Organisations more cautious in making business decisions

New pulse survey from Aon examines the workplace, HR and compensation policies being put in place by companies in Asia-Pacific as they look to keep employees safe and adjust to an increasingly volatile market.
By: | March 31, 2020
Topics: Asia-Pacific | News

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to place a heavy financial burden on businesses, organisations in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly adopting a cautious approach to future hiring, as well as employee compensation and performance evaluation.

In Aon’s latest pulse survey, Navigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Workplace and Rewards Practices, 45% of respondent organisations said they are closely reviewing their workforce plans, with 29% now choosing to adopt a more cautious approach to future hiring. 11% of organisations have already implemented a hiring freeze, while 5% are considering downsizing.

Workers employed in the retail and wholesale trade, as well as those in the professional services, appear to be the most affected when it comes to employee compensation, with more than 10% of organisations in these sectors having already implemented salary freezes. For others, the outlook is less gloomy, with 86% of organisations committed to paying out planned salary increases and bonuses.

When it comes to re-evaluating and adjusting performance targets in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, only 20% of organisations have definitively said that they have no plans to adjust employee performance evaluations. Conversely, only 5% have already made adjustments, with the majority (65%) expressing uncertainty and indicating they will continue to monitor the situation.

The survey also takes a closer look at the main challenges facing HR during the COVID-19 outbreak. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many HR departments are focused on minimising disruption to normal operations and providing employees with up-to-date information. The fast-moving nature of the crisis, however, is challenging HR departments’ ability to perform these operations, noted Aon. While 88% of HR representatives are satisfied with their strategies towards mitigating people risk, 73% believe that organisations must reassess their Duty of Care obligations to employees in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As to when they expect normalcy to return, most companies do not expect to resume normal operations until at least the second half of 2020. Increasingly, many are offering work from home options, said Aon, as organisations look to minimise the commute to work and reduce the functions in office that are deemed necessary for operations.