Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - Mantra Not Just for Waste Management But People Management

November 2018

When the world went into a recession in 2008/2009, a lot of things went into disarray. The stock market in many countries, especially the United States crashed. Numerous businesses closed or down-sized and millions lost their jobs. Many banks became risk-averse and credit was tight.

Even in Asia, people were affected, especially those working for multi-national corporations which suffered lay-offs to stay afloat. Many companies in developing Asian countries recognised that the region will be the engine of growth for the 21st century. They knew that they had to keep going and be ready when recession blows over and new opportunities emerged. As such, they re-focused their strategies on people management.

New types of businesses emerged that utilised laid-off manpower. For example, workers from the E&E industry was absorbed into the relatively unaffected aerospace industry. New people skills were developed through training and reskilling.

Actually, we do not have to wait for another recession before we apply the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle approach in planning and development of human capital. Over time, the evolving nature of businesses continue to affect sizes of companies and resource management. The cost of maintaining businesses is growing and there is a need to keep resources at a manageable level.

With the pervasiveness of technology into operations, automation is within reach, affecting the pool size of human resources needed. For survival, individuals must push themselves to be reskilled and upskilled. Companies need to realise that their future is hinged on their quality of human capital. A well trained and knowledge savvy workforce can help companies to become more competitive. Human resource planning is now central for future organisations. The mantra,’ to reduce, reuse and recycle’ is no longer confined to waste management but it applies to people management as well.