Pressure to do more with less taking over

by Stephanie Zillman20 Nov 2012
Chief financial officers are all too often the friend or the foe of HR leaders, and according to the latest reports, HR is under increased pressure to get more done for less.
Put simply, productivity boosts are being gained by asking staff to do more with the same resources, according to a survey by professional services firm Robert Half.
In Australia, 45% of CFOs* said their companies have become more productive by boosting output from teams without providing additional resources, ahead of technology improvements (40%), and process and infrastructure improvements (34%). These findings coincide with recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that showed flat-lining employment figures alongside steady unemployment at 5.4% in October.
The study also highlighted that Australia is supplementing permanent staff with temporary employees more frequently than 12 of the 14 other countries surveyed. Some 33% of Australian CFOs cited improved productivity as a result of hiring additional temporary staff, compared to the global average of 26%.
Yet as Andrew Brushfield from Robert Half Australia warns, expecting employees to do more with the same resources is not really a viable long-term solution. If companies are overly reliant on this strategy, they run the risk of employee burn-out. “Long work hours and seemingly relentless deadlines can lead to low morale and reduced productivity ― not to mention decreased job satisfaction,” Brushfield said.
When hiring additional staff or increasing pay are not options, HR must ensure other ways to keep staff motivated are leveraged, such as flexible working arrangements and reminding staff to take their annual leave.
*300 Australian CFOs and Finance Directors from every major industry were surveyed as part of a global survey of 2,179 financial leaders across 15 countries.


  • by Max Underhill 20/11/2012 3:41:10 PM

    Do we have the right "people power" - we might be able to more with (less people) but more people power.

    We were asked recently to assess 19 manager against the ideal position competency profile. We found only 2 were competent and on average managers were 9% under competent with the worst nearly 20% under competent. The reality was these are people were "under powered" and could not be delivering at the efficiency levels expected. In fact they had thrown people at the problem rather than addressed what they had.

    We ended up reducing numbers, developing the people left and also implemented an empowerment based performance management system where the managers and employee took control over their outcomes and productivity.

    We would not accept this level of under power in plant and machinery but we often do with people.

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