Impact of COVID-19 on Human Resource Management 


All organizations have been profoundly affected by COVID-19, creating a complex and difficult environment for managers and human resource management (HRM) professionals. Few studies look at how this crisis has affected HRM. This article tries to explain COVID-19’s effects on HRM to broaden the focus of management research. It outlines the main issues and opportunities brought on by this new pandemic and offers managers and HRM professionals suggestions for potential organizational directions that could result from these opportunities. 

Let’s understand “how did COVID-19 affect the role of HR?” and HR challenges during COVID-19 

Negative Impact of COVID-19 on Employment 

Organizational performance is now at the forefront of modern organizations’ attention due to the challenging conditions of the modern economy, especially as a crucial component of tracking organizations’ progress. It is also important to note that it has developed into a construct that is getting a lot of attention in the field of management sciences. Organizational performance is called the ability to obtain and transform different types of resources (such as human, financial, or technical) to carry out tasks and accomplish the organization’s goals.  

The need for social isolation is one effect brought on by the spread of contamination. The performance of salespeople was found to be indirectly impacted by social isolation in quantitative research.  

The COVID-19 pandemic also led to layoffs in the hospitality sector and other industries, which was a bad outcome. The COVID-19 layoffs stress the remaining employees, which lowers their performance in their core roles and other business areas. It was found that during pandemics, emotional exhaustion has a stronger, indirect effect on customer rudeness on job performance. 

On the other hand, some workers emphasized an organization’s critical role in enhancing job performance. According to research findings, job performance and COVID-19 responses indicating satisfaction with the organization are positively correlated. When employees are happy with the organization’s anti-crisis initiatives, they are more assured about their well-being, physical health, and jobs, which leads to better outcomes. Because of this, it’s critical to assess and pinpoint any means by which the company can help its workers maintain or even improve their job performance, as this should be regarded as a key factor enabling the organization’s survival. 

Challenges of HRM During COVID-19 

Unexpected crises on a global scale can have a significant effect on employee well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic situation will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on employees’ psychological health, resulting in cumulative stress for many of them and negatively affecting performance, a crucial factor for organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic had a number of negative effects, including social and behavioral changes, economic shock, and difficulties for organizations to carry on with business as usual. Additionally, the strategies included adaptability, improving internal efficiency, talent acquisition, and implementing innovative changes based on organizational assessment and requirements for efficient business operations. 


Determining how seriously the pandemic has affected the organization’s finances is challenging. By choosing to freeze certain expenses, such as dedicated hiring costs, an organization can use one of many strategies to safeguard its financial interests. Two fundamental HRM processes are involved in staffing the employees: recruitment and selection. All hiring-related activities reflect the company’s overall attitude and the opportunities the organization will have once the pandemic is over. 

The high level of instability in the future makes it difficult for organizations to accurately predict their staffing needs, even in the short term. Numerous variables, such as market demand or political regulations, have an impact on the dynamics of staffing requirements. Therefore, the HR division has to adjust to the latest fashions. 

Therefore, it is advised to be extremely cautious when analyzing both current and future resource needs. Numerous sources show that the strategy of partially or completely halting the hiring of new employees is the most frequently used strategy. 

Employment Strategies: 

Employees are an essential part of any organization and greatly impact its productivity, success, and future. This is the main justification given by businesses for choosing to spend a lot of money on employee development. In reality, employees’ development includes both their personal growth and the growth of the company as a whole. A more productive workforce also translates to greater success for the company. However, one of the best ways to support employees’ performance is through employee development and promotion. Organizations make radical decisions that limit their flexibility during times of crisis when the need to survive in the market proves to be crucial. While still taking care to invest in human capital and keeping in mind the minimization of strategic costs, the HR department also plays a critical role in mitigating the crisis’ effects by reducing stress among the organization’s employees. As was already mentioned, organizations frequently decide during a crisis to cut back on many extra expenses, including those associated with paying for additional benefits, promotions, and employee development. As a result, despite rising employee expectations, a crisis would hinder opportunities for employee advancement. 

Some of these tools are modern techniques for providing alternative jobs, part-time positions, or flexible work hours. This gives staff members a feeling of security, which will have a more significant impact on staff members’ performance and intention to stay with the company in times of global crisis. As a result, concerns about opportunities for growth and advancement will fade into the background, ensuring that their loss during the crisis has little impact on the productivity and morale of the workforce. 


Digital technology has the potential to give an organization a competitive advantage by enhancing its adaptability and resilience as well as its capacity for rapid change. Because it can aid in recognizing and detecting changes in the environment, digitization will therefore be advantageous for dynamic changes in the organization, including those brought on by dynamic environmental changes. It was observed how crucial digitization is to an organization during the pandemic. 

Organizations were able to survive the challenging pandemic period and take advantage of new growth opportunities thanks to the implementation of digitalization, which has contributed to the creation of many new opportunities. With the help of new technologies, digitalization has found creative ways to use them, such as rearranging an organization’s resources to enable better crisis response. Therefore, many organizations have changed HRM procedures like hiring or onboarding new employees to ensure the safety of both new and existing employees while giving the organization enough resources. This is done in order to maintain continuous growth and ensure the organization’s sustainability. 

Job Design: 

Because it considers not only all structural and social factors but also how the workplace affects the employees, job design is crucial to HRM processes. 

Many organizations were forced to work under new circumstances right away, including using new technologies in completely different settings—often at home or in hybrid mode—with less social and physical interaction and with significantly less oversight and support from other employees. 

This is why job redesigning is so important to an organization’s operation. The current pandemic suggests that the adjustments made will endure for a considerable amount of time and even stay in the organization long after the pandemic has passed. In order to safeguard the employees’ health in the future, it is crucial for HRM professionals to conduct an assertive review of job design, risk analysis, restrictions, guidelines, and practices. 


When it comes to managing human resources, communication is essential because it keeps employees motivated, involved, and committed to the company. Appropriate communication will influence employees’ emotional commitment to organizational change, boost their trust in the organization, and stimulate their commitment to the organization, particularly during the dynamic changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research, informal communication can lessen employees’ resistance to learning new skills and assuming new roles as a result of COVID-19 restructuring. 


Traditional employee experience measures, such as engagement surveys and turnover metrics, need to provide a complete picture of how employee performance and retention are affected by current experiences or overall well-being. Even though 70% of businesses increased their well-being spending over the past two years, the majority of employees still do not take advantage of these services. In order to draw in and keep talent, your EVP must include a commitment to well-being. 

Corporate Social Responsibility: 

The important connections between business and society that span the critical relationships between employees, clients, suppliers, and the community are considered by CSR today. As a result, CSR is viewed as a multidimensional concept. It is a dynamic, ever-changing practice whose mechanisms, processes, and evolutions are influenced by a variety of intricate internal and external, socio-cultural, and economic factors. 

By promoting public health, offering medical aid, financial support, or aiding other sectors that were particularly impacted by the pandemic’s negative effects, organizations felt compelled to look out for the community. This is so that the organization’s community can feel more secure as a result of these actions. 


In this article, we discussed human resource management and COVID-19. Implementing the right human resource management strategies would improve employees’ mental health, satisfaction, productivity, motivation, and workplace health safety. 

All organizations have been severely shaken by COVID-19, creating a complex and difficult environment for managers and other human resource management (HRM) professionals. The need is to come up with creative solutions to ensure the survival of their businesses and assist their staff in coping with this extraordinary crisis. Certificate Program in People Analytics & Digital HR by IIM Indore & UNext Jigsaw allows you to upgrade your organizational skills under the expert mentorship of IIM Indore faculty. 


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