Researchers at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) have created a top ten list of priorities for HR professionals, as the private sector emerges from recession but still generally faces tough economic conditions, and the public and third sectors face up to significant cost cutting and redundancies ahead.

The IES report summarises some of the latest research and thinking on people management and employment issues in this challenging context, including:

  • the critical role of effective workforce planning and OD as organisations face up to continuing future uncertainty
  • the importance of new forms of flexible working which have moved from being essentially an employee-oriented benefit to a valuable flexible resourcing and cost control strategy
  • the future for learning and development, talent management and coaching, as the need for top talent and leadership is greater than ever, but the cost spotlight has fallen on the justification for some common, traditional training practices and spend
  • how recession has highlighted the importance of employee engagement to organisational performance, but also in some cases weakened the strength of employer/employee relationships
  • the need for line managers to practice in reality the rhetoric of total rewards and best-place-to-work initiatives
  • the requirement to respond to the generational challenges presented by demographic change – managing both ‘the teenies’ and ‘the oldies’.

Duncan Brown, Director of HR Business Development at the IES, comments:

“As we move forward to a new decade, we have been reflecting on key priorities we see for organisations as they start to emerge from recession and look to the future. Although 2009 was one of those years that many of us will be glad to see the back of, it has taught us some salutary, if sobering, lessons about organisational life.”

“The potential contribution of people to organisation performance has never been clearer, but the challenges in harnessing that potential, as well as measuring and demonstrating the links have certainly increased in such a tough, cash-constrained climate. The value of those HR and OD professionals that can really contribute to successfully changing their organisations, inputting at the strategic level but also partnering managers at the front-line to put their grand policies into practice and genuinely engage their people, has never been more starkly apparent.”

The report consists of short articles providing insights into the following top ten issues:

  • Workforce planning – ensuring a workforce fit for the future
  • Ways of working – keeping the organisation agile
  • The future of learning and development – enhancing capability
  • Leadership – engaging the ‘teenies’
  • Refocusing coaching for the upturn
  • Managing talent in tough times
  • Performance and reward management beyond the crisis
  • Managing older employees
  • The role of organisational development in the post-recession world
  • Transforming HR for the future

The report is available for £30 to download from the IES website