The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is perhaps the most unprecedented crisis since World War II. It has drastically disrupted the HR function with the major impact expected to percolate into the post-COVID-19 scenario as well. A survey conducted by Raven Intel in association with International Human Resources Information Management Association and the Oracle Human Resources Users Group reveals that the majority of respondents affirmed that HR projects are impacted by the pandemic. However, around 64 percent of the respondents endorsed that work from home has made HR project more productive. Only 11 percent believed that they would revert to the traditional work environment after the pandemic subsides.
The lockdown has heralded a paradigm shift in the mode of work from a traditional workplace to work from home. This is likely to result in corporate warming up to the idea of working from home and enacting guidelines for the same. Firms are also beginning to realize the inefficiency and drawbacks of in-person meetings and conventional mode of work and recognize alternative models in the ‘future of work’.
The crisis has also underscored the need for preparedness and resilience as two key traits for long-term survival not only for corporates but employees as well. Amidst the lockdown, the disruption of operations has led firms to rely extensively on technology for a wide gamut of functions- from recruiting workforce, improving team coordination, measuring performance and facilitating remote working. It is thus evident that firms that readily adopt digitization will survive in the long-run. This also implies steady investment into HR technology for numerous firms not only in recruiting but also virtual onboarding, gauging employees’ sentiment, upskilling employees, assessing their performance and improving the overall HR function.
The importance of hygiene during COVID-19 will translate into a host of elaborate safety and wellness measures for employees from thereon. Employees are likely to take into greater account the wellness criterion as one of the parameters for choosing their employers.
With the work from home becoming the new normal, keeping employees motivated has become a real challenge for the HR function. Going forward, it is foreseen to renew the focus on employee engagement with firms mulling innovative ideas to boost employee morale and thus encourage the retention of talent.
The current crisis has also led firms to recognize the need for flexibility and agility in their business models. This may prompt firms to revisit their current operation model in tune with the current situation and trigger radical altering of organizational structure. From the employees’ perspective, this implies that corporate will increasingly seek an agile and flexible workforce with broad skillsets in the post -COVID-19 era. This is likely to pivot priorities towards reskilling and upskilling both for corporates and employees. Corporates are likely to invest heavily in learning and development and undertake a comprehensive assessment of employees’ performance against skills.
The role of communication and collaboration will be the key in the post-COVID-19 era. Firms will increasingly seek strategic and symbiotic partnerships besides investing in automation and variable talent pool.
The level of preparedness and resilience will determine the organization’s future. Firms that can reinvent successfully and change the yardstick of success for a responsible future will emerge as winners.
Outcomation- the process of leveraging technology to achieve business goals will be the new currency for firms in the post-COVID-19 era.