The Troubled Economy: Lessons for HR

There certainly is no lack of news on the United States’ troubled economy. If you are in HR should you pay attention to what is going on? Most certainly because there are lessons for HR in what is occuring. My friend and fellow blogger Kris Dunn had a great post at The HR Capitalist  entitled 2 Great Reads For HR Pros to Show They Know What’s Up Re: Recession/American Debt Situation… that provide you with some great information.
Why should you be aware of the implications of the debt issues? Well your employees may look to you for guidance, after all their retirement benefits are being effected as well as any potential increases that the company may have been planning. Or, they may be wondering if the company is now going to be cutting back and they wonder if their jobs will be on the line. You need to be able to answer these questions with some apparent understanding of the economic situation of the company and the country.
In the Sunday paper columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a very good and informative piece entitled Win Together or Lose Together. If you haven’t read it you should. He gives a perspective on recession versus a contraction and the effect of having a populace that is “deleveraging” rather than spending. He says to fix this will require “…the kind of collective action usually reserved for national emergencies. The sooner we pull together the better.”
What caught my eye in his column was a statement he made about what was needed for us to compete with the many economies that we basically created around the world. He said “For us to effectively compete and collaborate with them – to maintain the American dream – required studying harder, investing wiser, innovating faster, upgrading our infrastructure quicker and working smarter.” Read that again! If that does not describe a mandate for HR I am not sure what does. HR has an opportunity to impact each of those areas.
Friedman made that statement on the level of the country. And he says we failed in those efforts. We got lazy and see where it got us. But you can also read that statement on the company level as well. If your company has floundered recently perhaps you need to revisit those areas and get your organization to


If you can get your management team to recognize this you will make a significant contribution to your company and probably surprise people along the way.


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