Why What Happens in the World is Important to HR

by Michael Haberman on February 7, 2011 · 3 comments


How many of you in HR have been paying attention to the riots on Egypt? How many of you have been considering the impact it may have on the United States? How many of you have been considering the impact it may have on your company?

Well the answer shoud be ALL OF YOU!

If you don’t think what is happening in Egypt has any connection to you then you need to read Thomas Friedman’s column that was published this past Sunday. Friedman writes in China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids that the current unrest in Egypt is due in part to the 30 year long political situation, but is also due in a large part to what is happening in China. He says “…China per se is not fueling the revolt here— but China and the whole Asian-led developing world’s rising consumption of meat, corn, sugar, wheat and oil certainly is. The rise in food and gasoline prices that slammed into this region in the last six months clearly sharpend discontent with the illegitimate regimes, particularly among the young, poor and unemployed.” This discontent is causing a regime change in Egypt, the outcome of which is unknown. It could be a democratic change that will actually help stabilize the Middle East or it could be a very non-democratic change that could make things tougher on the U.S. by very negatively impacting oil prices.

And that my friends is how it impacts your company!

It is possible that if things go the wrong way we could see gasoline prices skyrocket by summer time. If gasoline prices double or more the financial impact on your employees will be substantial. Add to that the impact it will then have on trucking companies that transport all our goods. What happens to food prices? What about the impact it will have on fuel prices for airlines? What then happens to ticket prices?

I point this out becasue I want you to have a plan. I want you now to think of the impact it has on your company and your employees. They will want more money. They will want to travel less. There will be pressure to let people telecommute as much as possible. There will be pressure on you to try to set up carpooling plans. There may be pressure to subsidize commuting costs for a period of time. There could be lots of scenarios that may affect your company. The point is to try to think of them all and to prepare for them.

Here is a chance for HR to show their value. Are you going to embrace this? You should.

(Photo source: AFP/Patrick Baz)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

BarbaraAHughes February 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Nice, Mike.
Now if only the C-suite had a plan to course correct on organizational strategy, everybody would be set!

Barbara

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Sergey Gorbatov February 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

Well, the last thing the US want is instability in the MENA region, so it is a debatable issue if removing Mubarak would be a good thing or not. Is Jordan next on the list? Saudi Arabia? Any disturbance in an OPEC country will create a ripple effect across the world economies. And here comes the real moral dilemma: are more developed countries willing to pay $ for regime change in poorer parts of the globe?

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