Managing Human Resources in a Global Downturn David Bartlett Economic Advisor RSM International January 2009
Managing Human Resources in a Global Downturn
TALKING Points Managing Human Resources in a Global Downturn
• The sharp rise in worldwide unemployment rates resulting from the economic downturn has diminished the urgency of the global war for talent, as corporate managers undertake mass layoffs and workers focus on job security. But the long-term structural factors driving the competition for human capital remain unabated amid the recession: Globalisation, demographic shifts, technological advances, shortages of skilled professionals, entry of “Generation Y” persons into the work force. Companies that succumb to short-term disruptions will be poorly equipped to cope with these structural changes in the global labour market, while enterprises that strengthen their human resource capabilities during the downturn will be well positioned when the world economy recovers. The human resource profession is undergoing a transition from the tradition model of HR management (which focuses on administrative processes) to a “New HR” paradigm that emphasises the strategic dimensions of human capital management. The new model of human resource management demands HR professionals who possess an understanding of the role of human capital in corporate strategy, a capacity to navigate a complex and diverse global labour market, and an ability to engage young employees who bring different values and expectations than their predecessors. Effective human resource management also requires the active participation of senior corporate executives who can identify rising stars in the organisation, mentor aspiring leaders, and transcend organisational turf battles that encourage divisional hoarding of talent. The global recession presents an opportunity for strong companies to strengthen their human resource capabilities, including hiring of... [continues]
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