HR hiring boom despite 'anticipated' impact of coronavirus

Close to half of leaders are 'not too concerned' that COVID-19 will result in a company restructuring

HR hiring boom despite 'anticipated' impact of coronavirus

Over six in 10 leaders in Hong Kong said they’re proceeding with plans to hire talent for critical roles despite anticipated business impact of COVID-19.

One in four companies have chosen to either freeze hiring or delay hiring plans until a later date.

Only 13% of companies surveyed said they will maintain headcount and consider applying other measures such as salary adjustments and bonus suspensions to mitigate losses.

READ MORE: Temasek to freeze wages amid coronavirus

Additionally, to protect staffers and keep the business running, 91% of leaders have rolled out workplace arrangements, according to the Randstad pulse survey.

These were aimed at preventing the potential spread of the virus and could have been instrumental in stabilising the number of infections in the city – as of 10 March, the number of confirmed cases stood at 115.

Some temporary arrangements included:

  • Work from home (65%)
  • Shift or split team (22%) – where employees are put into teams and told to come to office on different days of the week
  • Leave work earlier to avoid peak hours (4%)

These arrangements may be part of an existing policy or a temporary measure in response to the outbreak. About half (44%) of leaders said they currently offer remote working as an employee benefit to all or select employees and functions.

However, 24% said the temporary measure will not be implemented as a permanent flexi-work policy after the virus clears.

Overall, close to half of leaders (44%) are confident and “not too concerned” that COVID-19 will result in a company restructuring. Another 58% are concerned that their employment may be vulnerable.

When asked about their future business plans after COVID-19, 45% of leaders said they will maintain headcount but apply other necessary measures. One in three surveyed will continue to monitor the business situation and remain cautious about hiring more staffers.

On the flipside, one in four (24%) said they will hire for permanent and contract roles to remain agile.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: HR's role in business continuity plans

One HR leader shared with HRD that remaining optimistic is crucial in uncertain times. Isaac Chin, Director, HR Technology & Analytics, Asia Pacific at Marriott International added that thinking beyond the short-term will also be key to ensure business growth.

“The COVID-19 situation is not something permanent – we always have this at the back of our minds,” Chin told HRD. “This will go away. The economy will rebound. Our business will rebound.”

Besides rolling out necessary flexi-work arrangements to keep the business going, he said leaders should also prepare for when the global health crisis is over.

“For the mid- to long-term, we believe that the economy will rebound, so we started thinking about what we can do to prepare for the rebound so that we come out ahead of the competition when this whole thing is over,” he said.

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