October 6

Business, Care, and Equality – Some Incredible Positives that have come out of the Pandemic in a South African Context

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Most of the news information we consume is negative – police violence, income inequality, sickness, and more. However, there have been positive outcomes even in the negative situation that is the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to world renowned industry analyst and leading provider of research-based articles in HR, Talent and Learning, Josh Bersin, the below positive outcomes can be seen in South African business and throughout the world.

Closeness as a Society

The outbreak has made society more vulnerable than ever before and this has led to a collective sense of care. We are more aware of other’s wellbeing, resilience, and health. These topics were previously not common in business discussions, but now heads of companies are focused on the safety of employees.

Questioning Economic Measures

Over the last 5 years, the methods used to measure the health of the economy cannot be considered fair. GDP has no measure of equality, the stock market has very little reflection of the economy or the wealth of the people in the country, and the unemployment rate is biased. Most of the national measures of the economy do not include health care, racial inequality, and income inequality.

Fortunately, this has come to our attention and is being discussed because of the pandemic. Hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of what should be included when it comes to measuring the strength of an economy.

Learning at the Centre of HR

In most economic downturns, learning and training are cut from budgets. However, this has not been the case in 2020. Companies had to be be rearranged to respond to the public health care issues. People have adjusted to working from home and online learning, as well as HR departments having to learn and be there for employees throughout the transformation.

HR Technology is Being Brought Up to Speed

HR technology companies responded fast to the issues that the pandemic brought about. HR tools have been created to help with “back to work”, employee time monitoring, social distancing monitoring, employee frustrations, etc. Even performance management tools are being merged with work management tools to create productivity systems which are proving essential to HR departments. Not only is employee experienced being addressed but essential systems are being created.

Corporate Citizenship is Clear

The Corporate Responsibility Manifesto from 2019 discussed taking care of all the different stakeholders in a business and the need for capitalism to be more inclusive – neither of these ideas are new nor had much impact on decision-making in companies. This year, companies are actually taking action regarding racial decisions and political action – companies are beginning to exist positively within society.

Growing Awareness, Comfort, and Understanding of Psychology in Business

The average businessperson is not educated in psychology, but since the pandemic, discussions around trauma, resilience, and mental health have become more frequent. This is a positive change because business is all about people – it is impossible to run a successful company without true attention to the issues, relationships, incentives, and rewards of the people within an organisation. The pandemic has forced businesses to take time to think about the psychological wellness of the workforce.

Family Consciousness

An employee’s family used to be considered useful data for HR records but since the outbreak, organisations have become more flexible and understanding of family issues.

Executives’ dogs are being seen on Zoom and employees no longer face such harshness when they are late for a meeting when working from home with children. Organisations have become much more forgiving environments. Video conferences seem to have decomposed company hierarchies: each team member has the same space, tools, and issues.

HR’s Role in the Pandemic

HR employees have had to step up to the challenge and become creative to solve issues of the pandemic. They have had to work with different departments and deal with complicated, unfamiliar issues relating to health. Coming out of this pandemic, HR could be recognised as far more essential to the success of business.


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