Friday, July 18, 2008

Inflation's impact on HR function

Inflation is a cyclical economic phenomena, in a globalised world inflation in not just driven by internal economic variables but also get influenced by common economic concerns like global oil prices, entry and exit barriers to economies, food grain production etc. The current inflation trend is cost push inflation which is more driven by the rise in the cost of essentials goods and services. It even leads to rise in wages in excess of any gains in labor productivity, this leads to increase in unit costs of production and thus further spiraling prices.

Generally when Inflation is more demand driven (total demand for goods and services in an economy exceeds the available supply) it leads to increase in the production of goods and services. This means more employment opportunities and higher demand for skilled labour and if supply fails to match the demand for skilled and highly skilled labour, wages move northward and it also leads to higher attrition in organizations where even demand for labour is more.

In case of Cost push inflation the demand for labour does not necessarily goes up,on the other hand organizations looks for ways to reduce cost and reduce redundant work force as the cost of services and managing a non productive workforce goes up. Cost push inflation also leads to demand for higher wages to meet the growing expenses and organizations face dual challenge of managing external as well as internal cost push .This often leads to wage price spiral which means increase in wages will drive cost of goods and services.

In such situations it becomes very critical for the HR team to take the right decisions on:

  • Hiring the best talent-To ensure that the value added is more than the cost

  • Improving productivity - Initiate ways to enhance productivity per employee, to have better retention programs to engage the high performers.

  • Review the compensation and benefits applicable: Change in economic scenario drive the compensation structure, too much of market uncertainty would mean that variable and bonus component of employees needs to be aligned to marked realities.

  • Partner with leadership on decision making- Don't forget the role of the ear piece of senior leadership in your organization, HR has to come up with relevant findings and metrics which helps the organization meet challenges better.

  • Communicate effectively and timely: In such economic scenario it becomes very critical that right information reaches employees at the right time. Even if it's a decision which is likely to negatively impact the compensation or benefits of the employee, it's very critical that the rationale for change and how it will help the organization and its workforce to meet the challenges are well articulated by leadership and HR teams.

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1 comment:

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