Managing the economic slowdown while holding onto their skilled employees will be the main HR challenge for organizations in 2009. The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés suggests employers make three resolutions to meet this upcoming challenge.
Focus on the long term
Even though the downturn has meant troubled times for a number of organizations, they will still have to face labour shortages and retain talent. In this sense, it’s important to continue to focus on a long-term vision for HR development. “Eliminating jobs might seem like a quick fix in the short term. But it will be harder and even more costly to attract and train a qualified and competent workforce once the crisis has run its course. That’s why it’s important for organizations to make sure they retain and develop their human resources, even in a cost-cutting environment. In fact, that’s their best investment for tomorrow,” explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, Ordre president and CEO.
When the economy is hurting, employees can feel insecure about their jobs. Many could be tempted to move to other apparently more stable companies or ones that promise better career opportunities. “In the current context, communication will be a major issue for employers in 2009. They will have to make more effort to improve communications with their employees, to explain the organization’s position and make sure that their workforce is kept current on a regular basis. Rumours and uncertainty are often worse enemies than the actual slowdown itself,” continued Francoeur.
Mobilizing the workforce
Lastly, in a tougher business climate, employers will also have to keep their workforce motivated and committed in order to retain talent. Although compensation is one key factor to keep in mind, other non-monetary rewards are also important. “For example, involving employees in the decision-making process or providing positive encouragement and feedback are efficient and inexpensive ways of maintaining morale,” Francoeur concluded.