Written by Benjamin for iqDynamics
The spread of COVID-19 has left hundreds of thousands dead and forced entire countries into a state of extended lockdown whilst severely damaging the global economy.
As the world’s premier finance and trading hub, Singapore is no exception to the rule. Falling demand for goods and services alongside government-implemented circuit breaker measures are expected to be disastrous for the economy in 2020.
From air travel to retail, countless industries have been devastated by lockdowns instituted by governments in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Experts predict that Singapore is headed for a massive economic slump on a scale unseen since independence in 1965. With so much uncertainty, businesses in Singapore have been scaling back on their operations in an effort to reduce costs as they attempt to weather the storm.
Besides cutting back on costs i.e. retrenchments and pay reductions, organizations need to look into optimizing and streamlining their operations. Stop gap measures such as these are only a temporary fix and may hurt the business on the long-term.
The COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures have exposed key business vulnerabilities that must be addressed i.e. business continuity planning and crisis management. In this article, we’ll take a look at why HR Management is more important than ever as we face down the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Telecommuting or work from home arrangements has long been treated as a privilege that was offered to employees and one that was often met with considerable resistance. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, remote working may in fact be the only way forward.
As history has shown, it is highly unlikely that things will ever return to the way they were before this. The highly-contagious nature of COVID-19 coupled with the fact that it may take some time for a vaccine to be developed means that many will simply need to manage their lives around the virus.
Social distancing procedures may spell the end of public transport as we know it. Hence rather than commuting, employees may instead be given the option of working exclusively from home in order to curb the spread of the virus. From an employer’s perspective, this would significantly reduce operating expenditure and other overheads due to the absence of a physical workspace.
However HR professionals would do well to remember that working from home has its own set of challenges and stresses with feelings of being overwhelmed and burnt out being the most common.
This is because employees may feel that they are unable to leave work at the office now that the office has come home. Consequently, this can lead to increased mistakes and a fall in productivity.
During such challenging times, organizations need to support their employees to get the best out of them and this includes ensuring that employees are adequately motivated and rested. From HR’s perspective, this includes conducting one-to-one pulse checks with employees and also providing an avenue for anonymous feedback which can then be acted upon.
An organization’s ability to remain operational in even the most dire of circumstances is crucial to its survival. Business continuity planning or BCP focuses on ensuring vital business functions and operations remain available during a crisis.
The HR department handles a variety of crucial business functions such as payroll management and taxation amongst others. Due to the nature of these processes, delays of any kind can be extremely detrimental.
For example, delaying employee payroll can severely affect staff morale whilst also posing a threat to the organization’s reputation as an employer. This is why it’s especially crucial for HR professionals to practice BCP to ensure that vital business processes remain unaffected even during a disaster.
In order to prepare for the “new normal” business owners and managers should take steps to improve their HR department’s capability. This can include the implementation of SaaS HR solutions to provide staff with the flexibility to work remotely if and when ever needed.
All of the above points are well and good, however many business owners would undoubtedly be concerned about costs and conserving cash. Hence this would mean that expenditure of any kind is likely to be the last thing on anyone’s mind.
Fortunately, Enterprise Singapore is offering grants to companies looking to revamp and redesign their HR management infrastructure. From company-wide analytics to recommendations for planning and implementation, these grants can give businesses a much needed leg-up in such a competitive environment.
Upgrading their HR management capabilities allows organizations to prepare themselves for the future. While a massive economic downturn may be on the horizon, preparing for the post-recession boom is crucial if businesses are to hit the ground running.
2020 is bound to be a challenging year for even the most established businesses. However, leveraging on the power of HR management to optimize business operations may be just what is needed to make the difference between failure and success.
While most organisation take this time to cut costs and skim down on workforce improvements, we believe that it is during this downtime that organisations should be working to push forth new improvements and gear up to take on 2021 with a strong advantage.
Contact us here if you are interested to find out more about how HRiQ HRMS will be able to help you build a stronger workforce for the future.