The big number of WA businesses that spent 2013 grappling with how to keep operations going after slashing staffing levels will this year need to find ways to squeeze productivity from the workforce in order to grow revenue, WA’s leading management support organisation has predicted.
The Australian Institute of Management WA is preparing for an increase in demand from companies keen to learn how to ensure reduced staff loads operate at maximum efficiency.
Performance management, the often difficult-to-implement human resources technique, would become common.
“Last year, the key focus for many leaders and managers was on reducing and then stabilising staffing profiles as tighter economic conditions set in,” AIM WA chief executive Gary Martin said.
“We saw many organisations downsizing and restructuring their operations in order to cut costs and reshape their businesses. A key management issue in 2013 was how to maintain existing operations with reduced staffing levels.”
Professor Martin said 2014 would be characterised by a shift in focus to improve productivity by putting in place programs that ensured “employees have the right knowledge, skills and values to outperform their competitors”.
“When resources are tight in organisations performance needs to be maximised, there’s simply no room for under-performing staff in tight economic conditions,” he said.
“When things are going well many organisations pay lip service to performance management. But with the need to ramp up performance, leaders and managers will be faced with introducing more rigorous performance management which goes way beyond an annual discuss- ion about a staff member’s performance.”
The skills crisis which has gripped WA business for the past few years has eased because of layoffs and companies that are able to recruit may find a greater range of talent is available.
“In an environment of wage constraint it is likely that organisations will be able to secure the services of that talent at lower rates than in previous years,” Professor Martin said.
“For those businesses that need and can afford new people, 2014 will represent a great opportunity to secure new talent.”
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s Paul Moss said overall job creation in WA would still occur, just not at the same rapid rates.
“The tougher operating conditions mean businesses are looking at their costs and reviewing their operations to ensure they remain competitive,” said Mr Moss, who is manager of employee relations consulting at the CCI.
“In turn, businesses will look to employ and retain people who are productive and adaptable to ensure they are in the best position to adapt to changes in the external environment.”