New research released by Hudson on press day showed 48.1% of hiring managers wouldn’t replace staff as they left and 44.9% have redeployed staff elsewhere in their business.
“The global financial crisis has created an extreme level of uncertainty in the business community,” Hudson HR director Penny O’Reilly said. “This has impacted on the HR profession. The latest research showed only 14.1% of hiring managers in this profession planned to increase employee numbers in the June 2009 quarter. That’s a massive drop from the 43.7% who planned to increase employee numbers at the same time last year.”
The 160 hiring managers surveyed said no one wanted to make redundancies, but business had to react rapidly to cut costs.
“It’s creating a volatile work environment,” O’Reilly said. “Almost 61.3% said maintaining engagement, morale and focus among current employees was their main concern.”
Almost half (41.8%) had already made some redundancies as a direct result of the worsening economy. In an attempt to avoid this course of action, over a third (34.2%) had decreased their use of contract staff.
Focus on training and development
A positive trend was that almost half (46.2%) had increased their focus on staff training and development.
“We’re heartened to see this trend,” O’Reilly said. “As the HR profession well knows, effective people management is more important than ever in the current market conditions. Focusing on strategies to develop and engage employees is an excellent place to start.”
O’Reilly said there was no escaping “some very hard decisions” might have to be made in the short-term.
‘Delicate’ balancing act
“But those managers who fully engage their employees, communicate clearly, keep their drive to succeed up, will best position their organisations to pick back up when the economy rebounds,” she said.
It was a “delicate balancing act”, with more than half (55.7%) increasing their focus on productivity. That suggested many employees were working harder in order just to keep their jobs.