Growth and Cost Cutting

Posted in : HR Updates on 9 May 2013
Stewart Miller
NGA Human Resources
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Stewart Miller writes:

Growth and Cost Cutting…..Human Resources and Cloud Computing…..can these work together ?

The recession. . . Everybody has been talking about it. Up to today, it remains a constant subject of discussion. In fact, we’re in the middle of it. Or are we really? The answer would depend on how you look at the world, I guess. It’s a fact that managers have become cautious and fearful because of the recession and its implications for their organizations. We’ve seen cost-cutting instead of revenue growth and short-term measures are taken even if these are detrimental to the organizational long-term strategy. And alas, the recession reinforces the recession. Nevertheless, the world keeps turning and fortunately many people are searching for opportunities to progress.

The parallelism within HR is that HR managers have had to reduce their headcounts because of the recession, mostly in a hurry. Unfortunately, as we know, what’s done in haste is seldom done well. And it gets even worse when basic information gaps exist. How many people do you have, what are they good at and where are they? Without smart HR data, it’s really difficult to take the right decision. And there’s a significant risk that talent management will turn into talent destruction.

A consistent and sustainable human capital management strategy is fundamental for achieving goals. Every HR executive realizes that. But effectively aligning business strategy with your people strategy presents a significant challenge to many organizations. Not to mention the fact that budgets go down. Sad to say, such short-term decisions lead to the lack of talent in the longer term. The pork cycle has become a practice.

But as always, hard times can bring good things. These open people’s eyes to new ways of achieving their goals. These make people creative and accelerate development. Because in the end, no one will accept that things can’t be done only because there is a recession. What recession?

I think this is the reason cloud computing has become so popular in the last two years. It has been a blessing to everyone. Not the least to HR management, not as a remedy, but as a tool that opens doors that were previously closed. This explains why HR business leaders need to ensure they move with the times, getting the most out of new and innovative HR tools and technologies that are available.

To make this more concrete, one should look at the famous trio: people, process and technology. In that order. Because in the end, technology is only a means and not a goal. But for my explanation, I choose to end up with process, in particular, HR processes. Because from an HR perspective, the big advantage of cloud computing lies in its ability to deploy processes as a service. Old technology actually has impeded ability to sense change and respond quickly and appropriately. Cloud computing causes a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed: no more begging IT for attention, no more waiting for upgrades, no more negotiating license fees. From now, the app is on tap. It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electrical power in the beginning of the last century.

At present, there may be some scepticism around the cloud, particularly among IT professionals. But imagine what it would have been like putting the crew that runs the boiler and steam turbine in charge of electrifying a factory. The more relevant question is: can new technology help HR managers improve their work and get better results? Does the cloud really open doors for the HR manager who sits sandwiched between two contradictory goals, professionalization and cost-cutting? The answer is yes. But it only works if organizations see the bigger picture and change step by step. And yes, there are some pitfalls and key requirements.

Curious about what comes next? If the answer is yes, that’s a first challenge that you have already “crossed the chasm”. You are willing to change and adopt the developments that make it possible to change things. You want to move on and make your business grow despite the recession. And because you’re an HR manager, your first worry is motivating your staff to change. And beating the recession of course.

This article is correct at 04/11/2015

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Stewart Miller
NGA Human Resources

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