Staff cuts should be last resort, says ACCA
The primary concern for all businesses at the moment is survival, but ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is advising not to sacrifice long term potential with short term thinking as its report Perspectives on Talent Management in Challenging Times is published.
Jamie Lyon, Senior Manager – Professional Development at ACCA, explains why:
“At the moment there is an understandable concern in businesses of all sizes regarding the current global economic conditions. ACCA’s concern is that these businesses will react with short term measures to cut cost rather than considering the businesses long-term future.
“Even in these difficult times, staff cuts should always be a last resort. Now is a good time for businesses to invest in their current talent pool and to add depth to that pool through continued investment in training and professional development. It could be as late as 2010 or 2011 before the world begins to emerge from the current economic situation, but when the upturn in the economy does arrive, you don’t want your business to be at risk as a result of short-term thinking in the past.”
For those businesses that are having difficulties, there are alternative ways to reduce staff overhead costs without compulsory redundancies — for example, reductions in working week days or caps on staff pay. Though such strategies may appear extreme, these are unprecedented circumstances, which may require unique policies, and such strategies increase firms’ ability to retain talented staff for the longer term, to be ready when the upturn arrives.
Businesses that are able to concentrate on staff retention and expansion have a once in a generation opportunity to foster high levels of loyalty through targeted employee engagement programmes and a compelling employee proposition.
Tony Osude, Head of Professional Development at ACCA concludes:
“The economic challenges many organizations are facing right now is unprecedented, but experience tells us that those organizations that take holding positions or “paths to growth” strategies with corresponding investment in people, typically are the fastest to recover and enjoy more sustainable commercial success over the longer term. Getting talent management practices right is now more important than ever, particularly with renewed organizational focus on returns on investment — it needs to be a key business imperative for organizations”.