Hiring during tough times: How digital tech can be smartly utilised to enhance productivity

Uma Ganesh | January 19, 2023 |

HR heads should be able to support businesses such that their companies are able to withstand the pressures on their bottom lines.

With predictions of global recession looming large on the horizon, several organisations have been slowing down their recruitments or cutting back on their workforce. However, there are other important approaches that businesses should consider in order to manage their talent needs. As businesses have utilised digital technologies actively over the last couple of years, it would be useful to examine how digital technologies could be utilised to avoid or address the effects of recession with respect to talent management.

In view of the goal to reduce costs, the tendency would be to minimise fresh recruitments and also minimise spend on training. HR heads should be able to support businesses such that their companies are able to withstand the pressures on their bottom lines. Hence investment in competency based assessment technology would be essential to enhance the productivity of the existing workforce and undertake targeted skilling programmes that would bridge the skill gaps and help build a resilient talent pool. The training spend could be justifiable since the cost of not doing so would mean incurring additional costs in hiring resources and current resources being less productive. Such an approach would lead to higher staff motivation to acquire new capabilities and thus avoid the risk of being fired.

AI enabled tools would be able to analyse the roles employees perform and based on their potential, suggest role based skills to be acquired or enhanced as well as recommend career pathways for the future. Video conferencing software that became popular during the pandemic could once again come to the rescue of HR heads. Chatbots could relieve staff from handling mundane and repetitive tasks and with its 24/7 availability, employee engagement could be augmented with the mix of human and digital interventions.

Cyber security is another area which should be foremost in budget planning for talent management. Although it may appear that investment in cyber security measures may be superfluous during recessionary times, the risk of running into security problems far outweighs the cost of a secure talent management system that protects confidential data. Investment in mobile device management is worthwhile to be able to keep track of devices and ensure that the data is not compromised in the event of having to terminate employees due to recession. Accelerating migration to the cloud could make the organisation more agile and reduce the energy bills.

One thing that would be important is to protect the high performance employees. Engaging with them on a regular basis is a must. This time of uncertainty and recession will also pass and when the time is right to scale and expand, it should be feasible to do so without a time lag. Hence active presence in the social media to share positive developments and the use of websites to present successful case studies on an ongoing basis would be critical.

Originally appeared in Financial Express