Recession aftermath skills for managers cited as main priority for HR


Nearly seven in 10 HR professionals have identified a “huge need” to ensure managers have the skills to manage the aftermath of the recession, Personnel Today can exclusively reveal.

A Henley Business School study of 119 HR professionals found 67% put developing middle managers in their top two priorities. In contrast, just 34% of respondents put ‘developing the capability of the HR team’ in their top two.

The Corporate Learning Priorities Survey 2010 suggested HR professionals were ready to pass the responsibility for succession planning and recruitment post-recession to managers.

The survey report said: “HR professionals suggest they feel the majority of major change, provoked by the wider economic conditions, has happened, and they anticipate turning their attention to succession planning and attracting new talent into the business.

“However, they do see a huge need to ensure managers have the skills to manage the aftermath of that change [67% mentioning this as a priority].”

Linda Irwin, executive director, corporate development at Henley Business School, said a pragmatic approach had been adopted by managing and HR directors faced with the tumultuous economic climate.

She added: “Rather than axing development budgets and cutting leadership development, they have focused effort on those individuals who they expect will lead their organisations into a future yet to be created. Softer skills – in leadership styles and coaching, for instance – that bring out the very best in people and facilitate team working, are also a priority.”

Last week, a Roffey Park survey of 900 managers unearthed how the HR world is increasingly gaining respect from top level managers as it becomes more visible as a result of the recession.

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