How Indian Executives and HR Responded to COVID-19

New research from India shows what HR professionals and executive management are focused on in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indian employment website Times Jobs issued a report detailing the results of its survey of 1,145 HR professionals across various industries. Entitled “Indian Workplaces Response to COVID-19,” the survey indicated that business models and established workplace policies and processes have been upended because of the global pandemic. In response, Indian HR professionals and their companies remain focused on diverse hiring, business continuity planning from executive management, and employee engagement, development and well-being.

Hiring Diverse Talent Despite India’s Lockdown

The global pandemic has forced businesses and governments to create effective planning strategies for continuity and recovery. According to a Manpower Group employment outlook survey of 695 employers across India, net employment for the July-September quarter is at 5%. Despite this number, 63% of respondents to the Times Jobs survey reported hiring irrespective of the lockdown. Additionally, a majority (61%) of HR managers surveyed by Times Jobs are prioritizing hiring a diverse pool of talent despite the country’s lockdown, representing the value placed on diversity and inclusion (D&I) throughout India.

Collaboration and Communication are Key to Continuity

Business continuity planning is a crucial step toward recovery, evidenced by the 34% of respondents who claimed that their executive management is working to formulate business survival plans. To remain competitive and relevant in their respective industries, collaboration with competitors is a top focus of nearly 26% of top business leaders. Further, 24% of respondents reported that C-suite leaders are working to strengthen their communication channels. Such communication is ensuring that employees remain informed about “new norms related to salary, rewards and benefits, etc.”

Employee Engagement and Wellbeing Remain Top Focus

According to the respondents, not only are 16% of top management aligning business goals with employee goals, but organizations are focused on engagement and well-being. To drive engagement, 40% of HR professionals are offering upskilling opportunities, a proven tactic that keeps employees learning and developing for the future. Companies are increasingly focused on employee well-being, particularly mental health and flexible benefits options. Indian HR managers are focused on the same, with 34% of respondents saying their executive management have synced employee health initiatives with public health advisories. Additionally, 27% have empaneled health experts and mental health counselors and 22% issued a helpline number for employees seeking counseling.

In addition to these key takeaways, the report reveals data on the steps Indian business leaders and HR professionals are taking to making the workplace better, virtual onboarding, and the future of the workplace. Such insight is helpful for businesses and their leaders in India beyond as they continue to navigate the complex state of business during COVID-19.

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