29 March 2010 #Employment
From an HR perspective, the immediate prospects as the country returns to growth, albeit very limited at present, seems to suggest more of the same. However making that assumption has long term consequences as the way staff are handled can lead to poor morale, lack of cooperation and potential staff turnover. It is certainly true that as we move into what hopefully will be a period of sustained growth, retaining top talent will be a critical success factor. This cannot be taken for granted. The emphasis needs to be on improving productivity as hopefully, export led increases in production become more widespread.
Handling a redundancy programme to lose a small proportion of total staff is probably more difficult to handle than large ones where the economic justification is clear for all to see. Increasing production with minimal or no cost increase can often require changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment. Short term, ad hoc, changes to hours, working patterns and pay need to be reflected in actual changes to T&Cs if they are not going to become a problem in the medium/long term. Changes to T&Cs need careful consideration, planning, communication and nerve to see them through. This detailed work in HR Departments and line management, is often taken for granted by senior management. HR Departments, which are often subject to the same types of restructuring, must be allowed to complete the changes if the business is going to move on and deliver more secure jobs and prospects for all concerned. The way these changes are made can make a significant difference to those staying as well as those leaving. Throughout this process HR must focus on the key business objectives if it is to remain fully aligned.
Forbury People Consultant
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