3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT January 26, 2010

As the CEO of ManagEase Inc., S.A. “Sam” Murray provides leadership and vision for the company in areas of emerging human resource strategies and the management of human capital for improved business performance and profitability. She advises and consults with firms during periods of merger, acquisition and reorganization, and she has also enjoyed successful careers in the legal and retail industries.

Q. How might businesses maximize this economy to either build or improve through human resources?

It’s an opportune time to evaluate all employee programs. It’s tough to eliminate benefits, reduce positions and redesign commission programs — the employees push back on that — but now that companies are struggling, it’s prudent to re-evaluate all of those programs and redesign your plan on how to make the company stronger. We’re seeing companies that have really stripped down. They responded quickly to a changing economy, changed their scale, and instead of treading water, they retooled, and now they’re positioned for growth.

Q. Are new responsibilities for employees perceived as more of a hindrance or as a possible road to promotion?

Employees have recognized the opportunity to still build right now and they know their resumes will be enhanced by these new responsibilities. But business owners need to know that, as the economy improves, if the dollars don’t start catching up with these extra assignments, employees will leave for greener pastures. All the cards are up in the air and employees are just going to play them as they fall.

Q. Might loyalty to the company actually be higher now among employees who remain?

You cannot buy loyalty. As a business owner myself, I rely on employee loyalty, but I recognize that if an employee’s needs are not being met, whether in terms of compensation, career opportunity or environment, they will move on. Any employer who thinks they’ve bought loyalty by saving someone’s job is going to be disappointed, because almost every employee is going to leave at some point. It shouldn’t be about loyalty — it should be about survival, about retaining the reputation of the company and the quality of products or services, and about being fair-minded on how you treat employees who are working in dire situations.