Dave Ulrich calls on HR to exploit downturn to get rid of duds

Business guru Dave Ulrich has urged HR professionals to use the tough economic climate to their advantage in 2009 – by getting rid of poor performers.

Speaking exclusively to Personnel Today, the HR legend said the global financial crisis gave employers licence to remove unnecessary jobs and get rid of lacklustre workers.

It also gave organisations the ability to recruit talented people that may have just been made redundant by struggling rivals, he said.

“It might be appropriate to move out poor performers or unimportant positions. It might also be appropriate to find talented employees who might not otherwise be available,” Ulrich said.

HR professionals should use the economic crisis to prove they are capable of making economically sound choices, he added.

“Where there are tough business decisions to make, talented HR professionals will help business leaders think through the options, create an ability to implement results and link organisation actions to customer expectations.”

However, Ulrich said good HR departments should always try to cut costs and remove unnecessary roles, whatever the external economic factors. “Good HR is linked to business in good times and bad,” he said.

Ulrich, who shot to HR fame in 1997 with his book Human Resource Champions: the Next Agenda for Adding Value and Delivering Results, urged HR professionals to implement the business partnering model that book unveiled.

He said: “Restructuring never ends. The business partner model is simply a way to make sure that HR work contributes value. If the economic crisis is an excuse to do so [implement the model], it is worth doing,” he added.

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