Now is an important time for HRThe recession has provided the perfect opportunity for HR departments to look at what their "core purpose is" and provide long-term sustainability for companies, it has been claimed.

Speaking after the organisation’s annual conference, Vanessa Robinson, head of HR practice development at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said the "heartland" of HR is short-term practical tactics such as helping to avoid redundancies.

She added that in the long-term, the profession should be looking at how motivation and engagement of the workforce has been effected by ongoing job uncertainty.

"HR can have a key role in terms of leading driving change programmes and making sure all the people aspects are fully considered and the change as it is initiated is actually successful," Ms Robinson asserted.

She concluded that HR was in a good position to be the eyes and ears of an organisation.

A recent survey by the CIPD revealed that while managers realise that performance management is important in the workplace, in practice few are taking the necessary steps to implement people management policies.