From Disruption to Renewal: HR’s Covid-19 Journey

Covid-19 crisis made the HR to run into a dark tunnel when faced with uncertainty as to how to cope. Many HR and business leaders were seemed to have frozen, unable to think and move. Their past experiences seemed to have faded away, slowly proving to be a dead leaf in a glass. Dealing with this crisis needed a completely new approach without any shadow of precedents but was mounted with tremendous amounts of challenges. It even turned down the faith of experienced leaders who were unable to meet the challenges. This situation reminded me of Solomon Paradox. King Solomon was considered the wisest king in history, but he failed in his own life. So, the question arises. Will the experienced leaders fail too? 

No doubt Covid-19 proves to be the dark heavy clouds blocking all the heavenly sunshine. During the disruption, there was no other option but to change and transit from routine business activities and strategize new innovative ideas and solutions. Many leaders came up with brilliant interventions and theories. One such proposition- “M-B-A” is by Dr. Aquil Busrai, one of the leading HR professionals in the country.

M-B-A formula for HR consortium :

M= Maintain conscience

B= Break assertively & rejuvenate

A= Align again with business

M- Maintain conscience 

A survey by one of the Big Fours, Deloitte for their February 2020 article edition, reveals that a shocking percent of young professionals- 86% of the respondents- favor career with value-driven organizations against the profit and monetary driven ones; highlighting the career goals of the young talent pool. Therefore, in these difficult times, when everyone is trying to keep afloat, HR should focus on keeping intact the company’s core Values and Beliefs against their compromise for short-term comfort and gains. It is time for HRs to prioritize Ethical Standard, Reputation, and Engagement not only with internal employees but also with external stakeholders like campus, vendors, etc.

B= Break assertively & rejuvenate

Covid-19 has become the pause button for HR activities. That is the stage to review all the HR policies, hierarchical structure, and organizational philosophies. The organizations should assertively and fearlessly discard some practices that do not hold any relevance.  

It is not an easy task, but bringing change and rejuvenation is all that is required to cope up with such dynamic trends, or else, one should be prepared to get wiped out of the competition in the market. And hence, HR must play a significant role in being the change agent. Considering this situation survival of the organization should be prioritized as a prime motive. For that, the HR needs to divide away from an attitude of entitlement to an earning attitude. 

 A= Align again with business

HR is focusing on many employee-related activities, such as engagement and safety. It is the time for the HR consortium to go back to basics, revisit, and critically review its arrangement with Business leaders.

Many HR have stayed away from vital connect and got immersed in HR processes, but now it is the time to repair those gaps and authentically get attracted to Business leaders. Therefore, now the time calls for revising HR policies and processes. 

Role of HR during and after the Covid-19 crisis

To deal with this scenario, HR must be efficient and apt in guiding, facilitating, strategizing the functions. Nevertheless, the role of HR would become much more critical in terms of employee handling.

Division of crisis into segments: 

PHASE I

During this phase of the pandemic, businesses are shrinking. Nevertheless, the organizations will aim at the phenomenon of more with the less. To increase the efficiency within the organization, HR should focus on making fruitful investments by providing required training to employees for hard as well as soft skills. It will result in productivity in terms of outputs.

PHASE II

In this phase, everything will depend upon whether the economic recovery is U-shaped, V-shaped, or L-shaped. If employees have remained motivated and engaged in PHASE I, then the organization will have a better chance for faster recovery in this phase with good momentum. It also creates an opportunity for organizations to make changes that may not have been possible earlier. Higher operating cash flows ensure companies can attract a talent pool even in these adversities. However, HR must recognize what leadership style to be followed in the organization throughout this journey. In Phase I, an affiliative and participative leadership style would be appropriate to ensure that decisions are based on relationship and census. On the other hand, in Phase II, a more direct or fast-paced leadership style will make things ordered and give future structure and pace to organizational growth. Organizations able to stand this wrath of time will ensure that their Leaders are agile and know how to operate, how to engage with employees, how to reward and retain the people.

CONCLUSION 

Adversity has always been a time to test true leaders, organizational stability, and sustainable success. In the current scenario as well this holds valuable truth and HR has to act as a dam that endures and controls the fast-flowing currents of Covid-19; in which this M-B-A concept will enable HR to edge their focus and strategically align with the business goals. Eventually, being the strategic partner of the organization in handling the Covid-19 crisis effectively and efficiently. 

HR Club (Jaipuria, Jaipur)

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