Hewitt Releases HR Monthly Watch Report and Provides Key Strategic Recomendations

2009-05-19 16:21 1004

Grasp the Timing and Rhythm, Use Leadership Skills Flexibility

SHANGHAI, May 19 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Hewitt recently released the 2009 HR Monthly Watch report, and as the current economic continues to unfold, companies are under greater pressure to look even harder for ways to control costs and scale back where possible in order to achieve their top line and to protect their bottom line. But for companies that want to succeed in the long-term, the focus is not just on cost reduction, but on achieving revenue growth and establishing leadership during the downturn

Hewitt's March 2009 HR Monthly Watch, based on the responses from 207 participant organizations, reveals that although the chemical, auto, semiconductor and electronics industries are still the ones that have been impacted the most, but the situation shows improvement in these industries other than in electronics. In terms of geographic location, 1st tier cities and the Pearl River Delta 2nd tier cities remain the most impacted, while the northeast district and Chengdu&Chongqing slipped a little further in March 2009. The study also indicates that things seem to be getting a little better in companies focused on export.

By the end of March, forecasted salary increase for 2009 was 4.8% (including those who have implemented a salary freeze) -- as compared with 5.8% in February. More than two thirds of participants have reported having plans to control compensation costs, which is 3% higher than the result of February.

Organizations around the world are facing the unenviable challenge of coping with the economic and financial crisis. The fact that this crisis is unprecedented means that there is no easy way to help us all navigate through it.

Jenny Li, managing director of Hewitt Greater China, commented: "Facing the extreme uncertainty in today's business environment, leaders are often found struggling to advance from 'wait and see' to 'action.' Given China's past decades of fast economic growth, the situation is even more challenging to many of our young leaders who have never been faced with such a challenge. "

While there are different views held by economists about the shape of this recession, there are fundamentally two critical phases to manage, the 'DIP' phase and the 'RENEWAL' phase. Studies on previous recessions indicate that those companies who do the right things in these phases will not only survive in the short-term, but also will be able to build significant long-term competitive advantages for the future.

While there are no easy answers to navigate the downturn, based on Hewitt's experience and research, below are some best practices worth considering

1. In the current challenging environment, it is not enough simply to

have strong individual leaders. Rather, leaders have to operate as a

real team with a strong sense of urgency and cohesion, especially at

the top executive level.

2. With China's past euphoric economic success, stakeholder expectations

have yet to adjust as sharply as the market has changed. Leadership

teams have to manage expectations properly; the company must focus on

doing the RIGHT things, which is more critical than struggling to

deliver short-term business results.

3. With many uncertainties, employees may lose confidence and trust in

their leaders. Companies need to instil a sense of confidence and

trust through transparent communication and engaging key talents.

4. Navigating through the DIP and RENEWAL phases does call for some

different capabilities in the leadership team, however, timing, sense

of urgency and execution are key.

5. There are three key components that leaders as a team need to quickly

agree upon and start to act.

a) Form the right VIEW: the top leaders need to build and articulate

a collective view on the road ahead for the business. Given the

fast changing environment, the VIEW shall be regularly reviewed

and fine tuned, taking into consideration the latest market


b) Define the right AGENDA: the leadership team should work together

to craft a specific set of short and long-term actions to leverage

advantages from the crisis. The progress of this agenda shall be

reviewed regularly.

c) Focus on the right PEOPLE: ensuring that we are retaining and

engaging the people who will make us win in the future is

critical. Identifying capabilities needed during the DIP and

RENEWAL phase is the starting point.

6. It is critical to follow up regularly to monitor the progress that

has been made and to identify new developments in the market. Leaders

need to share actively what successes have been achieved and what has

been learned from emerging trends.

Audrey Widjaja, Talent Consulting Director for Hewitt, commented: "In the recovery period, leaders need to be forward-looking and rethink of the business in order to develop new customers, new products, new business. At the same time leaders need to foster a leadership team to deal with the dual challenge of cost control and business growth."

About HR Monthly Watch

To track the impact of the economic crisis on businesses in China, Hewitt has launched HR Monthly Watch, a comprehensive study of how companies are, from an HR perspective, managing their business in the downturn. The study captures data points and insight around sales growth, working hours, compensation, benefits, training, performance, and a host of other factors. HR Monthly Watch provides up-to-date insights on dynamic market trends, and serves as a timely reference to guide decision-making.

The information in this report represents the views and opinions of 207 companies collected in March 2009.

About Hewitt Associates

Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) provides leading organizations around the world with expert human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions to help them anticipate and solve their most complex benefits, talent, and related financial challenges. Hewitt consults with companies to design and implement a wide range of human resources, retirement, investment management, health management, compensation, and talent management strategies. As a leading outsourcing provider, Hewitt administers health care, retirement, payroll, and other HR programs to millions of employees, their families, and retirees. With a history of exceptional client service since 1940, Hewitt has offices in 33 countries and employs approximately 23,000 associates who are helping make the world a better place to work.

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Source: Hewitt Associates
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