HR can shed “touchy-feely” image by making tough decisions

By Paul Wilson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

“People are our most important resource,” many company executives say, somewhat piously, and then they proceed to show exactly the opposite. They’re perhaps unknowingly harsh in times that call for greater understanding, or they’re misguidedly generous when they should be firm. And the sad truth is this means that when facing tough times, their human resources decisions often work against their big-picture needs.

Solution? HR directors must take the lead and help their organizations think strategically in this area. They need to help position their organizations to deal with the difficult times we face now, so that employers and employees can enjoy the recovery that is sure to follow. Ironically, because of its unfortunate “touchy-feely” image, HR is actually in the best position to help make the company act with “more head, less heart.”

This includes taking a well-considered approach to workplace downsizings, one that considers the reality of financial problems, as well as the company’s strategic needs. What happens if companies do not do this?