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How to adapt your HR strategy in tough economic times

Adapting your HR practices in response to the current economic pressures will help your organisation remain cost effective, competitive and to exploit opportunities presented by adjustments to labour markets.

Things you'll need

  • An engaged workforce with the skills to steer your organisation through the tough times.

Absence management

If you have a higher than average level of sickness absence, reinvigorate your attendance management practices. Typically this will reduce absence by up to 20%.



If you have vacancies, pursue and exploit the current labour market adjustments.  There are big pockets of redundant workers with excellent transferrable skills and competencies.


Employee engagement

Provide clear leadership and direction. Engage with your people in periods of change. If you are  making redundancies, devise a strategy to ensure those who remain continue to be engaged.


Learning and development

When evaluating L&D ask if all activities remain current, what new skills and competencies are required for next 12-24 months. Consider more cost effective forms of delivery such as developing in-house trainers or e-learning. 


Pay and benefits

Are your benefits affordable and in-line with your employment market competitors?  Many employers are reviewing occupational sick pay entitlement, contractual hours and annual increase mechanisms.



Ensure your procedure and selection criteria  enable you to retain employees with the skills to deal with the challenges over the next 12-18 months.  Consider alternatives such as sabbaticals, secondments and part-time working.  A free guide to managing redundancies can be downloaded here.



As human behaviour generally becomes more risk averse in turbulent times it is likely less people will consider a voluntary job move. Do your economics assignment and review the impact of this change on your planned recruitment and training budgets/activities.

Further information


Page last edited Nov 15, 2017 History

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