Fallout from 9/11 still hitting global business


first_imgFallout from 9/11 still hitting global businessOn 1 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article From the inconvenience of cancelled meetings, to the financial stresses ofbusiness slumps, the events of 11 September 2001 have affected HR directors andtheir operations around the world, according to a globalHR reader survey. Of the respondents to the e-mail survey, 47 per cent representing more than15 countries reported that the disaster had affected their businesses, mostexperiencing negative effects. From Finland, a respondent reported widespread effects. “Many projectshave been delayed, we have had layoffs and cost cuttings as well as a freeze onpay rises, a hiring freeze, earlier retirements, less temps, less travelling,training and seminar postponements,” he said. Tighter security was mentioned by many as a key result of the terroristaircraft hijackings and crashes, which left several thousand people dead at theWorld Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington and in ruralPennsylvania. In particular, some noted that their companies had increased hiringin the security sector, while reducing recruitment in other areas. “We have put tighter security measures in place with respect to ourplant sites, travel and the hotels we utilise,” said one respondent fromBelgium. “Also, with the weakening of the economy, we are looking at ourstaffing levels.” An Italian respondent reported tighter controls on incoming mail as well ason contractors and suppliers. The company’s private police force has beenreinforced, and barriers blocking the entrance to its headquarters have beenadded, he said. Elsewhere in Italy, another respondent said that his company was exercising”more caution in hiring” and had “less confidence in economicrecovery”, while at another Italian-based business, more focus was beinggiven to working conditions – “and on the life, of course”. In Asia, notably Malaysia and Singapore, measures such as shorter workingweeks, hiring and salary freezes and lack of bonus payments, reflected theseverity of the economic downturn linked to the events of 11 September. ASingapore respondent said training budgets had been cut, “and staff haveenlarged roles”. Another from Singapore cited concerns about insurance forstaff travel in “certain locations” which did not provide the desiredcoverage, and was “not economical” in premium. A South Korean company said overseas training opportunities had been reducedfor its employees. Back in Europe, a Cyprus-based company fell victim to a 40-50 per cent fallin tourism. “One of our companies is in the hotel industry,” therespondent said. “We were very careful with our recruitment plans, ourmanagement development and salary increases.” In France, a company general manager acknowledged that in addition toexperiencing tougher business conditions, “the fulfilment of employees’expectations is also harder”. One of the most dramatic responses came from Switzerland, with a respondentreporting “enormous fear to launch projects, and irrationalbehaviours” as a result of the disaster’s impact. Some companies took hard-learned messages from the tragedy to apply to theirfuture business practices. “Our business continuity plan has become a priority issue,”reported a group HR manager from the Irish Republic. And the international assignment co-ordinator for a US-based financialgroup, said her company had “put more contingency plans in place”. There was some good news, however, in the fallout for a company in the IrishRepublic: lack of summer work in the US this year meant there were morestudents available locally for seasonal work. Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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