality of services to create competitive advantage.
A company with a high turnover has to bear additional costs to find a
replacement for that position.
During recession organization think that people will not leave because of fair
of not finding another job but this is not true high performer of the
organizations the source of their competitive advantage or on more risk to
leave. As Fairli (2009) pp 22 mentioned what organizations are thinking in
time of recession “Why should we care if employees are happy? We're in a
recession. Shouldn't they be thankful to have jobs?" That's the attitude some
employers may have in the current economic climate.” Loyalty is two-way
Recessions are taken to be the announcements of layoffs.
Employee morale reach rock bottom in a downsizing within an organization. In
such job un-security the top performers are the first to leave the organization.
The top talent knows that they can get a job anywhere. Baird & Smith (2009)
mentioned “High-performing individuals are actually more at risk of walking
out the door during economic downturns.” Even in a recession some
companies have companywide retention policy. The no-layoff policy at
semiconductor in situations where a layoff is unavoidable or for dead wood,
the key talent can be retained by open communications in the process. Due to
the Sterling is coming down in comparison of euros and dollars talent is going
out in Europe and other areas where the recession is over and they have job
security and the pay is good As Churchard (2010) Academic talent could be
attract away from the UK in an increasingly competitive international market
as budget cuts bite. Fresh graduates can leave the jot it is necessary to
communicate and need to inform them about carrier growth in the
organization. As Davis & Mirza (2009) pp1 “They had no idea how to get
promoted in their current organizations, because many leaders came from
outside-and the students weren't willing to wait to figure out how to advance.”
Steps an organization can take to improve retention are
Exit interviews or other source to know why employees are leaving the
organization. Is the first step to stop it.
Through financial and non financial rewards like more pay, bonuses career
opportunities and work life balance.
HR needs to listen to employees and do it regularly so that employee knows
that some one is in the organization for them. Create trust between
employees and organization. Through embedded physiological contract.
Give employees quality workplace, development, training and social
opportunities or anything which is valued by workforce.
Give competitive pay this can be hard in recession but to retain organization
have to compete with other organizations for internal customers. Inform the
employee about full package like bonuses, incentives tell them what total they
Due to recession pay rise is limited can get employee participation and
involvement through non monitory incentive like job satisfaction, by employee
voice involve in decision making through financial, job and communication
and information involvement.
Regular goals and tasks are source of motivation but set realistic and
achievable goals give smart targets, specific, measurable, achievable,
realistic and timely. It will become frustrating if the goals are not achievable.
Give flexibility to the workers instead loosing the worker retain the knowledge,
Give part time, flexible contracts, work from home and what ever employee
Give performance rewards but after proper and transparent appraisal system.
This is good for efficiency; increase in commitment and for boosting the
morale in this depressing time.
Acknowledge employee contribution towards organization growth there is no
cost on saying “Thank You”
In recession a highly trained, motivated workforce which know the realities of
the business and the technological change in the environment and has the
capabilities to adopt these changes in this recession time will be the biggest
asset for the company. During recession organizations are looking training
budget as an expense but as is a fact that knowledge worker is the asset for
the company they should look it as an investment. As Visner cited in
Anonymous (Jul 2009) pp 42 “training for our employees as an investment
just like new equipment or technology. Not training our employees would be
more costly to our future than any expenses that could be saved in the short-
Training and development in any organization engage the employees towards
the right way for the right things. There is big stress in recession on
employees for their job security. Training and development will give them
confidence and trust on the organization and as result employees will perform
well and will deliver better products and services. Better products and better
services will generate more revenue for the employer in this recession time.
As Brazeel (2009) pp2 “Developing the skills of the workforce not only
strengthens a company's competitive edge, but also inspires loyalty,
organizational commitment, and encourages continued learning for the
future.” The training should not be for only for transfer of information or how to
operate some new technology but it should be for acquiring knowledge. As
Chapman (2009) pp 22 “companies will be struggling if they have not retained
and improved their skill base. These activities are key to improving
productivity and competitiveness for businesses both large and small.” It is
possible to train the employees during recession and can increase the
organization knowledge. Human resource need to be creative class room
training can be replaced with low cost substitutes like mentoring, e-learning or
blended learning. When commissioning e-learning the organization should
work with the provider and adopt a modular approach so that content of
training can be reused or repurposed so that used for longer term. The recent
development in learning as mentioned by Ahmed (2009) is Electronic
performance support system which can deliver bite-sized e-learning that can
be efficient and cost effective technique because employees complete
relevant modules while they are performing their job. As Ketter (2009) gave us
three lessons regarding learning and training pp 10 this 2009 economy taught
us three things: learning must be linked to the strategic goals of your
company, your organization must become a champion of human capital
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