What the Trump effect means for HR

KPMG’s Soula Courlas on global changes and challenges, and how HR leaders should tackle them

What the Trump effect means for HR

As the winds of change swirl ever faster for HR professionals, it’s increasingly hard to keep up with what’s new or different – whether in Canada or further afield – and how it might impact your business.

KPMG partner and national lead for people and change services, Soula Courlas, is across all of the many developments, and shared her expert insights with HRD ahead of her speech at the HR Leaders Summit in November.

While putting international political and economic uncertainty back of mind – or, at least, ignoring US President Donald Trump and related turmoil – might feel more convenient for HR professionals, Courlas says it’s important that industry insiders are across all of those issues, from international leadership changes to Brexit to free-trade developments, and everything in between.

“What is happening now with all these provocative things that are being introduced by leaders around the world is creating a sense of instability, of potential angst, of fear, of loss, and a lot of uncertainty about the future,” Courlas says.

“It’s one of the biggest challenges and changes right now with this globalization – how can HR provide a sense of stability and calmness in the eye of this global storm.

That includes impacts on how business units operate – whether they’re expanding or shrinking, and who can work for them – as well as ensuring your organization’s leadership is sufficiently agile to adjust as the playing field changes.

“A lot of organizations are global, so whatever’s happening on the international scale is going to affect leaders and HR here in Canada. There’s the need to become much more focused, macro-focused, on global and other economic impacts to local organizations. HR needs to be on top of that to anticipate what the implications might be.”

It’s important, too, to be open and candid with employees about changes in the business, and how those might affect staff.

“Should they worry or should they not? Being transparent, communicating, giving people an opportunity through focus groups or some kind of forum where people can get together and talk about what is happening and get people’s insights into what they may need to feel a bit more comfortable and stable.”

She suggests HR also “take a role of creating a bit of a filter” – “being able to sift through what’s important to worry about and what’s not, and providing a sense of strength, stability and groundedness that employees and others in the organizations need to feel that they can weather these particular storms.”

Soula Courlas will speak at the HR Leaders Summit in November.

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