Pandemic Skyrocketing Unemployment Rates in Hong Kong & Singapore
How can leaders in Asia fortify their business post-pandemic? After having record low unemployment rates just last year, the COVID-19 shot up Hong Kong’s unemployment rate to 5.9%, highest since 2005 (Source: TradingEconomics).
Similarly, Singapore’s unemployment rate has increased to 2.4% (3.5% for Singapore citizens), the highest rate of jobless people recorded in a decade.
While many businesses have started returning to the office, the COVID-19 pandemic has nonetheless left a mark as leaders work restlessly to secure their companies’ financial footing.
For Singapore, in April alone, we’ve witnessed the closing of 3,800 companies due to the coronavirus pandemic (Source: MOM). On top of that, employees placed on shorter work hours or furlough has increased five times this quarter, affecting 4,190 workers, with retrenchment also increasing to 3,220 in the first quarter.
In light of the current market, business leaders need to take active measures to build up business resilience, streamlining operations and taking steps to grow their businesses sustainably.
Growing Role of HR in Building Business Resilience
As one of the earlier cities to return to the office, Hong Kong has seen a bounceback in its job market. According to the Links’ Monthly Job Index, job postings in May increased by 19%.
Demand for administrative and HR roles is especially booming with a 29% increase in job postings. All this points to the need for strategic HR as businesses align their workforce to bring about the greatest returns.
For a more in-depth analysis of the current job market, check out the Links Monthly Job Index.
How to Ensure Your Business Grows When Others Fall Behind
One thing the pandemic brings to light is how vulnerable many businesses are to a crisis. While many companies were quick to adopt work from home policies, the challenges were soon apparent. From technical issues to a drop in productivity due to cabin fever, a lot of pressure was placed on HR to adjust their strategy to bring everyone back on track.
In a previous article, we talked about how KPMG structured their HR strategy around building resilience in the workforce. With people returning to the office, the key to long term success will be in rebuilding momentum and the foundation for sustainable business growth.
For business leaders, part of the new growth strategy will entail shifting their mindset towards the role of HR and using it as a PR function in motivating people, bringing continuous business value.
Bloomberg’s 3 Pillar Strategy to Long Term People Success
Bloomberg is a massive name and is notorious for its secretive and lengthy hiring process. So under the current backdrop of the pandemic, what does it mean to be a sustainable business as it relates to human resources?
As the outbreak unfolded, organisations with a regional presences were hit the hardest. For Melanie Coate, who manages thousands of workers across 24 Asian markets for Bloomberg as the Head of HR in Asia, this was especially challenging.
How did they manage to unite their employees amidst the coronavirus outbreak? With a simple 3 pillar workforce model – You, Team & Community.
Over the last two months, their strategy was centered around these three pillars. Promoting clear communication during this critical period, the three pillars revealed the need for stronger self-care and people support measures.
For Coate, the key role of HR is in laying the right foundation for your people to perform at their best in this constantly evolving landscape. This meant implementing mental health education programmes, remote resilience sessions to aid the transition to remote work, as well as future-focused programmes for employees.
In order for businesses to succeed and grow in such turbulent climates, leaders will have to be prepared to modify their HR strategy. To elevate the role of HR, focusing on realising people’s potential and maximising results.
3 Key Takeaways
New Opportunities in Financial Relief
Undoubtedly, the post-COVID-19 world will pose many challenges to businesses. As different stimulus packages and strategies are put in place in Asia, it will be up to business leaders to take advantage of new opportunities by streamlining their workforce.
Regain Momentum by Optimising Operations
Outsourcing has long been a solution for businesses to optmise their operations. With the pandemic putting extra pressure on HR to focus on people instead of tasks, leaders can consider outsourcing their HR and delivering greater business value.
Maximise Returns by Building Up the Workforce
Productivity can dwindle after a crisis. Taking proper care of people and making sure they’re performing to the best of their ability will be the key to driving results in low times. Businesses can look into providing employee assistance programmes to employees to reboot morale.
Additional programmes such as outplacement services can also help restore trust in the company, helping people navigate change and motivating employees to perform at their peak.
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Links International is an industry leader in innovative HR outsourcing with services such as payroll outsourcing, visa application, Employer of Record (EOR), outplacement, recruitment and more! Contact us for more information on how we can help leverage your HR function.