The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the human life upside down. During the initial stages, no one must have thought how grave the effect of this virus would be on the human life style. But with time, every individual has now adapted to the new normal created by this pandemic. Every field starting from the education sector, medical care, corporate organizations, travel and tourism and many others have witnessed a transition in their working style due to Covid-19. People have largely now shifted from offline mode to the online mode. Online mode of work culture which many of us have thought would not be suitable in their respective work areas; has become a reality accompanied with its own merits and de-merits.
Covid-19 has affected the economy of every country, bringing the business activities to a standstill. Rising cases of the pandemic and lockdown imposed by the authorities made it difficult for the organizations to continue with their business activities and forcing them to adapt to the new normal – the “Work from Home” culture.
The Human Resource professional have always played an important role in leading their organizations through some of the toughest workplace challenges. The human resource operation is an effective tool to manage the employees and the work culture in an organization at any given point of time. The human resource department in every organization is one such department which has been affected largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made the human resource managers to think differently about their role as they adapt to the new norms of social distancing at a workplace. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, companies have shifted to the remote work model, more of online meetings and video conferencing calls. The HR managers are not only concerned about the health of the employees but also worried of how to keep their workforce engaged, productive and motivated during such turbulent times.
In view of the above, this book is a culmination of ideas presented by different authors on how Covid-19 has affected the human resource management. The book provides an insight as to how Covid-19 has forced the HR professionals to re-design their corporate learning techniques, how various strategies and policies have been formed under the pandemic conditions, how work space arrangements have been changed, new innovative work practices adopted and so on.
In Chapter 1 on Strategies and Policies Regarding the Human Resources under Pandemic Conditions the author mentions how the Covid-19 continues to change the human resource operations. Accordingly the organizations have to formulate effective strategies and policies to ensure optimum utilization of the workforce. The paper emphasizes on the ability of the organization to adapt to the new technologies and importance of investing in capacity building of the employees.
Chapter 2 Covid-19 and future human resource management competencies is about how Covid-19 has been constantly influencing the organizational work culture and the human resource management. In this paper the author talks about the important management competencies that need to be developed, which would help the organizations to deal with the unforeseen challenges created by a global pandemic like the Covid-19. This paper is a qualitative content analysis of various articles on Human Resource Management during the Covid-19.
Chapter 3 Navigating between the Clashing Rocks: Employee relations in the era of Covid-19 is about the employers who were under constant pressure due to COVID-19 to ensure that their business activities are not affected. On the other hand the employees were concerned about their health and safety. In this regard, this article talks about how the relationship between the employer and employee is being affected due to factors like social distancing, lockdown and introduction of the work from home concept. The author talks about how the Human Resource Management function now should focus on helping the employees to adjust to the new created situation deriving from the pandemic.
Chapter 4 is on ‘I am not okay!’ Employees’ Mental Health and the COVID-19 pandemic: The Role of Human Resource Management In this article, the author discusses about the important role of the human resource professionals in helping their employees to deal with issues related to mental and emotional wellbeing. The Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty, due to which the employees are worried about their job security and regular income. The employees now feel more stressed, anxious and depressed because of the remote work culture, frequent online meetings and the pressure to handle work and family at the same time. Against this background the author highlights about pivotal role of HR for managing employees’ mental health within the COVID-19 context and beyond.
Chapter 5 is Out with the Old, In with the New: Innovative Work Practices for Navigating the Unknown. As the title suggest in this article the author talks about the new innovative ways which the HR professionals would introduce in order to ensure the continuation of their business activity. The author suggests that the HR practitioners need to adapt to new workplace practices and policies to keep workers engaged and motivated while finding the right ‘fit’ for employees to complete their work tasks and maintain a work-life balance.
Chapter 6 HR practices during the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights from a South African organization is based on a study of organizations in South Africa and the way they have adapted to new HR policies to address several work place issues during the Covid-19 pandemic. The authors of the paper have done a qualitative content analysis on several studies on human resource practices during the Covid-19 and have put forward their insights about the same.
In Chapter 7 Redesigning the Corporate Learning to Beat the Pandemic, the author elaborates on how the organizations have shifted to online mode of work culture during the time of the pandemic and the lockdown. Consequently the HR professionals are also looking for ways to plan future learning interventions based on these existing digital tools with the fact that the learning attitude of an individual is deeply influenced by the environment. The paper highlights how the pandemic will re-shape the corporate learning in the coming days.
Chapter 8 Impact of Covid-19 on Companies’ Work Arrangements of the book discusses the impact of the pandemic on human resource management with specific reference to work arrangements and the ways to help its work force adjust to the altered working environment. The book chapter reviews literature on the subject matter from what other researchers and scholars have done.
In Chapter 9 Lessons learned from the impact assessment of COVID-19 on public administration and human resources, the author highlights the way Covid-19 has changed various administrators and HR professionals work. The author suggests that the employers need to acquaint themselves with experimentation and trial-and-error to combine the regulation and the execution which would help them to adopt and adapt to new conditions with a new mindset to address several workplace issues during the time of the pandemic.
Chapter 10 The COVID-19 pandemic and Hungarian human resources: challenges and responses is an effort to answer questions like: What challenges and changes have the Corona virus crisis caused in Human Resource Management in Hungary? The paper presents the data collected from 508 Hungarian organizations (companies and public bodies) using an online questionnaire which was analyzed using different statistical methodologies.
Chapter 11 Work from Home (WFH) during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A New Challenge to Human Resource Department in relation to Women Employees in India is a study on how the new normal of the work from home culture has impacted the working women in India posing a new challenge to the Human Resource managers of the organizations. The paper elaborates on how the work from home situation has added to the existing problems faced by women in a country like India where patriarchal system plays a dominant role in the social functioning. The paper also highlights on how these issues can be tackled collectively by several stakeholders especially human resource department of the organisation.
In all and all the book is an important addition for the human resource professionals, academicians, researchers and students who will find it helpful in analyzing the impact of Covid-19 on human resource management practices. The book will help ponder upon what can be done in the near future or what measures can be adopted to help the human resource department to address several organizational crisis which arise during the unprecedented, challenging time of such a pandemic.
Prof. (Dr.) Bhavna Mehta
Professor in Social Work
Faculty of Social Work
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,