Many organisations struggling to cope with impact of COVID-19

40% of employers have shut down certain aspects of their business, and 19% are considering doing so, according to new SHRM research.
By: | April 23, 2020

As the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak continues to be felt across the business world, many organisations are struggling to overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic.

In a survey of 2,278 HR professionals from the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) membership, nearly half of employers with over 500 employees have shut down some business aspects, with another one-third actively considering doing so.

Conversely, 47% of employers with less than 500 employees will keep all job functions operational, while over one in 10 employers are facing the prospect of total shut down.

Of the employers who have made business practice adjustments (83%), half are no longer hiring or are delaying new hire start dates. 38% of these companies have also decreased hours for employers, 19% have introduced salary reductions, and over 30% have laid employees off.

“Business is not as usual,” said SHRM president and CEO Johnny Taylor. “Markets are down, companies are closed, and millions are working from home. It’s a time of change, challenge and uncertainty.”

Some of the common challenges identified by employees during COVID-19 include: maintaining company culture, managing employees who are unable to telework, shifting communications to meet remote needs, managing the time required to implement and stay compliant with government leave requirements, and managing the increased number of leave requests.

Either because of national regulations or due to employee concerns, more than 75% of employers are implementing remote working arrangements. However, over 7 in ten employers indicated that they are struggling to adapt to remote work, citing reasons such as having to maintain employee morale.

While acknowledging the road to recovery would be a long one, Taylor is confident that employers can successfully navigate the hurdle of COVID-19. “The economy will recover, business will bounce back and, soon enough, workers will return to work. [But], it’s going to take business and HR leaders on the front lines of workplaces to be strong, innovative and agile as we all fearlessly face this hardship together.”