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PHOENIX—Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows how senior HR professionals are dealing with the recession and preparing their companies for success after the economy improves.
Nearly 50 executive-level HR leaders responded to SHRM’s poll, which was fielded in February 2009 and asked what key problems the recession posed and how employers are addressing the problems. Their responses are reflected in Riding Out the Storm and Preparing for the Post-Recession Workplace, released Oct. 7 at the 2009 SHRM Strategy Conference here. (Contact Beth.Mirza@shrm.org for a copy of the report). Respondents were asked to write in responses, and their quotes are included in the research report.
The most critical HR issues that organizations are facing because of the recession are as follows:
‘As we started to see slight sales declines
several months ago, we were very careful
to only selectively fill positions that became open.’
Margie Harvey, MBA, vice president of HR, Miles Kimball Co.
To prepare their companies for success after the economy recovers, HR executives have expanded three strategies and programs: communication (80 percent), health care (76 percent) and workforce planning (74 percent).
Said Brad Holliday, PHR, CBM, MBA, vice president of human resources at Schaller Anderson Inc., “We’ve increased frequency of town hall meetings and other forms of communication from senior leadership to all employees (and vice versa) in order to increase transparency and deepen trust/engagement.”
To reduce overall health care costs, Hickory Springs Manufacturing has “opened a free off-site medical clinic for employees’ spouses and children ages 2 and up in order to curtail rising medical costs. We already have free employee clinics located at our operations, and now we have taken this strategy to the next level,” Packer wrote.
Workforce planning was defined in the study as strategic planning to determine the organization’s future workforce needs based on different economic scenarios. At the Miles Kimball Co., Margie Harvey, MBA, vice president of human resources, wrote, “As we started to see slight sales declines several months ago, we were very careful to only selectively fill positions that became open. We also expanded automation projects and continuous improvement initiatives to proactively control costs.”
Responding to Recession
HR executives said they initiated the following strategies and programs in response to the recession:
Cutting Health Care Costs
Survey respondents said their organizations are implementing strategies to manage health care costs without reducing employee benefits:
Beth Mirza is senior editor for HR News. She can be reached at Beth.Mirza@shrm.org.
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