Possible effects of COVID-19 on your business from a human resources perspective

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA, Toronto) has released the results of a timely member survey revealing the impacts and scale of change Ontario’s HR professionals are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and what this might mean for businesses. The 1,107 respondents represented HR professionals from organizations of varied sizes, sectors and industries from across the province. Speaking on the changes they’ve experienced to date, HR Professionals said that:

  • 40% were able to provide work-from-home options
  • 34% introduced policies and expectations about workload for remote workers
  • 48% are providing unique mental health supports
  • 53% have implemented a hiring freeze
  • 52% have changed approaches to on-boarding
Louise Taylor Green.

Louise Taylor Green, the HRPA’s CEO, added: “With COVID-19, ‘change’ is the new norm for the foreseeable future. I’m struck by how quickly business decision makers had to move to face the realities of COVID-19 head-on. While many organizations were able to pivot operating norms to keep businesses running, others were faced with the brutal task of reducing hours and staff. It’s clear that we all face immense change with the impending return to work. Our HR Professionals were at the table with business decision makers like never before – and continue to play a key role in technology, workload, communication issues, management and mitigation. These are all among the pressing issues of this time.”

What this might mean for your business

The survey results revealed key themes that will be particularly relevant to businesses – including print shops – as back-to-work planning continues:

  • Working from home policies will need to be revisited. Only 37% of respondents indicated that their organization currently allows working from home at least some of the time. Often a controversial and unclear policy, COVID-19 has brought it to the forefront of policy considerations.
  • Organizations will think of ‘essential services’ differently moving forward. Based on Government of Ontario criteria, about 75% of respondent companies were deemed to be an ‘essential service.’ Organizations will need to better understand their role when considering commitments to employee safety and well-being.
  • The mental health of workers will become a top priority. While many respondents said their organization added mental health supports for employees, 52% have not yet addressed this need, revealing a significant opportunity to improve.
  • Most organizations are not currently focusing on updating or modifying existing employee programs, so this will require re-focusing over the coming months. In fact:

– 56% have not changed performance management systems

– 54% have not changed rewards and compensation benefits

– 65% have not changed labour and employment relations

About the HRPA. The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is the regulatory association of HR Professionals in Ontario, with more than 23,000 members including students. Protecting the public interest, HRPA regulates, governs and educates its members and students by setting and enforcing standards of professional HR practices, standards of qualification, professional conduct, ethics and expertise.