By Adelina Rosca, General manager at Rosman Talent Solutions, Romania.
Already in the eighth week of isolation and we can say we have learned, in an extremely short time, to live differently than we could ever imagine before the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are still isolated from our loved ones; as the virus is present among us, some businesses have collapsed and others have been reinvented or even flourished.
During this period, I tried to capture the activity of HR professionals in Romania, to understand how they manage the situation, what decisions they have made and especially how they adapted to all the changes that have occurred.
I talked to HR managers from several industries, multinational and local companies, companies with a few employees, but also with hundreds or thousands, just to see the differences, advantages and disadvantages created by this period. Some of the HR professionals who have gone through the crisis of 2008 seem more experienced. Others who are in their first crisis are more worried.
However, they have all identified some common elements that are worth mentioning:
- The high speed to make decisions: the crisis came suddenly, like an arrow.
- Intense emotions; everyone felt the pressure but also the weight, especially when they had to communicate and implement tough decisions (such as technical unemployment).
- The support from the HR community, from colleagues in the same other companies.
- The insecurity of tomorrow, the lack of visibility of a clear trajectory.
- The importance of strategic crisis plans, in a context that changes from day-to-day.
- The importance of digitization: in record time, companies have managed to implement processes for working online, so that the activity is as little affected as possible.
- Much stronger strategic partnerships and collaborative relationships have been developed between Management and HR professionals. HR has become a binder with a proactive role in the company.
- Remote work has brought value: teams have become more cohesive, people more responsible and even more efficient.
- From a legislative point of view, the HR teams have put a lot of effort into juggling all the legislative changes, interpretations and reinterpretations given, precisely to ensure that everything that can be done for people is implemented correctly.
We have also identified some elements that have special relevance at the industry level:
- Companies in the IT&C sector, especially those working for clients in Farma or Retail, continued to hire and even attracted extremely valuable colleagues in their teams.
- There is an increase in business for FMCG, Transport (Domestic Shipping) and Farma industries. That’s why they decided to help companies that had to downsize by offering new secure jobs to the affected people
- In the most impacted sectors, HR has also become vulnerable. Departments were restructured and many HR people, especially recruiters, from interviewers they became interviewees.
It is not easy to fight an invisible virus that has impacted the global economy and affected everyone’s lives. It is important to remain optimistic and especially responsible. In time, a business will recover and the HR professional will be stronger!
I also leave a quote that points to a perspective that I have shared for a long time: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest your reap, but by the seeds that you plant”– Robert Louis Stevenson