Impact of Covid-19 on the HR Industry

Impact of Covid-19 Globally

Facing a stark reality

No one ever dream of this – not in their worst nightmares. A time where people will be forced to remain in their homes and stay there for months on end to stop an invisible force that threatened all of humanity. Some Hollywood movies had stories that resembled this scenario, but it was all written off as fiction until the worst came true. December 2019 – a month that will forever remain in the history of mankind as the beginning of the largest pandemics we as a species ever faced.

Lockdowns seemed the easy choice, stay at home for a few weeks and the wave shall pass. Though productivity took a huge hit, people were optimistic that the situation is temporary and that everything will be soon back to normal. 

But 9 months into the pandemic, it seems far from over. Social distancing and safety protocols have become the norm. There is a huge cultural and organizational paradigm shift that is here to stay. These external triggers have forced organizations to change their working style drastically for the wellbeing of their employees and the society.

The Impact of Covid-19 on the Workplace

The most impacted individuals in any company are the HR managers who now have to enable people to work from home while ensuring productivity. It is not just the logistics part of it. The job descriptions have changed, so have the definitions of full time and part time work. Attendance monitoring and productivity have become equally challenging, however, the worst of all is the management of culture in the organization.

Agility, creativity, and flexibility – all these traits were demonstrated by HR in this lockdown scenario. Once employees started working remotely, the HR had to transform the normal office into virtual workplaces within days. Managing work from home securely and seamlessly was no easy task, but we all came through. In adversity, we came together and delivered outstanding results to keep the company going.

However, it was nowhere near easy. Due to dwindling sales and declining production, the revenue targets were being missed by immense margins. This resulted in the most dreaded conversations for any HR employee – “We have to let you go.”

Countless jobs were lost and the economy was down in shambles. People were panicking and there was a hiring freeze everywhere. It was a difficult time, but we’re through that. And there is a bright light at the end of this tunnel.

A bright future ahead

With China showing its inability to control such epidemics and their lax attitudes in enforcing strict health protocols has resulted in multinationals running out of patience. This instability showcased by the Chinese Government has been a blessing for other developing countries in the region, especially India. 

With home to almost half of the population of the world, the South-East Asia is a region that can never be ignored. Multinationals realised this and set up numerous manufacturing facilities in the region, especially China due to its cheap labour.

However, the pandemic has now made multinationals look elsewhere, and India is a promising destination for those companies. With a resilient government that proved its worth by handling Covid-19 better than most developed countries, India is the frontrunner for Foreign Investments in the Region.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Numerous companies have already began shifting their production facilities to India, and others are following suit. The Indian government in April, reached out to over 1000 companies in the US alone to offer them incentives for manufacturers that are seeking to move out of China. Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion to help shift factories out of China. The European Union is also looking to reduce their dependence on China and Chinese Suppliers.

The Indian Government realises the bureaucratic red tape that is present in India in the form of archaic labour and tax laws that might discourage companies from considering India as a viable option for expansion.

However, the Indian Trade Ministry is in talks with the US Companies seeking detailed feedback regarding the changes that need to be made in the laws to make it more favourable for them to move to India.

Soon, this move will spark an influx of Foreign Investment. Further, more and more companies will begin establishing their presence in India which is going to bring tonnes of job opportunities for our young population.

Corporate India is about to undergo a drastic makeover and HR will be at the forefront of this transformation. From Company Policies to Recruitment and Compliance, all HR functions are going to be more important than ever.

Moreover, a relatively new line of business – HR Process Outsourcing is going to experience a huge boom. Corporates would actively seek vendors that help them streamline their HR processes and help outsource more labour and time-intensive compliance and payroll services so they can concentrate on setting up manufacturing facilities and establishing their footprint in the regional market.

The novel Corona Virus may have been one of the worst calamities to ever hit Earth, but it has brought with it immense opportunities for everyone. We need to adapt to this new way of living. We need to change with the world, it is only then shall we thrive and succeed at our endeavours.

A new hope...

The novel Corona Virus may have been one of the worst calamities to ever hit Earth, but it has brought with it immense opportunities for everyone. We need to adapt to this new way of living. We need to change with the world, it is only then shall we thrive and succeed at our endeavours.

A quote from Charles Darwin, the man behind the Theory of Evolution seems perfect for our present day scenario

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”