HR can earn its stripes in tough times

by 12 Mar 2009

The current economic climate presents more opportunity for HR managers to earn their stripes than ever before, according to the Melbourne Business School.

For many HR managers, this is their first experience of managing in a financial crisis, said Helen Ormond, program director for Mt Eliza Executive Education, part of Melbourne Business School.

The early 1980s and early ’90s were periods of significant turbulence that changed organisations, the employer/employee relationship and working habits, said Ormond, and the present downturn is set to do the same, dismantling structures and prevailing practices in ways that are difficult to foresee.

“HR managers can enhance their role by becoming a trusted advisor to their business on people issues as long as they have a deep understanding of market conditions and the range of impacts on their organisation,” she said.

“Also, if they can speak the language of business and support their line management in turbulent times they’re on their way to earning their stripes.”

HR executives can add more value to their business by applying practical strategies to address business issues, including building compelling cases for change and communicating these with impact, she said.

In the short term, HR managers need to develop their skills to deal specifically with the impact of the global financial crisis and the associated people issues of their organisation, Ormond added.

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