HR is central to Regus response to downturn

The board of Regus, the serviced office provider, have not drawn their
salaries since the middle of last year in a bid to cut costs.

The company, which lost 60 per cent of its share value in four days last
June, has restructured its HR strategy to support its drive for profitability.

Mark Dixon, chief executive of Regus, explained that the directors have also
taken pay cuts to help minimise the level of redundancies, although sales staff
have been cut by 50 per cent.

"We didn’t want to lose people. If you lose staff, you lose customers
and eventually you will lose the business," he said.

Regus has intensified its sales approach and is trying to improve the
quality of its customer service. Goal-based bonuses have been introduced and HR
is focused on maximising staff potential.

It is also trying to recruit from non-traditional areas – older staff,
part-timers and former staff – and is offering flexible working arrangements.

Dixon told delegates at Richmond Events’ Human Resources Forum: "We are
trying to achieve more with less. HR’s role is to energise the business with a
new, refocused approach. We are looking at new ways of hiring and employing

Secondments and transfers have become important to keep staff motivated, and
the firm has implemented an inexpensive online learning system.

Dixon believes openness and honesty are vital when times are tough. He said:
"Newspaper coverage affected the morale of the staff, and it became
essential to over-communicate to explain why everything was happening."

"When you’ve got flat revenues there is not a lot of good news to talk
about so we had to keep staff focused on our goals, which are profitability and
cash generation, rather than stock price. If we focus on the basics then our
stock price will follow."

Last month, Regus signed a deal to provide Nokia with 10,000 serviced office
workstations and Dixon is confident the company will achieve growth next year.

By Mike Broad

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