The budget knife is out, and most human resources professionals are bracing for the worst. A poll released by the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Virginia, found that 70 percent of HR pros expect their organizations to enact cost-cutting measures if the U.S. economy continues its descent. A reported 55 percent say hiring freezes also are likely. The survey also found that companies are examining various options pertaining to employee investments and retirement planning, including changes to 401(k)s and similar programs. “In addition to organization-wide budget cuts and hiring freezes, HR professionals said cutting bonuses (50 percent), freezing wage increases (45 percent) and conducting layoffs (39 percent) are “likely” actions that might be taken should economic conditions worsen,” according to a statement released by SHRM.
The study also said: “On the flip side, respondents said restructuring executive compensation and/or severance packages (82 percent), and outsourcing some business functions (79 percent) were only ‘somewhat’ or ‘not as likely’ to be taken under the same circumstances.” The poll compiled the responses of 450 people.