What is the Key Role Played by HR During A Recession?

Written by Benjamin for iqDynamics

In response to expectations of an increasingly bleak economic outlook, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has taken steps to ease it’s policies by setting the Singapore dollar’s rate of appreciation at zero.

As the global economy heads into what is expected to be Singapore’s worst recession in decades, the question on everybody’s mind is; how are we going to get by?

 

During such challenging times, the cost of remaining in business comes into question with many viewing job cuts as inevitable. However, companies have an obligation to their employees during times of crisis and layoffs may in fact end up costing the organization more in the long-run.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the pertinent role played by HR in times of economic crisis and why Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) HR solutions can make all the difference.

 

Ensuring clear and consistent lines of communication

A recession is every employer and employee’s worst nightmare. For an employer, the question of business survivability comes into mind, whether it’s declining profits or loss of valuable clients, recessions push every business owner’s capability to the absolute limit.

From the perspective of an employee, recessions can mean a loss in livelihood whilst having to contend with the additional anxiety of worrying about job security.

Because of this, employers may become overly-concerned about their perceived value to the organization which in turn can lead to excess politicking and outright backstabbing as employees engage in a battle to keep their jobs.

Such disruptions will hurt productivity during a crucial period while at the same time destroy employee morale.

 

To combat such behaviour, clear and consistent communication from the leadership team is a must. In such situations, HRiS or HR information systems come into their own as they provide leaders with a means to communicate effectively with team members.

As has been proven by numerous experts, employee trust (or the lack-off) are one of the main reasons why employees leave or become disengaged. During such uncertain times, employees would most definitely benefit from consistent communications on the organization’s status and current direction.

 

Reducing costs by increasing efficiency

With an imminent economic meltdown expected for the year 2020, many organizations will likely undergo a hiring freeze with no new employees being taken on.

This rule is likely to apply for all non-recession proof businesses as managers scramble to keep their costs as low as possible. As a result, existing employees can expect their workloads to double alongside an increase in overtime,

Given that employees would likely welcome the opportunity to earn additional income, the HR department in turn should ensure that additional working time accrued is accurately recorded. In the past, supervisors had no other choice but to manually record and calculate employee overtime which was both time-consuming and inefficient.

 

With SaaS solutions such as that from IQDynamics, employees are given the freedom to record additional working times via a smart device or web browser. From here, supervisors and HR professionals are able to assess and confirm the inputs from the comfort of their own workstations.

Besides eliminating human error, SaaS solutions also ensure that staff are freed up for more essential tasks which keeps efficiency up whilst at the same time reducing costs.

 

Facilitating remote-working arrangements

As can be seen by the COVID-19 outbreak, telecommuting has enabled countless businesses to remain functioning despite the current pandemic. Remote-working arrangements allow employees to operate independently without having to report to the office.

One advantage of SaaS HR is that it utilizes cloud storage to enable HR professionals to access vital information and perform various processes over the internet without having to step in the office.

 

In the midst of a recession, organizations are understandably eager to slash costs wherever possible. Thus in the months to come, we may even begin to see various businesses choosing to allow employees to work exclusively from home, as doing so allows employers to significantly reduce expenditure on rental and utilities whilst still remaining operational.

As an added benefit, remote working allows employees to stretch their salaries further as they will no longer incur additional expenses from commuting.

 

Lower costs associated with SaaS HR

An undeniable advantage of SaaS HR solutions over that of more atypical on-premise HR software is the fact that they are more cost effective to run on the long-term.

On-premise HR systems require staff to undergo extensive training and familiarisation in order to be fully competent. Furthermore, such systems also require regular maintenance and software patches to be kept up-to-date which adds to their operational costs.

SaaS HR solutions are cloud-based and managed entirely by the software vendor thus meaning less downtime and lower operating costs. Additionally, these systems are significantly easier to use and do not require any capital investment thus making them a viable solution for organizations looking to cut costs during a financial downturn.

 

With the global financial situation looking grim, organizations would do well to take proactive action as a means of safeguarding their fiscal standing. While HR may seem to be  irrelevant during such times, the opposite is in fact true given the flexibility offered by a new generation of HR management systems.

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