The paper 'Human Resource Strategy During Recession" is a good example of a human resources coursework. The global economic recession that began in 2007 with the sub-prime crisis in the United States, spread across countries, particularly in Europe as well as those in Asia and Latin America that are linked through global production processes, culminating in the stock market crash and bankruptcy of leading banks like the Lehman Brothers in end 2008. Since then, there have been significant job losses in the United States and elsewhere. Some even consider the unemployment situation, with employment falling 2.6percent in January 2008 from the peak level of January 2007, as the worst in 50 years (Reuters, 2009).
As many as 5.1 million jobs have been lost in the United States since the recession began, of which men contributed to 80 percent of the jobs lost, bringing the unemployment rates to 8 percent (O’ Connor, 2009). However, job losses are an extreme situation and are more prevalent in industries like construction, hotels and retail that are male-dominated and require less education. While in the earlier recessions in the 1990s and early 2000, job losses were higher among the white-collared employees, this time it is higher among the less educated than among the college-educated.
The exception perhaps is the well-paying jobs in Wall Street that was induced by the stock market crash (Leonhardt, 2009). In this scenario of economic downturn and job losses, managers have more ways of negotiating human resource strategies in line with business strategies. HR departments are being called in to assess and manage manpower so that organizations can tide over the difficult times more effectively.
In the uncertain times when employees are insecure, HR managers have the leeway to reorganize employee hierarchies, which had been difficult in the boom times when retaining employees was more of a challenge. Designing of training problems, earlier looked upon as one of the tasks of an HR department, is now becoming more critical to increase employee productivity. In this paper, I will discuss various ways in which managers are attempting to redefine the relationship with employees and which of these strategies are most closely linked with business strategies. HR professionals’ , roles are defined as “ functional experts” , “ business partners” , “ facilitators for change” and “ productivity consultants” (Ulrich, 1988 quoted in Granell, 2000).
Typically, the tasks of the human resource department include 1) recruitments: a selection of possible candidates, organize interviews and process the pre-recruitment and joining process, 2) induction of new employees: assign them job responsibilities, acclimatize them with the organization culture, training related to health and safety issues, 3) training and development: focused on the needs of the organization and enabling individual development of each employee also benefiting the organization, 4) appraisal: for the purpose of promotions, increments as well as identifying development needs of employees, 5) engage in disciplinary action on employees when and if necessary, 6) managing the payroll system in association with the separate payroll section, 7) engage on motivational work practices, 8) organize termination and retirement of employees as well as downsizing of employee force if needed (times100). Technical skills and IQ levels are essential for any managerial job but in all modern organizations, particularly for an overseas assignment, emotional intelligence (EI) is no less important (Jassawala et al, 2004).
It can be estimated by asking the managers questions on situations they are likely to face on their assignment. Other personality traits, like the sense of humor, optimist attitude, adventurous nature and enthusiasm for interacting with different types of people are also essential for such assignments. In most modern organizations, psychometric tests, besides testing their domain knowledge, are done on candidates to judge whether they are suitable for the role. EI analysis becomes all the more critical for employees to function in the uncertain times of a recession.
Reuters, SF Fed economist-Worst job-loss recession in 50 years, February 19, 2009, http://in.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idINCHB00057820090219
O’Connor, Sarah, Men Bear the Brunt of US Job Losses, Financial Times, April 19, 2009, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d28c79d6-2d11-11de-8710-00144feabdc0.html
Leonhardt, David, Job Losses show Breadth of Recession, New York Times, March 3, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/business/04leonhardt.html
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