By: Dr. Epitropaki Olga, The Stavros Costopoulos Chair in Human Resource Management and Development, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management, MSc in Strategic HRM Academic Director
Adverse conditions provide an excellent setting for HR to prove its strategic role, its adaptive mindset and its ability to build core organizational capability for the future.
If in times of prosperity CEOs mainly expected HR to invest time and energy in staffing, recruitment, talent attraction and performance management, what can they expect from HR in times of adversity? What is the current value-proposition of HR? It can still be extremely high if the HR can deliver some of the following:
1. Leverage talent.
Even though the available job openings might be limited, the HR must still be able to leverage internal talent, redeploy people in critical positions and invest in the employability of the existing workforce. HR also needs to focus on communicating a strong employee value proposition (EVP) as its impact on talent attraction, retention and engagement is significant.
2. Manage pain.
When tough decisions must be made, the pain cannot be outsourced. HR needs to find solutions that address human pain, help people manage the difficult transitions (e.g., by designing outplacement programs, designing training programs that help people that get laid off remain employable and marketable) and keep the employer brand of the organization intact.
3. Build resilience and positivity.
When people feel uncertain for the future, negativity tends to prevail. Emotions like fear, anxiety, disappointment and anger characterize workplace interactions and an organizational climate of emotional toxicity dominates. HR needs to find ways to build positive psychological capital amidst adversity (e.g., via training programs on positive psychology, investing on game platforms that help people find out-of-the box solutions for work-related problems whilst having fun) and help people remain optimistic and hopeful.
4. Cultivate an organizational mindset for change.
As the market conditions nowadays change in a dynamic fashion, organizations need to build a culture that survives and thrives through constant change. HR needs to focus on competencies such as adaptability, creativity and change management and ensure that people are equipped to deliver maximum results under flux conditions.