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Conclusions Survey “HR issues during quarantine 2020 in Ukraine”

Conclusions Survey “HR issues during quarantine 2020 in Ukraine”

In June 2020 Rost Group initiated survey among HR specialists of Ukrainian enterprises “HR issues during quarantine or how COVID-19 changed the life of the company” in order to evaluate the changes which quarantine brought to the work and to find out what Ukrainian business is preparing for in the nearest future.

Survey was conducted jointly with the Ukrainian Association of HR professionals “HR PRO Association”, and data processing, analyzing and results presentation was done by SMART business.

HR representatives of 100+ national and international companies from 15 industries participated in the survey. The most active respondents were representatives of IT-sector (28%), services and retail sectors (17% each), industry (8%). Financial and agricultural sectors, construction, pharmaceuticals and other industries showed in average by 3% each.

It should be noted that companies with 100 up to 500 employees were the most adaptive to the changes and business conditions during the pandemic.

The last four months have shown that Ukrainian business tends to freeze and wait. These tactics would be effective if the pandemic had been limited to one month. The realities are that the longer business waits, the greater the risk that it will collapse, and we won’t be talking about strong market soon. Namely these risks are indicated in general results of HR survey:

– business processes remain unchanged,

– compensation to employees remains unchanged,

– automation remains at the same level,

– current strategy is aimed to retain the team and move part of the staff into permanent remote mode.

“Discussing the results of the survey at closed meeting of HR executives, we concluded that there were 2 types of companies among the respondents.

First were ready for full-scale remote mode. Specific character of their work could make it possible to support business processes without any changes or implementations. These are mostly IT-companies and large businesses that have long focused on workflow automation. As for small and medium-sized businesses, their chances of regaining their previous standings are getting lower each day.

Second type of respondents were companies that took a wait-and-see attitude and gave themselves time to look around and evaluate future investments.”»

Answering to the questions, respondents identified the top 5 key challenges that HR professionals faced during the quarantine.

– communication – 32%

– new personnel onboarding – 13%

– remote work arrangement – 12%

– employees reduction – 11%

– team motivation – 9%

One of the most interesting questions for the organizers was about changes in companies’ business processes during the quarantine period. 78% of respondents said that processes have not changed, despite problems caused by lack of communication, onboarding tasks, employee onboarding and motivation. The highest level of stability of business processes registered in IT-companies with less than 100 employees (37%).

As statistics show, in most IT-companies teams practice remote mode on regular basis and have long been adapted to it, many processes are automated and function on single technology platform.

Only 16% of respondents had simplified procedure of documents approval and another 6% noted reduction in the stages of approval when selecting staff.

As for the introduction of additional software to automate processes, more than half of the respondents (53%) said that they had not implemented anything. Only 16% said they implemented remote meeting software, and 6% said they implemented a chatbot or employee communication platform. Another 4% implemented electronic document management software.

We see that “key” challenge, lack of communication in remote mode, only 22% took action to address the issue.

In response to the question, ‘how will your employees’ work schedule change after the quarantine ends?’ 56% of companies said they plan to implement flexible work schedules, while 36% will return to their regular schedule. The majority (74%) of companies plan to keep 1/5 of the team in remote mode permanently.

Thus, digitalization of jobs and ability to work at any time and from any part of the world is no longer an exception to the general rules of the market and is transformed into a familiar circumstance.

Most companies do not plan to roll out a full-scale recruitment effort once the quarantine is over. The only exception will be the industries that were forced to downsize at the start of the pandemic and for which active recruitment will be the first necessity, namely retail, industry and services.

Not to finalize but to start new round of survey it should be noted that many businesses had the illusion that one can lower costs by optimizing expense for office rent and administrative needs. As practice has shown, the savings will need to be reinvested into team stabilization, well-being and staff support.

It is very important to involve and take into account standpoint of HR specialists when building business processes. Therefore, at last it is important to study specific character of business processes creation, market situation, mood within the company and adjust the strategy to these data.

“Such surveys are highly necessary for HR professionals. They are especially valuable because they are joined by colleagues from different industries. Regular statistics and measurements allow to track the dynamics of market changes, detect ‘blind spots’, find solutions together and share experiences,” says Yekaterina K., co-organizer of survey, head of HR Pro Association.

Returning to the results of survey, we can generate a number of recommendations for HR specialists:

– to follow trends and keep track of events,

– to plan IT solutions implementation and bring them into action,

– to onboard employees to new work environment,

– to systematize business processes,

– to increase level of digital education,

– to participate in and initiate industry surveys.

There will always be businesses that will have to adapt very quickly and look for solutions:

– to arrange pickup and “internal Uber” when there is no public transport,

– to reclassify office employees as sales staff to support company operations,

– to understand within few hours new software to arrange meetings with the regions,

– to find simple and complex ways to control employees in remote mode and many other.

Quarantine allowed critically evaluate staffing and understand which functions and positions are key for business, and which can and should be optimized. Assessing risks and possibilities HR specialists are increasingly confident in online personnel assessment, electronic document management with digital signatures, transfer of specific functions to outsourcing with hourly payment, and deliberately prepare for transfer of many employees into permanent remote mode.

This is digitalized future of modern HR. It came sooner than we expected. Not everyone was prepared for it, but many showed flexibility, adaptability and resourcefulness.

One should be prepared in advance, stay in single information field and remember that at the start of each new challenge it is important to quickly adjust business strategy and structure work processes beforehand.

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