Changing Role of HR in Post-COVID-19 and Beyond

Changing Role of HR in Post-COVID-19 and Beyond

COVID-19 has certainly become the pandemic that has inspired us to respect mother-nature and human relations. It has been spreading like wildfire and only bodies are remaining behind in this outbreak. It also will affect the world’s economy due to the lockdown.

Impacts almost Every Sector

By 2020 the IMF has predicted that 3% of the world economy would be contracted which was around 2.3% during 2019. It has been rumored that one of the worst recessions the world will ever see is about to surface. It will have a lasting impact on industries such as financial muscle, sector, and management decisions of the companies of the world. There may be a chance for certain businesses to permanently cease operations while some may thrive and some may even win against the odds.

Some Sectors Recruiting People

Mostly the businesses that won’t be able to operate any further, millions of people will go jobless. However, those companies that have been benefited by the COVID-19 situation such as medical equipment, e-learning, food processing, pharmacy, online media and entertainment, digital payment/fintech, health-care, etc., will keep on recruiting more and more people due to the skyrocketing of demands during the pandemic.

Changing Role of HR in this Pandemic

The pandemic has proven that Human Resources is an asset to people not just during this crisis but also at all the other times. Hence, it should be concerning for companies to care about this sector. Best suited to their interest, companies have been taking relentless HR measures that are either short or long term.

Below are some of the strategies that businesses in India as well as across the globe have been taking to re-structure their HR department and assigning roles to them for the well-being of their employees.

1. Compensation Restructuring

Some companies have been restructuring their compensation process on a tentative basis by reducing them. Others have been rationalizing them in lower and higher variable packages. The variability will entirely be a result of the productivity and performance quality of the employee. This is a brainy way to achieve desired productivity and targets and earn earlier compensation by reducing the fixed cost of the employee in the organization.

2. Redeployment/Re-skilling

Businesses have been restructuring their way into deploying their employees wherever needed the most based on their competency and compatibility. Wherever the company sees a demand and the specified manpower is lacking, companies assign competent employees from other sectors to fulfil the demand.  

3. Deferment of Increment and Promotion

Due to the Financial Year that most of the companies in India follow i.e., from April to March, increments and promotions are being carried out accordingly by the leaders. It means that increments and promotions are being held or deferred due to the expected economic downturn.

4. Managing Temporary Employees

Some companies have also adopted the idea of temporary/contract employment. This is because on one hand, low skill or manual jobs are at stake and on the other hand, high skill jobs that require professionals are at stake. Generally, during the times of an economic downturn, temporary/contract employees are downsized and rendered jobless than the more permanent ones but that is not the case in certain companies.

5. Furlough Leave & Compensatory Working

A furlough leave may sound unfair to employees in a company but it is all for the reason of saving jobs in the company. Employees are asked to leave the company temporarily without any pay and contacted back later when the time is right or on business viability. Certain companies are envisioning to practice compensatory working before the lockdown days to clear the large backlog of work that will fall upon them after the lockdown.

6. Holding Performance Pay/Bonus

Companies have also been deferring or prohibiting employees from getting their paycheck or bonuses except for the statutory bonus that is mandated by the law.

7. Retrenchment and Termination

For increment and promotions companies grade and deploy their employees in various categories that are suitable to their aptitude. Those employees that have a nimble performance rate in the company are not terminated rather they are just voluntarily separated. However, due to the COVID-19 uprising, this situation may change for the worse, and companies may start terminating employees instead of separating them. Those companies that are low-budgeted or have poor revenue and cash flows are already applying this strategy. This is all taking place at an informal level and hence there has been no media outbreak yet regarding this issue.

8. Outplacement and Career Transitioning

Many companies that need to downsize their sector, have a soft spot for the “left-out” employees and extend their help to them. Via external consultants, these companies have been helping them in their placement and career transitions as well. The external consultant’s job is to help the employees to identify the best career opportunity for them through which their fees is paid by the company itself.


The COVID-19 situation has compelled the business community to ensure the preparedness to deal with such crises in the future. Businesses need to sail through the current crisis and define short-term survival plans. Organizations also need to be prepared to quickly establish and learn from the present situation to develop a pliable organization. Enterprises are redefining the business models and restructuring employment systems. Businesses need to educate employees not only to adapt to the changes in the business ecosystem, customer engagement, and digital shift, but also to manage crises, survival, and resilience. 

Mamta Sharma


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