3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT January 26, 2010

Jan Rose is the market business leader for human capital consulting, and is a principal and senior consultant in the work force strategies segment of Mercer LLC. She focuses on implementing new business strategy for human capital through her skills and client experiences in rewards, talent management and human resources function transformation.

Q. How might business owners and executives maximize this economy to either build or improve their business through human resources?

It’s providing an opportunity to step back, re-evaluate and reset the human capital agenda. Everything is up for examination. Many of our clients are reviewing the effectiveness of all their HR programs, whether it’s compensation programs, training programs or performance management design. They’re assessing whether the programs are having the effect they want it to have for their investment.

Q. Is office restructuring and redistribution of responsibilities perceived as more of a hindrance or as a possible road to promotion?

We see this opportunity to redesign jobs as a very positive thing. It is the answer because there are things that are going on now that impact employee satisfaction — the bottleneck of career progression because the baby boomers are not retiring, the workload issues, the need for more efficiency. Re-examining the way that work is designed and reallocating tasks in a different way provides companies with the opportunity to build career paths that are not traditional and that address some of those blockage problems.

Q. Might loyalty to the company actually be higher now, after rounds of layoffs, among employees who remain?

Data show that loyalty has decreased, but that there are, however, best-practice companies that are managing this recession in a best-practice kind of way. They are communicating. They have installed a very good communications system to let people know what’s going on, addressing layoffs in a way that preserves the dignity and lets people know the why of the layoffs, and manages the survivors in a way that’s powerful, managing the people who are being laid off with kindness. These companies are generating that kind of loyalty, but you have to really work at that. It’s not the norm.