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The talent acquisition forms a very important part of a growing company. The need of highly innovative and high productivity talent cannot be felt more than in during these highly competitive years with high uncertainty of the markets and the economy.
Therefore to manage one's organization and to sail it through the winds of recession it is imperative for an organization to have a talent pool which is highly efficient and productive and can be relied on during the unfavourable conditions. This became very visible to the higher management during the recent recession when they had a tough time managing and laying off employees. Hence most companies need to review their workforce plans and their talent acquisition model during the recession phase for their organizational success.
The impact of recession on talent acquisition and management in an organization are:
Most companies freeze hiring: Foreseeing a tough year, in terms of lower potential demand and associated purchase power, due to recession most companies put a hiring freeze. As a result of this the newly graduated talented are often in a fix and are desperately looking for jobs. This leads to sudden influx of talent into the global talent pool which during the time of recession is usually highly updated. This provides an opportunity for the companies to hire exceptional talent at cheaper costs, thereby capitalizing through the recession.
Overworking the employees: Another major issue that companies face is as to how to extract maximum benefits by providing minimum costs. During the time of recession this becomes one of the prime concerns for most of the companies. During the recession as most employees are worried about losing their jobs and since there is no other opportunity to work in the market, they are often ready to work for longer hours and put in more effort for the same pay in order to retain their employment. This opportunity is exploited by the company is which already in a financial fix tries to extract as much benefits of its employees as possible. The result is that though the employees work beyond their potential yet remain highly de motivated and are continuously haunted by the fear of unemployment, therefore their productivity declines along with their motivation to perform. The result being that the company loses on its competitive advantage of employing highly motivated exceptionally talented employees. More over most of these employees, due to the distrust situation prevalent in the current organization, are often looking to switch jobs and go for a better organization once the market conditions go for a rise again.
Laying-off employees: Most companies were forced to lay off many loyal employees during the recession, to survive the financial impact. This impacts the remaining employees negatively, in the sense that they are hunted by the fear job retention and losing out to their peers in the next stage of lay-off, who need to take care of their current performance at work. Besides often loosing the employees can be very de motivating for the employees as they would be losing their peers. This makes the work environment very unproductive and hence adds to the already de motivated employees.
Some companies instead of laying-off try and retain all their talents and employees. These companies tend to employee the extra workforce in lower level works just to keep them occupied. This to an extend affects the employee morale and thus de motivates as he gets to feel that he has been put to do things which does not involve any competitiveness and his personal resource utilization. But this attempt to restrain from laying-off employees also develops loyalty amongst the employees thus inculcate a sense of ownership among the employees. They feel that even at such times the company cares for them and is making efforts to find them better projects, thus owning up to their employees.
To overcome these issues and top make the company highly productive a new strategic role of Human resource management function is required which will co ordinate between different aspects of recession management like laying off, hiring new employees, employee motivation and employee work environment and condition to ensure that a high performance work system exists and the productivity remains high even during the low years.
A very important factor for this strategic role is to co ordinate the laying off and hiring of new employees in a way so as to minimize cots while boosting productivity.
Laying-off employees: Laying-off seems to be the easiest thing to do during the recession, a sure and instant way to cut down the costs. It is imperative that a company or employer evaluates its employees and classifies them as highly productive, productive and not productive. Usually the distribution is about 10%, 70% and 20% respectively. Recession is a very good time to get rid of the 20% non performing employees, as they are nothing but a burden on the organization during the recession. To ensure this the company must have a regular feedback evaluation of its employees through the period irrespective of the recession's presence. This laying off will reduce the burden from company's head and at the same time raise its productivity.
Hiring employees: The hiring freeze approach during the recession is generally the first attempt by an organization to counter the recession. Although an effective tool one wouldn't want to direct/ divert more resources in hiring new employees when the existing ones seem like a liability. There are more areas of concerns of productivity management and sales increase; it is not the most efficient way of countering recession. Although the companies usually face the high financial crisis which makes the hiring costs usually unbearable, but during the phase of recession the talent pool is highly enriched. Exceptionally talented can be acquired at very low costs. This may seem to be troublesome for the short period due to attached costs but would be highly favourable in times after the recession, when the company would be using this highly effective talent at a minimal rate thereby gaining competitive advantage over the market.
Therefore the company should go for a changed talent acquisition model for recession periods.
Now the major concern that arises is how to acquire the top notch from the talent pool, which is highly overflowed with people of both excellent as well as mediocre skills. This is the phase where the HR department has a crucial role to play by improving its confidence interval and going for specifically high talented highly willing people from the talent acquisition model
The HR department has to change its talent acquisition model and has to acquire only highly skilled and highly wiling people as apart from its general hiring practice, where it goes for high potential and capable candidates both willing and unwilling as well as mediocre candidates who exhibit high willingness. This is to help cut the training expenses and at the same time make the newly acquired talent functional in the minimum time frame, thereby adding to the company's competitive advantage during the recession phase when it most needs it.
To ensure this a manger should follow the following in recruiting during the recession:
Be very selective: As a recruiter one must be very selective during recession as his demands have been minimized and the talent pool to select from has greatly expanded. Therefore a company must be very specific about the job profile and requirements while hiring so as to acquire the right highly talented person who fits well with the organization and is genuinely willing to work.
Avoid low bidders: During the time of recession most highly qualified employees who have been laid off often opt to work for a lower salary and compensation. While they may seem to be aptly qualified and highly productive as they are willing to work at a lesser cost, they would not be highly motivated employees and hence not very productive. Besides there is a high probability that when the recession passes they may quit to return to more deserving jobs, thereby leaving the company in a fix once the recession is over, a time when companies need to have the better talent to capitalize in the opening markets.
Match candidates to right jobs: It is a must that the HR department prepares a good job specification and requirement. It is imperative that the company hires for only where recruitment is required, so as to avoid any extra hiring. As there are a lot many candidates for every position who do not fit the requirements recruiters need to be very cautious while recruiting. Recruiting a wrong employee can cost heavily to a company as it will not only impair productivity, but will also affect employee morale, spoil the work environment and increase attrition. So companies must be patient and wait for the best possible talent for the job.
COST MANAGEMENT MODEL FOR EMPLOYEE HIRING
Everyone is under a lot of stress during recession. The business owners, executives, chairpersons, and managers all are under immense pressure as how to maintain the company's profitability and its financial health during this time, whereas the employees at lower level are worried about how to retain their jobs?
Recession may bring the worst fear out in the open for a company. The main question that arises in the mind of everyone during recession is "How to be cost effective and earn profits during recession without compromising on the Talent pool available in the market?" Due to this fear and stress managers tend to think differently and act in a way which further enhances the problem, so as to enhance profitability and productivity they tend to threaten and use other de-motivating strategies towards their subordinates to get the work done which may produces short term results, but it backfires in the long run. Once the recession conditions ceases these companies faces higher level of turnover. This higher turnover rates will in turn increase the costs for recruitment, hiring and training new employees. Now these are some of the expenses that would have been unnecessary if the management had tried to retain their employees and hire new employees as and when required.
Apart from retaining its employees during recession, it's equally important for a company not to neglect its hiring practices during recession. Employee hiring during recession can slow down but it should not be completely stopped. It will not only weaken the firm's recruiting capabilities which involves a well established structure, but there are many other reasons why a hiring freeze is not a favourable thing to do during recession.
Firstly, it makes no sense to completely stop hiring across the business because there may be some business areas that would be growing while other areas would be shrinking, thus there would be constant need of new talent for some business units. The halt at once instance could hamper the entire process and thus make the revamping of the process really cumbersome.
Secondly, hiring freeze also puts pressure on managers to retain weak performers as manager's fear that their positions can't be filled by new talent. Thus affecting their peer relations.
Thirdly, hiring freeze stops the managers from the opportunity to attract highly talented employees who might be willing to change their companies or are laid off from their previous job. All this will affect the productivity and profitability of the company in the long run. It won't be able to gain competitive advantage over its competitors. So it is very important for a company to retain its hiring program during recession. They can slow down the whole process but should not stop the process.
When recruiting process is cut down and the managers are forced to choose only a few employees from the large talent pool available in the market, it's very important for the managers to make use of the new talent in such a way that its impact on corporate revenue is the maximum. Thus the focus of recruiting managers is to place the resources to fill high impact positions that will help in maximum revenue generation. They should also prioritize those business units that are growing at a faster rate than other units.
STRATEGIC ROLE OF HRM DURING RECESSION
Human Resource Management is a strategic approach which plays a very significant role in managing the employees and stakeholders who are considered as the most valuable assets of any Organization. They are the individuals who contribute or work for achieving the business objectives set by organizations.
In the times of economic down turn HRM played crucial role as people were losing their jobs in large numbers throughout the world.
Now the point of discussion isâ€¦.
HOW HRM CAN PLAY A ROLE IN RECESSION?
One way is run the organisation a smooth existing way to survive the period of recession. There other could be like focusing on cost reduction and most importantly managing the Full Time Equivalents in the organization. In the period of recession it can play a role of change agent, it can assist top management. It also provides an opportunity to HRM and the organisation to change their culture by changing the obsolete old policies and introducing new policies with high standard to help the organisation in raising their standard to keep working when there is economic slowdown.
In the period of recession the main focus of all the organisations is cost reduction, which eventually is one of the main causes for the layoffs in the organisations. HRM also plays an important role in the cost reduction in many processes from recruiting to evaluating the employees. Two ways that could reduce the cost in recession period are:
To reduce the staff involved in the process.
To divide the responsibilities amongst the employees.
HRM first decides whom to retain and whom to layoff and then start diverting the jobs form the unlucky ones to the employees whom they want to retain in the organisation. The reduction in cost which is done by reducing the workforce but that could be done without reducing the large number of employees but the point that deserves a thought is quality which cannot be compromised. It should focus on the events which suck the money out of the organisation pocket and are useless and add no value to the organisation. And in recession HRM should focus on them to control the cost by eliminating them. In the period of recession the buying power of the customers decreases, cost of production, training, recruiting and sponsoring increases. This problem may arise if the organisation don't spend on HRM because human resource being the most crucial factor which could provide an organisation a competitive advantage over others, so conclusively an organisation should invest in HRM and should not neglect it because it would be required to manage the un-measurable asset in bad times like recession.
A brilliant example of dealing recession can be taken from India. In the recession time excessive firing didn't took place despite of huge no. of employee base and that happens because of effective HRM policies that were implemented by the organisation s. if we compare the HRM functions in India and other parts of the world, the only thing which comes to mind is that India provides services low costs, which is the ultimate objective of all the organizations. In India 3-4 peoples work for the same amount of money compared to Europe or USA where 1 person does the work for the same amount. In India the cost is being neutralized rather than being cut. The focus is to produce more with more workforces at lowest possible price and cost. Remember, laying off employees is not the only way to reduce cost, there are many other ways to reduce cost during recession, one of the ways to reduce cost by not laying off is by, utilizing man power with lower salaries, until the company can stand back on its feet.
During the period of recession companies implemented a lot of policies to retain and keep the faith of employees in the organisation , because if the workforce is secured about its job they relates themselves more to company and eventually will contribute more to organisation that will lead to higher productivity. In the recession times the main problem in the mind of employees was job retention. And if the company provides that assurance to the employee then that would motivate him to work even more hard towards achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation
The most promising and motivating examples are:
Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup worked on the pay of $1 for an year .
TCS and Wipro Technology didn't fire any employee although they didn't give any salary hikes during recession.
Although this could be seen from another angle that it was the benefit of the companies because they do not want to lose their competitive advantage by losing their employees because human resource is the most treasured wealth of any organisation which they want to retain at any cost.
So HRM can play an important role in recession period for organizations to bring that change and neutralize that cost which ultimately brings the recession period.
CHANGING DIMENSION OF THE HUMAN RESOURCES (HR) IN THE BUSINESS WORLD AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
During recession HR policies of different companies got changed drastically. Following are the ways recession has changed hiring practices:
Employees disengagement at work has increased rapidly i.e. from 2007 to 2009 the percentage has increased from 10 % to 30 %.we could infer from this that one out of every four leaving the company is potential candidate so the main challenge before HR was to decrease this rate as a result to keep the employees engagement the more focus had been started on Internal promotion and this had helped them a lot to retain the talent.
The recession years also saw the changes in the priorities all from the budget allocation to external recruiting to internal recruiting. The attention has been increased now on managing the talent and exploring the new diversity of skills, generations and capabilities. The main emphasis was to look out for the potential internally or improving the existing talents with the help of trainings, knowledge transfer sessions.
One important point came to notice was to build the strong partnership in both the ways that is both between employees and management .Individuals must be eager to develop the partnership and in return its the duty of management to be equally proactive on providing opportunities, facilities to fulfil that eagerness. What was done to achieve the same was that the all employees information (resume, work history, goals etc.) is fed from one single database that connects to entire system.
There was the shift in leadership attitude also towards the HR heads and executives in operational and strategies. For example goal settings and projection no more comes under Finance department so HR has come forward to deal with long term goals and projections. Also the development need of workforce are so harder to look even 5 years down the line is big challenge
Value proposition must be set across the functionalities and all the workforce of the company. There are many drivers which do motivate the employees but majority of them were like compensation, relationships between supervisors and employees and even the reputation of company.
Diversity of experiences, abilities, skills and backgrounds are the main components of any firm success and diversity includes everything from hiring, leadership development, and to identifying potential candidates so in nutshell we can say that diversity puts the onus on HR to push increase the talent of workforce.