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Impact of Covid-19 on Human Resources Practices


Human resources are the set of the people who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, industry, or economy. A narrower concept is human capital, the knowledge which the individuals embody. 

The following enlisted are the practices undertaken by Human Resources: 

● Recognise current and future hiring needs 

● Attract, recruit and retain talent 

● Managing Compensation and employees benefits 

● Apply healthy and safety measures 

● Responsible for creating a healthy environment 

● knowledge sharing and time to time motivation 

● Rewards 

● Open house discussion and feedback mechanism 

● Risk Management, future planning 

● Managing employer and labour relations 

The Context 

We all know that with the rising cases of the Covid - 19 all over the world, our country India was no exception to the growing caseload. With the rising cases of the Covid-19 in our country, the Government Of India on 24 March 2020 ordered a nationwide lockdown followed by 3 more phases of lockdown, limiting the movement of the entire 1.3 billion population of India as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 pandemic in India. 

Since there was no movement of people or goods, the whole of the country stood still resulting in a panic in almost every citizen in India. What was the reason?? The reason was the fear of rising in essential commodities prices and for some the possible cuts in their incomes due to no work during the lockdown. Whether it was an office goer or any migrant labourer/worker of the unorganised sector, both were hit while the latter being hit quite harder because of no income due to no work. 

Moving to tertiary sectors of the economy such as school education it has also suffered because of lack of peer to peer and peer to teacher interactions which were mainly based on both teachers and students physically present in the class. 

The problem which was quite omnipresent was how to make interactions possible in the period of lockdown to make the work and especially the learning go on. And to facilitate it the adequate and immediate use of ICT facilities were very important. To facilitate these, Human Resources have played and still have an important role to play in this sudden change of the human lifestyle. 

How Human Resources helped in changing the scene?

We, humans, are social beasts i.e., we are not able to live idle and alone. We feel the urge to meet other fellow-beings so as to talk and interact. With no movement to prevent the spread of virus the need was felt to facilitate both the working and learning processes through new means which humans had never used on a mass scale before with exception of some business corporations. 

HR specialists have played a massive role in the past few months. From transforming a regular office to the Virtual Space office they've stepped up to almost all needs from offices to the fields of education to enable the interactive learning processes. The classes and assignments have now gone completely online. The meetings now have also shifted from the traditional presentation halls to the virtual halls.

They have also made guidelines to ensure and manage WFH ( Work From Home ) seamlessly and quickly to be defined and disseminated. In order to give the HR a "human connect" touch many organisations have also started to hold online classes for the mental well-being of their employees. 

The Case Of Migrants In India 

Not to forget to mention the hard work that the HR associates all over the world are currently doing to make almost every shift from offline to online space possible. But still, there is more space for improvement and further development, especially in our country India which has more than 500 million strong active population using smartphones as of 2019. This statistic is sufficient for the fact that in recent years the smartphone penetration has increased significantly in India but still, there are a lot of people in our country who cannot afford to buy a smartphone because many usually do not have such income base and even if they do, they aren't able to afford the internet packs price. 

In many countries, to help students there are some educational websites which have been made free or free net pack vouchers are also, be given to students so that the learning couldn’t be hampered. Such vouchers/freebies are needed in the present but in order to avoid possible irregularities, it is also necessary to first make data of the people who’re actually in need. 

Now, moving towards the plight of the daily-wage workers, the group which have actually suffered the most is theirs. With a sudden lockdown, their source of income was diminished. With no movement of goods, they’ve no work. So they started moving back to their home-towns and villages from where they had migrated to metropolitan cities. With no jobs, they were not sure what the future holds in for them. They definitely suffered problems which could have been averted. However, many state governments with the use of HR are now helping them with food supplies etc. 

The possible ways in which HR could be used to help them are:- 

1) They should be encouraged to acquire new skills via digital platforms. Such platforms/devices could be provided to the person in order to help them acquire new skills. 

2) There could be a list of persons with different skills and such lists should be available to industries so that they can directly negotiate with industries. 

3) Creation of job-profile platforms, so that they could increase their reach to a wider population and with the help of technology can easily find jobs. 

and many more such steps are also being undertaken by many policymakers. 

Should there be a new approach? 

This in fact is the question in every mind. Before I come to share my viewpoint regarding this topic, we should always keep in mind that “time is an ever-evolving process”. And with it, we need to move forward constantly too. We cannot afford to lag behind because of the fact which we all already know and acknowledge that. As Darwins’ once said in his famous theory of evolution of the survival of the fittest that “evolution is the nature of organisms and it is a never-ending process”. It is true that we have moved forward from the stage of early human beings of primitive times to the present day modern human being who is capable of understanding the need to evolve to his/her maximum extent possible. 

So, yes there could be many and most probably will be many new approaches. While it is true that this pandemic is new for our generation it is also true that many such pandemics have come and gone and what has really lasted in all these years of human history is the development of human beings; which is the most important thing required for the upliftment not just for our society but the world of non-violence, where everyone would be happy and healthy in which Mahatma Gandhi believed.

Thank You !!

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