UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from The Great Debate UK:

What managers can do to maintain morale in a jobs crisis

* Ian Kessler is a reader in employment relations at Said Business School at the University of Oxford. The views expressed are his own *

ian-kesslerThe Chinese define a crisis as β€˜an opportunity on a dangerous wind', and the crisis created by the current economic downturn has certainly placed the management of human resources centre stage. Corporate survival has become dependent on controlling and reducing labour costs, while future organisational viability has necessitated restructuring, placing further strains on the workforce. The challenge confronting human resources management is reflected in the predicted scale of job losses: the International Labour Organisations suggests that in 2009 as many 51 million jobs worldwide could be lost.

The tension between opportunities and dangers is clear:Β  radical change in a crisis runs the risk of undermining workforce motivation and performance, so precipitating the very organisational failure the changes were designed to avoid. At the same time if employee morale and productivity can be maintained, the likelihood of competitive advantage in the upturn is considerably enhanced.

Success during a crisis is likely to revolve around the balancing of three sets of issues:

There is no substitute for me, says Boris


boris.jpgThe resignation of another key aide to Mayor Boris Johnson has sparked renewed questions over the Mayor of London’s leadership, with opposition leaders at City Hall charging that the “wheels are coming off” his new administration.

Tim Parker , the First Deputy Mayor and Chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has stepped down from both jobs, saying it was inappropriate for him to hold them as an unelected official. His resignation is the third of a key aide in the four months of Johnson’s mayorship.