HR departments must 'change their mindsets'

Halcrow HR director says focused training & development must continue

HR departments need to plan for the long-term
HR departments need to plan for the long-term

In spite of liquidity problems and cutbacks across the whole industry, training and development must not be an area that suffers, Halcrow regional HR director Rhyan Anderson today told audiences at the Construction Week Dubai Conference 2009, taking place at Raffles hotel.

“At Halcrow, we've had to change our mindset. At one point, we would have built a trench around the office if we could have, as we had more business than we could cope with. Now it's different – developing business, relationship building. We have to have extra focus on clients,” she commented.

“There are other changes. We've always employed Halcrow staff – part of the Halcrow family, if you like. Now we're looking at outsourcing, buying services rather than doing in-house.”

Anderson admitted that this shift in culture had initially surprised many managers and that it was the HR department's responsibility to reassure good employees of their future, but their roles may be different.

“You don't simply stop training and developing, however,” Anderson added.

“We've seen before that if you stop graduate recruitment, you don't feel the negative effects now, but in five years' time. We have to develop our staff with different skill sets; at Halcrow, we're developing our 'A-Team' – growing our own, as we already know whether they're a 'Halcrow man/woman' or not.”

Anderson finished with a warning, however, saying it was critical that HR departments did not take their eyes off the ball but concentrated all their efforts on value-added training that would bring focus and benefits.

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