Human Resource Outsourcing in COVID-19 Era


In every facet of life’s endeavour, whether in business, politics or social activities, humans are the most important resources. 

Human Resources in simple term refer to the people or manpower required to carry out a task or the people that work for an organization – public, private or non-profit – at different levels.

The Oxford dictionary also defines Human Resources as “the personnel of a business or organization, regarded as a significant asset in terms of skills and abilities.”

In business, the Human Resource department is responsible for the recruitment and management of the entire workforce of an organization. When all of its responsibility is taken into consideration, Human Resources is the backbone of every organization.

The quality of an organization’s resources determines how well it performs. As the global business environment becomes more competitive and businesses strive to increase productivity and the organization’s bottom line, the jostle for high performing talents has become intense, beaming the light on outsourcing. 

Traditionally, outsourcing contracts a part of their operational processes to a third party for various reasons ranging from lower labour cost, lack of expertise, time constraint, etc. The recent trend in most organizations is to outsource HR to gain a competitive edge and market leadership.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the world and claimed millions of lives, the traditional method of human resourcing has been altered. Human Resources professionals in a bid to ensure adaptability for business continuity had to introduce practical and effective new work policies like remote work, rotational work policy etc.

In a recent April 25, 2021 article written by Sergei Soares, Florence Bonnet and Janine Berg, a household survey data for 31 countries was used to update previous estimates of workers working from home during the pandemic. The new data suggest that during the second quarter of 2020, 557 million workers worked from home. This number, which accounts for 17.4% of the world’s employment was found to be remarkably close to a previous estimate from May 2020.

In another report by the International Labour Organization, titled; Covid-19 and the world of work, it was reported that in 2020 alone, 8.8 per cent of global working hours –  equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs – were lost. This loss is approximately four times greater than what was lost during the global financial crisis in 2009.

With the pandemic came the discovery that most of the jobs for which organizations had hitherto engaged employees full time, can be outsourced either onshore or offshore at a lower cost. This discovery, enabled by dwindling revenue, has resulted in either pay cut, prorated pay scale or outright downsizing of the workforce.  

Human Resource professionals must now, as a matter of urgency, develop strategies to help organizations manage this new normal to enable them to stay alive and navigate through these turbulent times.

On the part of the labour force, the above reality means that only high-flying employees with up-to-date relevant skills will be engaged productively or positioned for either remote work or outsourced jobs.  

The onus falls on the individual to prioritize his or her personal development because in the wake of COVID-19, the business environment is more competitive and only those well-positioned for today and future opportunities will survive. 

Pius Ibharoga

Pius Ibharoga

Business Manager, HRM

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