A whopping 72 percent of the organisations in India opined that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt beyond six months, according to a recent survey by EY.
The survey titled ‘HR resilience planning - COVID-19 impact and preparedness’ incorporates first-hand perspective of HR Heads/CHROs of over 100 organisations across sectors in India on the impact of COVID-19 and their preparedness to tackle the current situation.
Around 70 per cent of the organisations believe that the single biggest concern for continued remote working is fall in productivity.
Additionally, more than 70 per cent of the organisations are now moving to virtual methods of recruitment, and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning are leading this change.
As the current pandemic has changed the way of working, there will be a cascading impact on the different HR processes as well. Most organizations claimed that in the near term, one of the most impacted processes will be talent acquisition.
From a medium-term perspective, organisations need to focus on business continuity (i.e. reviewing hiring pipeline, prioritizing critical positions and high cost replacements to be reconsidered) and smarter ways of delivering work (i.e. leveraging gig economy for workforce rationalization and agility, talent redeployment and job rotations). However, from a long-term perspective, role profiling & workforce alignment and technology adoption will be two key aspects for organizations to consider for organizations.
As per the findings, less than 50 per cent of the organisations are prepared to manage this unprecedented crisis, while less than 35 per cent are prepared if the crisis escalates and less than 10 per cent have undertaken contingency and scenario planning.
The survey observed that 55% of the surveyed organizations foresee medium to significant impact on employee cost, while others are still unclear. Many organizations have adopted an employee centric view and trying to protect the junior management, a few are also offering additional pay-outs, hazard pay to support their workforce through these tough times.
Only 22% organizations are thinking about manpower optimization in the short term (maintaining an employee centric view), while 35% organisations want to look at optimization in the future basis business impact and in line with the newer ways of working.
Anurag Malik, Partner and India Workforce Advisory Leader, People Advisory Services, EY India said, “Today, organisations are grappling with an unprecedented crisis that is fundamentally different from what they have ever experienced. In this hour of crisis, the HR function has to be a business partner in anticipating change, co-creating a range of scenarios and planning for the future. It is also the right time for the HR Heads to recalibrate their priorities, focus towards managing remote workforce, digitalize the HR function, and re-imagine workforce models.”
Gopal Nagpaul, Partner, Workforce Advisory (Africa, India and Middle East), People Advisory Services, EY India added, “Initial priorities of IT infrastructure, basic communication and operations support are now fading into the background as new priorities emerge. Going forward, we need to focus on sustaining productivity in the context of remote working & shutdowns, ensuring wellbeing & engagement in case of sustained remote working, and building cost management options in case we face a deeper economic downturn.”
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