Creating People Advantage in Times of Crisis

Creating People Advantage in Times of Crisis

          
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Creating People Advantage in Times of Crisis

How to Address HR Challenges in the Recession
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  • In This Article
    • It is essential that companies look beyond immediate events as they endeavor to counter the damaging effects of the recession.
    • Once companies understand their needs by job category, they can make smarter and longer-term choices about their workforce.
    • A crisis can be a great opportunity to cut back on unnecessary reporting procedures and performance management measures.
     

    The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the European Association for People Management (EAPM) surveyed 3,348 executives and conducted more than 90 interviews with senior leaders across Europe to understand current and future human-resources challenges. This White Paper previews the findings concerning the specific people challenges—and opportunities—presented by the recession. It also lays out two likely recovery scenarios and a 12-point HR action plan to assist companies in addressing strategic people issues during the crisis and beyond. In the Appendix, we break down how companies within various countries and industries are addressing the recession. These data, together with the accompanying analysis, are based on the responses of 883 executives who answered questions about the actions they plan to take in this crisis.

    There are dangers for companies that cut their workforce too hastily. While people may appear to be in great supply today, the demographic tide will soon turn. The talent pool is poised to shrink, as the baby boom generation retreats into retirement and as younger—and smaller—generations enter their prime working years.

    But there are opportunities, too. Despite the troubling economic outlook, companies can start to lay a strong foundation for creating people advantage in the future. And there is no better time to start than now, when so many competitors are treating their people as dispensable rather than as sources of competitive strength and creativity.

    Our conclusions are based on a comprehensive survey of 3,348 executives in more than 30 European countries and more than 15 industries. The joint BCG/EAPM survey was conducted between November 2008 and January 2009. The survey has been supplemented by a series of interviews with more than 90 senior leaders of large corporations, mainly HR members of the management board, between December 2008 and March 2009. The full results of the survey and interviews, along with a list of all interview partners, will be published in June in the latest installment in our series of Creating People Advantage reports.

    In our survey, 29 percent of the respondents worked at companies with more than 10,000 employees, 31 percent worked at companies with 1,000 to 10,000 employees, and 40 percent worked at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.
    See The Future of HR in Europe: Key Challenges Through 2015, BCG and EAPM report, June 2007, and its global follow-up, Creating People Advantage: How to Address HR Challenges Worldwide Through 2015, BCG and World Federation of Personnel Management Associations report, April 2008.
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