An Update on Why What Happens in the World is Important to HR

by Michael Haberman on February 22, 2011 · 0 comments


On February 7th I wrote a post on Why What Happens in the Wordl is Important to HR. The overthrow of the government in Egypt had just started and I told you that you needed to pay attention because it was going to be impacting your company and your job. I said that the instability may cause oil prices to go up and as a result your employees were going to be paying more at the pump to get to work. As a result they will be looking for more money or for ways to avoid driving to work, such as telecommuting. I told you that you needed to be working on a contingency plan for the eventuality of that event.

Now my question is this- DID YOU PAY ATTENTION? ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION? Who knew that the instability would spread so fast? Who knew that the Arab world was a democratic time bomb waiting to explode? Now you may say “who cares what is happening in Libya?” (I give you points if you did, because many people have no idea where Libya is.) The answer to that question is you should care, both from a personal standpoint and a professional standpoint.

Drive by a gas pump today. Look any different than it did yesterday? I guarantee it will look different tomorrow and for weeks to come. In fact who knows when it may return. Those increasing gas prices have a cascading effect. It costs your employees more to commute to work. It will cost them more in the price of food and clothing as retailers have to pass on the transportation costs to the consumer. It will cost your company more in travel as jet fuel prices go up.

Eventually your employees will say “We need more money” or “We need to work from home” or “I am sorry but I quit because I found a job closer to home” or some other similar scenario. Are you prepared to deal with this? You need to have contingency plans in place and a response prepared to these questions. Because if Saudi Arabi is disrupted the U.S. will be in a big bind.

So be prepared… how are you going to do business if your employess cannot make it to work? Think in terms of a very extended  snow event that plowing will not help.

(Picture used  under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Created by W123)

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