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Cost cutting strategy in hrm during economic slowdown


The reduction of the amount of money spent on the operations of an organization or on the provision of products and services. Cost-cutting measures such as budget reductions, salary freezes, and staff redundancies may be taken by an organization at a time of recession or financial difficulty or in situations where inefficiency has been identified. Alternative approaches to cost-cutting include modifying organizational structures and redesigning organizational processes for greater efficiency. Excessive cost-cutting may affect productivity and quality or the organization's ability to add value cost cutting strategy or cost reduction both are same. It is broad program where everyone is focused on reducing cost from each areas of manufacturing activity. cost reduction can be achieved through reduction, elimination, modification, substitution or innovation. All cost drivers are taken into account and with thorough analysis the best and least cost path is adopted for each activity. The best method to achieve results are to bench mark operating parameters to world class companies .This rives every One to match or even surpass these figures.

Why cost reduction

Where to implement cost reduction

Areas for cost reduction are


HRM is the process of acquiring, training appraising and compensating employee and of attending to their labour relation, health and safety, and fairness concerns.

Business is done for the people, by the people and of the people .HR is the most strategic field in the organization. It perform the activities like hiring training, compensation, appraising & developing employee which is the part of every manager's job. By performing these activities is the organization achieves it objectives and fulfills the needs of the individual working in the organization and society.

Change is the rule of present environment for any business to grow change is like a religion. This happens with the change in the environment like boom and recession. In both time periods HR acts a profit center for the organization. In the boom period the economy, it hires more number of people, creates new opportunity in the market, provides best talent to the organization etc. but in the period of recession also it act as a profit center. This we have discussed in detail below:-

If we analyses the current market situation it is the recession period. Most of the organization is following the various strategies to face this period of difficulty. This can be clearly seen in recent happening JET AIRWAYS-1800 EMPLOYS RETRENCHMENT. The aviation industry is the worst hit industry in this period. Jet airways retrenched its 1800 employees but later on due to political pressure it took back its employees to ease the situation. By doing this the HR department is trying to balance the situation with the current situation. At the time of recession HR mainly reduce its operations in hiring the new employees, compensation given is less, trains the employee to cut down the costs etc. Through these measures it tries to maintain the profitability in the organization in term of cost of employees, the production, working, etc.

HR make change in the existing policy of the organization which copes up with the situation in the market and can be able to make profit with the best utilization of available resources.

Moreover, HR priorities the activity in the organization according the most important and essential resources are planned and implemented properly in the organization.

So these are some of the step which are taken by HR department in the time of recession.


There are various HR practices which the organization can follow at the time of recession. These are discussed below:-

Most of the time, economic downturns are short-lived so keep the bigger picture of the long-term growth in sight. It's easier to invest training time for new recruits during slower growth period. It's also worth remembering at if you dismiss employ during a recession, not only their a cost, you will have to appoint someone to take their places when time gets better- and that can cost a lot more money in the long run.

Don't recruit a problem

In the first instances, it's essential, in tough times, to ensure that you've got the right people working for you. The recruitment process should be conducted with rigorous thoroughness.

These are three key areas to note:

do make sure that you ask questions that are relevant to the job bing recruited for and don't be afraid to build in some testing. Some excellent CVs don't hold up under scrutiny. Once the candidate was tested and evidence collected to see if he/she could deliver the skills claimed, the result were both surprising and disappointing.

Apportioning the resource wisely

Limit activities with limited business purposes. Instead, organize a sales or other company meeting with a clearly defined profit purpose. You can make it fun, for example, using a stable speaker. Create specific individual performance requirements from the meeting.

Reduce expanses that don't add value. Instead include low-cost but high-impact benefits at a time when the rest of the business world is cutting back.

Be honest with the employees about difficult times. Let them know how you are doing so that they understand true financial picture. Often employees are willing to make cuts and changes when they understand the facts. There are no winners if the business goes down. Talking clearly and honestly with our employees also helps to place reduce the rumors flying around the work place.

See the silver lining

Give employees positive fed back whenever you can acknowledge when a job is well-done, and consider non cash incentives. It can make a big difference to employee's motivation.

Irrespective of the financial climate it's reasonable to ask the employees to do their best. If they're not performing to their full potential, a suitable performances appraisal, encouraging input for both parties, can be useful.

Look for cost-effectives away to keeping up-to-date -sign up for free newsletter and subscribe to great value products and services which cut your costs, but still keep you up-to-date with practical information and advice, keeping you abreast of the ever changing employment law.

Keep on training your people

All the research shows that the companies who weather the storm best perform better because they keep up their training. It doesn't have to be expensive class room training. There are so many cost-effective-alternatives- buy a book(of series of books), arrange virtual classroom andonline training, encourage employees to be seconded on to other projects of work outside their usual sphere of activity.


The recession is an opportunity for HR professionals to step and contribute strategically. In the classical strategy paradigm, we begin by looking at the macro-economic environment. Then we look at the micro-environment - what affects us and our competitors. Next, we establish which strategic factors HR influences directly. Finally, we drop down to our tactics- The recession is about the creative Human Resources Management. The HRM Function is asked to bring new ideas, to change the HRM Processes and to develop or change the procedures. And this effort has to be cheap or it has to cut the costs of the organization. The HRM Innovation is easy in times of the business growth, but the recession is not good for big innovative HRM Initiatives.

The HR Management has to focus on unpopular innovations during the recession as the role of HR during the recession is to save money to the organization. The senior management expects all the support functions to bring innovative ideas and solutions which will lead to stronger organization, when the next growth era comes.

The point has to be focused by HR management during recession are as follows:


The HRM Function is asked to bring new ideas, to change the HRM Processes and to develop or change the procedures. And this effort has to be cheap or it has to cut the costs of the organization. The HRM Innovation is easy in times of the business growth, but the recession is not good for big innovative HRM Initiatives.

On the other hand, the top management understands the effort to innovate the HRM Processes better. The top management is in the search for the potential cost savings and they count every single penny brought by the line management. The HRM Costs are usually a very significant cost to the organization and the HRM Function has to be proactive.

The HRM Function has to focus on unpopular innovations during the recession as the role of Human Resources during the recession is to save money to the organization. The top management expects all the support functions to bring innovative solutions, which will have to make the organization stronger, when the next growth era comes.

The HRM Innovation during the recession has to focus on the following topics:

On the other hand the HRM Function has to find innovative solutions for the following topics:

The second two topics have to be done with the minimum additional costs and it is a really hard task to accomplish. The HRM Function has to have priorities in mind and the strategic impact of the HRM Innovations in the recession time. The role of the HRM Function is not to cut the costs for the time being, but to make the organization stronger and ready for the future growth.

As a leader and strategic partner in your organization, you have the tools to assist your company in surviving and thriving through these difficult times. First you need to start thinking strategically…

Following area should be looked upon:


In the current economic climate, cost cutting measures are still at the top of the agenda for many firms, so I thought it might be good to revisit this topic from a few blogs back.

Previously, I wrote about cutting costs through services volume reductions, as well as service scope reductions.

Recent presses as well as industry players are talking about demands for pricing concessions on a fairly consistent basis now. At TPI, we know of several cases in which clients are calling for a 5 percent to 15 percent reduction in the rates they pay for offshore labor.

Such cost cutting leads to pressure in the entire service delivery value chain. If I'm being paid less, then I need to find a way to reduce my costs as well as my risks (which have a cost because some of those risks will eventuate).

So, one action we can expect to see is service providers reducing their costs. On way to do that is by employing more junior (i.e. lower paid) staff for work that is labor-intensive. Now, if those people are less productive because they are less experienced or less well-trained, then the result could actually be an increase in the number of units (i.e. more hours)--thus, potentially increasing the total cost for the client.

And it's not just the number of hours the service provider staff put in, it can also be service buyers who have to invest more hours into managing a relationship with more junior people, thus, giving a double hit.

And that is the key. The focus needs to be on total cost, not necessarily unit costs. Don't get me wrong, in many cases there is a strong link between unit costs, volumes and total costs, but the end-game is to reduce total costs--with anything else a distraction.

With a focus on total cost reduction, the entire spectrum of options becomes available. Some may require harder work, some may take longer, some may work in the short term but cause significant longer-term issues.

Being clear about both short- and longer-term needs and consequences helps guide you through options such as volume reductions, unit price reductions, scope reductions, redistribution of work between service provider and client to improve efficiency and effectiveness, re-balancing of risk to the party best-placed to manage it, and numerous others.


Most Popular Cost-Cutting Move in HR: Streamlining

Streamlining is the most popular and effective approach to controlling HR costs, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Management and Administration.

IOMA, in its just-released HR Management and Cost Control Survey, asked respondents to pinpoint the five categories in which they were most successful in controlling costs. Topping the voting, at 62.8 percent, was streamlining HR processes.

The most popular choice after that, at 54.7 percent, was using the Internet to recruit.

Streamlining occurred on a number of fronts, individual comments from respondents revealed. While one medical company with 56 employees put together packets of all required HR information and made a checklist so nothing gets overlooked, another company, with 949 employees, implemented People soft.

"Headcount reports passed through five different people seven different times," the HRIS/project manager admitted. "We removed five steps in implementing People soft, saving us two work days."

Another company melded its training and development functions into the employment function and uses one manager - rather than two - to oversee both functions. A nonprofit association with 1,095 employees, meanwhile, moved a number of processes and related paperwork onto its Internet. "We are more productive because employees can access an on-line policy manual instead of calling HR staff," the group's compensation manager reported.

Internet for hiring/retention

HR managers also focused on the Internet this past year to find and hire employees, IOMA's survey found. Whether mid-sized or large, companies reported saving tremendous money by relying on the Internet rather than recruiters or newspaper ads to hire new employees for their firms.

"Using the Internet for recruiting rather than [using] recruiters has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars," a director of compensation from a Midwest company with 14,000 employees told us.

Added the director of HR at a midsize consulting firm in the Southeast, "Using Internet-based recruiting has saved approximately $30,000 in recruiting costs in 2001. Implementation involved posting vacancies on at about $350 each. Each posting generated about 10 usable resumes."

Other cost-control strategies

Other strategies that garnered high marks were automating HR functions via HR Internet or Web-based HR applications (41.9 percent overall) and asking staff to take on more responsibilities (39.2 percent).

For the former approach, employers reported moving all time card processes, benefits information, benefits and training enrollment, 401(k) administration, employee data changes and performance evaluations to a Web-based format, saving anywhere from $10,000 to $2.5 million.

Approaches by size

Smaller size companies, those with up to 200 and 251 to 1,000 employees) relied more heavily on the use of the Internet for hiring/recruitment to cut costs. Larger companies with more than 1,000 employees, however, relied on streamlining HR processes and procedures.

Companies with 251 to 1,000 employees are more inclined than other size firms to adopt or change HRIS systems/software to manage their HR department costs (48.6 percent).

Smaller firms with 250 or fewer employees, in turn, favored setting HR staff performance goals/increasing HR staff accountability (39.0 percent), rather than asking staff to take on more responsibilities.

Approaches by industry

Across all industries, firms cited either streamlining HR processes and procedures or using the Internet for hiring/recruitment as the most successful means to controlling HR department costs.

Interestingly, 100 percent of the transportation firms queried cited streamlining, whereas 100 percent of private practice firms cited Internet hiring/recruitment as their most effective technique.

Other interesting variances that occurred:


The time of recession most of the companies follow the various strategies to keep edge in the market. In many organizations the HR strategies are changed to cope up with the situation. At the time of the boom in the economy most of the organization hires the new employees, train them with objective of growth and maximization of the wealth and resources of the organization.

But opposite is what happens at the time of recession. Their focus changes towards the flatter and narrow management. The most common strategy is the COST CUTTING STRATEGY. They cut down upon their cost of recruitment, training, compensation etc. Moreover they retrench some of their employees. It is mainly done with the employees who are in the probation period.

In these period companies focus remain towards increasing the productivity more efficiency in the organization. They try to retain the best talented and most productive employee in the organization.

At the time of boom, company adds new products acquire new company in the order to get edge over the competitors. But in Recession Company instead of expansion or addition to new products, focuses on the performance of their existing product.

So by following some of these strategies, organization achieves their objective in the era of recession by cost cutting and effectiveness.


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