Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Suggested HR Strategies to Reduce Effects of the Crisis.

Suggested HR Strategies to Reduce Effects of the Crisis.


Dedicate time to positive reasoning. Hold town hall meetings involving staff and management on ways to tackle the challenges of the downturn. Hear the staff out. Take time to listen to the employees for confidence building. During such engagement, declare immunity to cover all staff, in which any staff that offers to critique the organization is insulated from witch-hunting sanctions and victimization. This gives room for sincere invectives and inputs, which may turn the organization around for good. Staff should be encouraged to objectively give their assessment of where the organization was, where it is and where they believe the organization should be and what should be done to survive the recession. After listening to the staff, thank them for valued contributions and promise to work with their inputs. Reiterate the vision and mission statements of the organization. Appeal to staff to do everything possible to actualize the goals and objectives of the organization. They should show more personal and collective commitment, loyalty and dedication to the organization for improved productivity. Seek their support for the strategic action plans. At the same time, strengthen the two ways communication process and dedicate time to feed backs.

Positive team culture.

Stress shared vision, strategies and belief in team culture, improved symbiotic team spirit because of the positive value addition of synergy. HR Managers should at this time radiate and give hope and lift their staff from negativity to positivity. A positive team culture stresses collectivism, and symbiosis. Do well to stress the importance of every team member.


Learning is the key that opens the individual employee to knowledge beyond his/her immediate reach. It helps to bring a strong barrier against failures and landmines that may bomb the organization out of existence. It assists the worker to open up to new initiatives, ideas and best practices. Design programmes that put the organization on top of the pack and enable the organization have a competitive edge. Staff may not necessarily be moved from their places of work because of the innovations in as e-learning and intranet services are becoming a way of life. Encourage staff to participate in workshops and conferences to enable them compare notes on experiences and learn from others. Where only a few staff can attend, those who attended should be given an opportunity to share their learning experiences with their colleagues at a forum.

Leadership focus during the downturn.

1. Transparency.
2. Accountability.
3. Courage to effect necessary changes.
4. Training.
5. Proactive strategy.
6. Sacrifice.
7. Incremental changes.
8. Address issues of insecurity.
9. Credible leadership.
10. Mentoring.
11. Coaching.
12. Nurturing.
13. Sifting down process between the effective staff.
14. Walk-the-talk.

Performance incentives.

. General Motivation techniques: Positive and negative sanctions
. Performance Incentive Bonus (PIB)

Review of organizational structure and procedures.

1. Reduce complex structure to a simple structure.
2. Increased autonomy to improve decision making process.
3. Concentration on core areas.
4. Elimination of tribal, political and racial considerations in the appointments of chief executives and recruitment processes.
5. Review of recruitment policies. It is a well known fact that in most parastatals of government in Nigeria, there are periods of employment freeze, unfreeze, refreeze and retrenchment at the fiat of the executive arm of government.
6. Review financial management procedures to optimize profitability.
7. Improve cost culture and asset utilization.

Redefinition of business value system.

This is a moment to re-examine the organization’s business value system, goals, roadmaps, strategies and practices to align with the anatomy and physiology of the organization. The vision of the organization should be cascaded down the ladder so that there will be a total buy-in; into the new ways of achieving the vision even at these difficult times. A shared vision sets the tone for the conscious will power to achieve the impossible.

Succession planning.

The chief executives of many parastatals of government are removed and replaced at will. The high turnover of the top management is the bane of poor performance of some organizations. It makes planning difficult, truncates strategic plans processes and kills any organization’s initiatives to achieve a well tailored succession plan, which is a Sequa-non for organizational success. There should be a reversal of this unwholesome process.

Attitudinal change.

. Paradigm shift in work culture and values.
. Stop the attitudes of being busy doing the wrong things. The aim is to change from busyness to effectiveness as being busy does not connote effectiveness. Being busy and working hard without focus does not translate to results the organization needs to be effective.

Job rotation.

Temporary postings to areas of unsaturated staff.
Equal opportunities.

Pre-retirement seminars.

Pre retirement workshop.
Incentives for early retirement (discourages swearing affidavits to cheat on age).

Personal income management.

Almost all staff are now very heavily indebted to the banks with slimmer income. It is often said that the “take home pay of workers no longer take them home”. Staff of various organizations have found themselves in this conundrum in Abuja because of the need to purchase personal houses in other to avoid the cut throat high rents in the FCT.

Engage external consultants to talk to staff on personal income management and the need to prepare for retirement. HR managers should help enforce the one-third rule of loans over which a staff cannot approach the organization for loans so that staff will be able to maintain and cater for their immediate families at this critical time.

Proactive HRM.

1. Application of emotional intelligence strategies.
2. Fair HR practice in the use of the carrot and stick approach.
3. Assessment of the competencies of employees and productivity level. Do not wait for the end of year.
4. In-plant knowledge sharing forum should be enthroned to encourage staff to share their knowledge in an in plant workshop. This will assist the organization to source for and maintain a knowledge pool in the organization.
5. Change management. Change will be effected in bits and not radically so as not to further stress the staff.
6. Review the organization’s customer management processes.
7. Enthrone an integrated research and development processes.

Performance evaluation.Enthrone an effective performance management system.

Performance evaluation should focus on:

1. The organization.
2. Departments.
3. Customer service.
4. Teams’ performance.
5. Processes.
6. Individuals.

. Solutions to challenges rather than sanctions, condemnation and the blame trade.
. Seek to be understood before seeking others’ understanding.
. Expectations should be mutually agreed using basic standard benchmarks.
. Consider individual strengths, experience, priorities, inner motivation (is he a loner, extrovert) and confidence in assigning tasks.
. Acquire the skills to align the staff skills and competency to align with the organizational objectives.
. Monitor performance (don’t wait until the end of the year).
. Reward top performers and ascertain collateral damage if any.
. Investigate and sanction poor performance.
. Watch out for the aftershocks of performance evaluation.

Any of the following models could be used to address the performance challenges that organizations may face during the periods of financial crisis:

. The Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton provides the theoretical framework for the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) with four perspectives - financial measures, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth. The BSC helps the organization to strike a balance between short, medium and long-term objectives. The BSC is a tested tool change processes.
. Ulrich model.


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