One of the important aspects of being an HR professional is that you are aware of the world around you. Having been in that role I know that in reality it is tough to do the ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING that is necessary to fulfill this obligation. We get so caught up in the day-to-day work of HR that we just don’t pay attention to the bigger world around us. This is unfortunate as those things that go on in the world have an impact on our employees and our businesses and we should be mindful of that impact and how it might change what we are doing. You can read more of my posts on environmental scanning by putting it in the search box to the right, at least a dozen posts will come up. But in the meantime I am going to make you aware of some of the things going on that you should be aware of.
This one is easy and all of you have felt its impact, in a positive way. The price of gasoline has fallen considerably. Every one of your employees that drives to work has basically gotten a raise. It costs less to fill up that tank. This means that there may be less pressure from employees for an actual raise. At the same time any transportation costs your business has have also gone down. This frees up money for the business. Maybe you can do something with that money like actually give employees a raise. Just a thought and perhaps something you in HR should suggest to management.
The U.S. has once again become a manufacturing powerhouse. Since 2009, where industrial production was at an index of about 96, today it is at a whopping 123. The US has outstripped European production which is at an index of 103. Unfortunately this surge in industrial production has not been matched by a rise in jobs. Anyone care to guess why? Automation and increases in productivity do not require as many workers as 10 years ago. Companies have retooled and more robots perform the work that was being done by humans. There is however some good job news in those numbers.
According to McKinsey & Company; “In the United States, every dollar of manufacturing output requires 19 cents of services. And in some manufacturing industries, more than half of all employees work in service roles, such as R&D engineers and office-support staff.” So even though we always hear the US is becoming a service economy the reality is that a good size segment of that service economy is tied to the industrial and manufacturing sector. Those of you that work in this segment certainly need to make sure that jobs are “humanized” as much as possible, yet look for ways to automate some aspects of jobs.
This is probably about all the environmental scanning you can absorb at this time. I hope this has been helpful and informative. Keep your eye on the sky.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clipart