HR strategy & practice should focus on hard commercial skills, says expertBusinesses will need to employ people with good organisational and commercial awareness to successfully navigate tough economic conditions when they occur, an expert has said.

Dr John McGurk, an advisor on learning and talent development at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), has suggested that every company in the UK will need to possess individuals with the ability to "manage commercial realities when they hit you".

Those involved in HR strategy and practice were told that innovation and creativity are also vital commodities essential to running an organisation in tougher times as well as helping firms to win new markets or develop products.

He said: "You need to know how your business makes money or how it serves its customers. You need people who understand that".

The CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning survey for June found that despite a reduction in recruitment activity during 2009, two-thirds of companies experienced difficulties in hiring sufficient staff to maintain productive operations as a result of a lack of specialist skills.

By Colette Paxton