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Rethinking HR

Rethinking HR

by Frank Roche on September 29, 2008

in Economy

Happy bailout, my HR friends. Something like $700 billion is coming Wall Street’s way. But the odds are, not your way.

Human resources is going to be a different beast when this economic crisis is over. This isn’t going to be your father’s HR. Heck, this isn’t even going to be your HR when this is all over. This is one of those deals like freshman chemistry for pre-med: Take a look left and take a look right. Those people sitting next to you won’t be there by the time this class is over.

I’m not trying to be an alarmist. In fact, I think for the talented people in HR, this can be your shining moment. For people who are junior functionaries or are walking demonstrations of “The Peter Principle,” buh-bye. Have a nice day. Thanks for flying with us.

Here’s what is gonna happen: If you’re working in an affected industry, you”ll be asked to exit people. Those who aren’t in HR know this as “being fired.” Lots of people are going to lose their jobs. People you know. Friends. Family members. If you’re lucky, you won’t be asked to turn out the lights as the last person out the door. It’s gonna be a real headache. That’s the really bad stuff.

Here’s what else is gonna happen: Your best talent is going to get jumpy. Their stock options are underwater and have no chance of recovery. Pay raises — hah! Benefits? I’m gonna guess that even Google is going to cut back on their Skittles budget. And when times are tough, you need your best people. What you did during the halcyon days are going to come back in karma now. I hope you treated them well.

So now’s the time to rethink HR. It’s your time. It’s time to dig in, move fast, and make money. The time for thinking big thoughts is over. It’s time for action.

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