Human Resource Professionals Highlight Post-Recession Business Strategies in SHRM Report

Oct 4, 2010

Alexandria, Va. – Human resource professionals say financial management and budget controls is the top strategy to drive post-recession business growth in U.S.-based organizations.

The findings are detailed in “The Post-Recession Workplace: Competitive Strategies for Recovery and Beyond,” fielded last month and released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Six in 10 — 60 percent — of HR professionals said their organizations will focus on financial management/budget controls strategy “to a large degree” in the post-recession economy. Twenty-nine percent responded “to some degree” while only nine percent said “to a slight degree.”

The business strategy ranked second for operating during the post-recession economy is the global business/growth strategies focus area. Nearly one half, or 46 percent, of HR professionals said their organization will focus on global business to a large degree. Roughly one quarter — 25 percent — report their organizations will focus on the cluster to some degree while 13 percent will do so to a slight degree. One in six, or 16 percent, will “not at all” focus on the area.

“While some organizations will look for expansion opportunities in new markets, including globally, retaining current clients through enhanced service will also be a crucial business strategy as the economy recovers and consumer confidence returns,” said Mark Schmit, director of research at SHRM.

Increased client service efforts mark the third-most tapped post-recession business strategy with 43 percent of HR professionals reporting that their organization will focus here to a large degree. Following closely is 38 percent who said to some degree. For 14 percent of respondents, their organization will focus efforts here to only a slight degree and five percent not at all.

The report includes a look at 14 focus areas for business strategy. Rounding out the top five business strategies are the product development and the internal communication about the organization’s strategies and outcomes focus areas.

A little more than one third (35 percent) of HR professionals said product development strategies will be utilized to a large degree, while more (39 percent) responded use to some degree. Nearly one in five, or 18 percent, said their organization will focus here to a slight degree while eight percent reported not at all.

More than four in 10 — 43 percent — of HR professionals said internal communications will be an organizational focus to some degree while a little less, 33 percent, said to a large degree. Eighteen percent will focus on internal communications to a slight degree and six percent not at all.

“A focus on internal communications among the top five most utilized business strategies is expected given that rebuilding trust, internally, ranks among the top five challenges organizations face in rebounding from the recession,” said Schmit.

The SHRM report also asked HR professionals to what extent they anticipated that their organization will face challenges with various factors as the economy improves. The top five include:

1. Reinstating previously reduced or eliminated benefits – While 23 percent of HR professionals said to a large degree and 20 percent said to some degree, more expressed no challenge here for their organizations — 30 percent said to a slight degree and 28 percent said not at all;

2. Funding business operations – Though 26 percent of HR professionals expressed only a slight degree of challenge here for their organizations, and 11 percent noted no challenge at all, more are concerned. Four in six, or 40 percent, said their organizations are challenged to some degree followed by 22 percent who said to a large degree;

3. Attracting high-quality job candidates – Only 20 percent expressed no challenge compared with 41 percent who expressed a challenge to some degree and 18 percent noted to a large degree. Finding top job candidates is a slight concern for 21 percent of HR professionals.

4. Rebuilding trust among employees and the company leaders – Though most HR professionals said their organization is not especially challenged in this regard, a respectable 17 percent are challenged to a large degree and 22 percent are to some degree. Thirty-seven percent are slightly challenged while 24 percent report no challenge at all.

5. Offering competitive total rewards packages– More HR professionals than not report their organization is challenged in this regard. Thirty-nine percent note to some degree and 16 percent said to a large degree. Fourteen percent report no challenge while 31 percent report a slight degree of challenge.

The SHRM report on the post-recession workplace surveyed 373 HR professionals across small (34 percent), medium-size (43 percent) and large (23 percent) organizations.

A look at organizational sector shows that 54 percent of the HR professionals surveyed work in privately owned for-profit companies and 20 percent work in nonprofit organizations. Another 18 percent work in publicly owned for-profit companies and nine percent work in government.

To read the full report visit:

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About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


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