HOW HR CAN SUPPORT AN ORGANIZATION
THROUGH – AND OUT OF – TOUGHER TIMES
By Melissa Campeau
There’s a volatile mix of elements at work for many organizations right now. Market and political uncertainty,
record-breaking M&A activity and a nonstop onslaught of disruptive technologies combine, in
many cases, to create some uncertain times.
It’s not all bad news: “For some organizations, that’s an exciting backdrop for change,” said Madeline
Avedon, associate partner, Talent, Rewards and Performance with Aon Hewitt in Toronto. “For other organizations,
it creates unease, and HR has a very significant role to play in managing all this uncertainty.”
Downturns usually mean a shifting of gears for HR.
“Typically, HR departments get a lot of pressure to find talent,” said Franco Girimonte, associate principal
with the Hackett Group. “But when they’re going through an economic downtown, there’s a constant pressure
on HR to reduce the overall talent cost.”
Badar Khan, a senior HR professional with BP in Pakistan, agrees.
“Generally, the people domain is the first area affected when things go wrong,” said Khan.
HR’s job in a downturn, of course, is much broader and more strategic than simply managing layoffs.
“HR’s role in these times is about helping companies achieve profitable growth during uncertainty,” said
Avedon. “How do they ensure people remain in their roles and keep generating revenue for the organization?
This is the question HR must answer. It’s not just about taking short-term actions, but about focusing on the
longer term. Eventually, the external factors that organizations don’t have as much control over will change, and
they will need to be in a position for growth.”
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ JULY 2017 ❚ 23