Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents People ask me what s the most important
function when you are starting an organisation
or setting up the kind of culture and values
that is going to endure. The discipline I believe
so strongly in is HR...
These are the words of the pres-
ent CEO of Starbucks, which
is a coffee company with a
strong brand for over 40 years.
This clearly shows that an
organisation must value its
greatest asset: people.
The Human Resource Management Asso-
ciation of T&T (HRMATT) has been the leading
voice locally of the human resource profession
since October 1989. Today, almost 25 years
later, they are partnering with the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM) to be
their regional training partner.
Robert Garcia, director of Global Business
for SHRM, was the feature speaker at a break-
fast symposium hosted by HRMATT on June
10, 2014. His message to the participants was
on the future of the human resource profession.
This is an excerpt from his presentation:
Where we stand today
The United States economy experienced a
most serious financial crisis in 2008, which
led to a downturn in its economy and many
other countries throughout the world. The
labour market was negatively affected as many
people lost their jobs or were underemployed.
In 2013, hiring rates were slowly picking up,
and HR leaders will need to focus on retaining
and developing their talent rather than seeking
to recruit from the outside. Many companies
remain reluctant to hire many new workers
in the current uncertain economy.
Openings for HR jobs which were posted
on SHRM s HR Jobs Web site in 2012 increased
by 46 per cent as compared to 2009.
According to CareerCast.com, the position
of HR manager ranked #3 on their list of top
jobs for 2012.
Also, the United States Bureau of Labour
Statistics projects an increase of 22 per cent
in HR employment by 2018 as compared to
a 10.7 per cent increase for all other occupa-
tions. Employers throughout the world have
added many new jobs to the market; however,
the unemployment rates in quite a number of
countries remain high.
Key HR challenges
Challenge No 1: Low Employee Engage-
ment: A Workforce Study by Gallup in 2013
showed that only 30 per cent of employees
are engaged whilst 70 per cent are disengaged
or actively disengaged. Gallup calculates that
low employee engagement costs businesses
$450 billion annually, which is more than the
GDPs of many countries.
Challenge No 2: Stressed, distrustful
employees: A survey conducted by Psychology
Association in January 2012 showed that 41
per cent of workers are experiencing work
stress regularly and almost half say low salary
has a significant impact on their stress level
at work. About 54 per cent of the employees
surveyed, felt valued however, 32 per cent
intended to seek other employment within a
year s time.
Challenge No 3: Reduced Resources for
HR Initiatives: Many companies have been
cutting the budgets of departments in their
organisation and HR teams did not escape
this. This is something we can associate with
because our companies have cut costs of train-
ing and development. The bottom line for
most HR professionals today is "do more with
Challenge No 4: Employer Brands Need
Rebuilding: During the global economic down-
turn, many companies lost their strong
employer brands and have not been able to
regain their former strength. Rebuilding
employer brand will be the key to business
success and the company s ability to convince
high performers to stay with their company.
Challenges and opportunities
What strategies can organisations use to
turn these challenges into opportunities?
SHRM has outlined a two-part strategy:
grow from within and build/rebuild your brand.
1. Grow from within:
The cost of recruiting from outside the
organisation can be very expensive. The average
cost of replacing an employee is at least 150
per cent of the employee s base salary, accord-
ing to William G Bliss, president of Bliss &
Associates, Inc, and the Bliss-Gately "Cost-
As organisations attempt to recover from
the economic downturn, skilled employees
will be the basis for competitive advantage.
However, this will be a challenge for many, as
72 per cent of organisations described the loss
of boomers experience as a current or potential
Developing your talent begins by creating
a culture that rewards people emotionally for
their efforts and meets their professional expec-
tations. Most employees give top priority to
interesting and challenging work and growth
opportunities. Career and development pro-
grams can provide enriching opportunities to
improve skills and knowledge.
Workplace flexibility is another key ingre-
dient to grow from within as it promotes suc-
cess, productivity and balance.
Build/rebuild your employer brand:
The objective here is to create an image of
your organisation as a "great place to work"
among your stakeholders and public. In creating
a brand image, communication is critical, and
you should use every communication channel
to tell your company story.
You should have a professional company
Web site, Facebook pages, Twitter and LinkedIn
accounts. Employee testimonials will help
reinforce your message advertisement or have
your key employees write relevant articles for
industry magazines and visual branding on
billboards etc are also excellent ways to build
According to Garcia, as the economy grows
slowly, HR leaders need to shift their focus to
strategies for long-term sustainability.
They must seek to address the four chal-
lenges outlined in the beginning of this article
by using the two-part strategy of growing
from within and build a strong company brand
image, where your organisation can be seen
as the preferred place to work.
The human resource profession is not about
disciplining people, but rather developing low
performers; it is about creating a culture where
people are treated fairly and being engaged by
their organisation. HR professionals must see
themselves as the change agent within the
organisation to drive the strategic direction
and enhanced competitiveness through its
Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip
LC, CCC, CLTMC, is a workplace coach and
mediator with the Mediation Board of T&T
and member with International Coach Fed-
eration (ICF) and board member of
JUNE 22 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | SBG17
Future of human resource
What's next for the profession?
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