HR survived the financial crisis


HR departments are not the first to go during times of crisis. That is what a survey made by two CBS researchers indicates. The survey will be presented at a conference during next week.


Targeted recruitment, human resources strategies and other tasks carried out by Human Resource Management employees do not seem to be expendable during a crisis. A new survey made by researchers from CBS indicates that Human Resource Management (HRM) has come through the financial crisis in a better shape than most HRM researchers would have expected.

Frans Bévort, Assistant Professor and PhD at the Department of Organization, explains that there has been a notion that companies cut back on HR during times of financial constraints.

- When the boat is sinking, you tend to toss any excess baggage overboard, and there has been an expectation that HR is a soft field that does not contribute positively to the bottom line. But our survey indicates that the number of HR staff remains surprisingly unchanged despite a crisis and improvement of efficiency, says Frans Bévort.

An essential part of the business
Frans Bévort has made the so-called Cranet Survey together with Henrik Holt Larsen, Professor at CBS. It shows that there has been a decline in companies with less than one employee per 100 employees.

In 2008 - before the financial crisis broke out - the respondents in the survey answered that 57 per cent had less than one HR employee per 100 employees, while today's share is 50 per cent. This means that more than half of the respondents say that they have more than one HR employee per 100 employees.

Frans Bévort underlines that it is not possible to make a direct comparison, as the responding companies in the two surveys are not the same. But he finds it interesting that the percentage seems to be so unchanged.

- It indicates that the companies consider HRM an essential part of their business. It is not possible to cut back on unless you want to impact your bottom line, says Frans Bévort.

HRM in 50 countries
Cranet is a collaboration between 40 universities and business schools, of which the purpose is to study and evaluate Human Resource Management strategy and practice in more than 50 countries. The benchmarking is done by means of the Cranet Survey; a survey that is carried out every five years in the participating countries and then benchmarked internationally.

The Danish survey is a result of data from a digital questionnaire answered by 240 companies. Frans Bévort and Henrik Holt Larsen continue to analyse in the years to come. In the end, the analyses will turn into a book with the results from all the Cranet countries.

The Cranet 2014 Conference takes place Thursday 9 September from 9:00-16:30 at the Kiln Hall at Porcelænshaven, CBS.

The Cranet Survey is presented in Denmark in partnership with DANSK HR, NOCA, OHRC, and Enalyzer.

Read more about the Cranet Conference

Read more about the Cranet Survey

Join the conference, where the result of the survey will be presented

Contact Frans Bévort or Henrik Holt Larsen for more information

The page was last edited by: Communications // 12/17/2017