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HR's (stale) new agenda?

Going through Business Line yesterday, I came across an article 'HR's new agenda - Reflections on what HR needs to do in a world that’s changing rapidly'. It said,
While we created engagement models that gave our employees all that they did not ask for, we do not seem to have built enough of a relationship to deliver bad news in these tough times.
Focus on the second part of the statement. Deliver bad news? The context, I assume, was employee retrenchment (it could be cutting salaries as well et al). My question, can we build a relationship to deliver bad news? And if retrenchment is what we are talking about, then no relationship is enough to deliver bad news. If you want to have a relationship, have one of sharing. Can you, as Business Managers (not just as HR Managers), anticipate the possible miseries caused by retrenchment? Can you thereby ensure that employees stay in their jobs by parting with a bit of your salaries or by asking your Top Management to part with theirs and share some responsibilities? Or best of all, can you and the Top Management simply admit that your way of running businesses was incorrect? Can you then think of something innovative which negates the bad news and, thereby helps you not declare the bad new at all?
Now, coming to the first part of the sentence. Engagement models that gave our employees all that they did not ask for... If that's the case then the Top Management and HR Managers need to go out first for handling their customers (employees are customers, aren't they, for buying into your dreams?) in such a shabby manner.

If HR's new agenda continues to be as stale and surgical as what the above statement implies, I doubt whether the people setting this agenda will be required in the coming times.

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