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Feeling the Pressure HRs? Use lessons from the last recession to get ahead of corona led economic downturn

Demand slowdown will be much larger than the initial supply shock

The aftermath of coronavirus pandemic has put all businesses across the world to buckle up for hard times. HR’s will put every effort to help leaders in reducing headcount and maintaining productivity in the long run.

Current coronavirus distress is not going to spare any SME, MSME or Large Corporations. No business within the private sector will be completely immune to economic stagnation.

It’s going to be the time when job security couldn’t be taken for granted and there will be pressure on budgets. And across the board, there will be a focus on abundance, efficiency and on cutting your cloth to suit the new economic state.

Now the past is repeating itself, this has already been seen during the global economic meltdown in 2008. With the economic slump, this is the burdensome time and the issues could be far worse, especially for human resources. The abruptness of COVID-19 directly strike humans, first from a health perspective and later from a fiscal and industry standpoint.

So what has the last recession taught us? First, it’s never just a question of job losses and funds to save. The issue is going to be more complicated than that. Because along with restructuring in corporations, there will be amalgamations, divestments, acquisitions, and business transfers. All of this implies change and pay structure harmonization.

In such a situation, HR really needs to help deliver commitment. Additional discretionary input by employees will make all the difference between companies achieving their objectives and becoming competitive in a difficult economic climate.

Business leaders will be paying attention to preserving credit lines, building cash reserves, cutting costs, and working on the P&L. It’s apparent to lose sight in the midst of all this to what happens to post the recession.

Once the crisis is bygone, we are going to find that there are enough talented people to perform the tasks that we need to engage in order for our companies to progress. And at that point, CEOs might turn their heads to HR and ask ‘why weren’t you doing something about it?’ You just can’t say because you told me to cut costs

When companies rule to cut costs to stay afloat, frontline managers are the hidden casualty as they end up with greater responsibilities but fewer resources. It is HR’s department job to alert leaders that they have to strike an equivalent balance between reducing headcount and maintaining productivity in the long run. Data on productivity, compensation, training, and other parameters related to financial results can help a company gauge the impact of downsizing even before the actual process.

During recession remember when majorly companies invest in technology and automation, then one thing is definite that we learned from past; that roles will be greatly altered.HR leaders are also expected to orchestrate employees in developing new technical capabilities that can prepare them before a recession.


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