HR in Pandemic Times – COVID-19


Its everyone’s concern now, what can I do?

Ambiguity and the fear of the unseen remain critical for every employee, and business is struggling trying to survive in such times!

Here it comes: the HR Role in such times, where priorities are messed up and demands from all parties are getting harsher.

Business needs to ensure continuity of operations and cash flows:

This requires stable operations, supply chain and outbound logistics and full commitment to deliverables and production plans.

FMCG, pharmaceutical, oil and gas are sample of industries that are expected to maintain same level of capacity and may increase it – due to Ramadan season.

Tourism, insurance and educational institutions are examples for industries expected to have a decreased level of capacity due to lower demand.

The most appealing word in such times is : “contingency planning” , where companies have to set future plans for their operations in case of things went to the next level and more serious procedures were enforced by government.

This may include but is not limited to:

-          Having emergency communication plans with business lines and employees.

-          Setting clear and strict precautions to eliminate the spread of the virus and communicate regularly with stakeholders.

-          Put on hold some products of services that are forecasted to have a decreased demand.

-          Focus on short-term (even very short-term span of planning) and near deliverables. This mean weekly or even daily tasks should be assigned and monitored.

-          Give a concern to people and show genuine appreciation and recognition of efforts in such critical times.

-          Start planning for scenario b or c , in case the virus went more viral.


HR has a key role as well:

As stakeholders are more concerned with business continuity and maintaining results, the concern for employees should be the HR focal interest in these times.


-          Employees protection: regular safety protocols should be activated: PPE, hands and premises’ sanitizing.

-          Elimination of unnecessary meetings if possible (people will love that!)

-          Regular communication and open channels with employees as much as possible.

-          Communicate the latest news, updates and precautions released from credible parties (e.g. World Health Organization)

-          Examine the option of working from home: this will be applicable unfortunately for some jobs in your organization only and will not work for others.

-          Even if HR operations can be run remotely, we should be the last to apply (working from home)


It’s a good chance to demonstrate the real value of HR Management in the business and let’s get the best out of it.

May God protects you all.

Ramy Ramzy, SPHR

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