Human Resource Management Facing COVID-19 Challenges
The COVID-19 has grandly shaken all organizations, creating a complex and challenging environment for managers and human resource management (HRM) practitioners, who need to find ingenious solutions to ensure the continuity of their companies and to help their employees to cope with this extraordinary crisis. Studies addressing the impact of this crisis on HRM are sparse. This paper is a general literature review, which aims at broadening the scope of management research, by exploring the impact of the COVID-19 on HRM. It identifies the main challenges and opportunities that have arisen from this new pandemic and it offers insights for managers and HRM practitioners into possible future organizational directions that might arise from these opportunities. Human Resource Management Facing COVID-19 Challenges
COVID-19, crisis, human resource management (HRM), remote work, work from home
Our aims to examine recent and relevant literature which investigated the impact of COVID-19 on HRM. There are very few studies that have investigated this impact. Thus, we have started to search for articles which examined generally the relationship between COVID-19 and HRM, then we searched for articles that examined the impact of this pandemic specifically on each HRM function and practice, e.g., staffing (recruitment) and compensation. We searched for articles in Google Scholar, Ebsco, and Semantic Scholar using a combination of terms related to coronavirus OR COVID-19; Human resource management; HRM; pandemic and HRM functions (e.g., compensation and staffing).
Human resource management facing COVID-19: implications and challenges :
HRM ‘is about how people are employed, managed and developed in organizations’ (Armstrong & Taylor, 2020: 3). It has been grandly impacted by COVID-19, generating significant challenges for managers and HRM practitioners. This impact and these challenges are explored in this section, in relation to strategic HRM and working conditions, as well as HRM functions, specifically, staffing, performance management, training and development, compensation management, safety and health management, and employees’ relations. Human Resource Management Facing COVID-19 Challenges
Each HRM function is discussed individually, however, they are interrelated. This suggests that any change in one HRM function will affect the other function (Mondy & Martocchio, 2016).
COVID-19 and strategic human resource management :
Strategic HRM refers to the vertical connection between HRM functions and the organizational strategy as well as the horizontal consistency between HRM functions (Wright & McMahan, 1992). Its main purpose is to effectively utilize the human resources to serve the strategic needs of the organization (Chapman, Sisk, Schatten, & Miles, 2018; Navío-Marco, Solórzano-García, & Palencia-González, 2019; Schuler, 1992).
Organizations need to be able to prepare and allocate their resources; to coordinate the needed mechanism; and to properly use the organizational resources and knowledge.
Employment relationship refers to ‘the connection between employees and employers through which individuals sell their labor’ (Budd & Bhave, 2010). From a labor law perspective, COVID-19 has created important challenges for employees and employers (Biasi, 2020; Sagan & Schüller, 2020). Due to the lockdown and mandatory closure of business both were not able to accomplish their contractual obligations (Biasi, 2020). In fact, the challenges resulting from COVID-19 have transformed the traditional relationship between the employee and his employer (Leighton & McKeown, 2020; Spurk & Straub, 2020). Work from home has been implemented in different countries and companies (Spurk & Straub, 2020).
Considering the novelty of this pandemic, most countries do not only rely on existing regulations.
COVID-19 has posed grand challenges for managers and HRM practitioners, but it has also opened the door to opportunities worth knowing and understanding, that can help organizations to direct their future actions. Indeed, according to Demirkaya and Aydın (2006), a crisis might create unexpected opportunities for organizations. In this section, we will discuss these opportunities while linking them to the potential future directions in HRM. COVID-19 has challenged organizations’ creativity and innovation and has urged discussions about the future of work (Hite & McDonald, 2020). It has accelerated the disruption of HRM as well as the implementation of scenarios expected for the future (Hite & McDonald, 2020). Moreover, it has pushed organizations to rethink their HRM strategies and to go beyond the traditional models of managing human resources, by positioning new information technology as an essential partner to survive and to ensure the sustainability of their business. In this context, new legislation has been adopted in different countries to support organizations in this sudden and unexpected transformation. For example, Germany has adopted new legislation to introduce the possibility of video conferencing in two areas (Sagan & Schüller, 2020), to support the implementation of remote working in organizations.
Despite its challenges, remote working offers employees the opportunity to have flexible working hours, save commuting time, foster job control, and experience the use of new ICT (Prasad & Vaidya, 2020). In addition, it offers companies the opportunity to optimize the use and save the costs of their resources, e.g., office space. Actually, business sectors in some countries, for example in Korea, see growth opportunities in non-contact industries which encompasses telecommunication, remote support solutions, and online education.
Moreover, COVID-19 offers opportunities for organizations to develop the autonomy of their employees, upgrade their digital competencies, and broaden the perspective of their competencies’ development. Besides, this pandemic has positioned new technology as a strategic partner for organizations. It has helped to sustain businesses and to shorten the distance between employees and their employers while ensuring their safety. It has fostered the creativity of managers and HRM practitioners and it has facilitated the transition from traditional face-to-face socialization methods to virtual ones, e.g., virtual meetings, lunches, and coffee breaks (Carnevale & Hatak, 2020). It has also helped to sustain staffing in organizations while respecting physical distancing measures. Human Resource Management Facing COVID-19 Challenges