Months into the pandemic, looking at its effect on businesses, a lot of focus has been placed on how it's taken a toll on employees - e.g. through their job security, happiness, mental health, and more.

While this has helped place much-needed awareness to help employers make better decisions for their workforce, it's sometimes easy to overlook the toll everything may have on the leadership team itself. 

According to a recent JobStreet survey of 700 hirers in Singapore, since the onset of the pandemic, just 54% are happy with their jobs now (down from 87% previously). A majority of them are local business owners, executive-level decision-makers, and leaders in recruitment and HR appointments.

3 key concerns facing employers: Finance, staff wellbeing, and staff engagement

Among these employers, a significant number (67%) revealed they were worried about their revenue, profitability, and cash flow, a sentiment that was especially prevalent among local small-business owners.

Coming to the wellbeing of employees - with COVID-19's impact on how businesses function, many employers have indeed had to be the bearer of certain bad news, be it on pay cuts, salary freezes, or even layoffs. This, in turn, has left them psychologically drained, with nearly half (49%) feeling so.

In the midst of it, nearly all organisations (93%) had to implement HR changes, with the most common being a work-from-home requirement (78%) which required employers to urgently set up appropriate IT infrastructure to support remote working. 

Additionally, a further 47% faced a negative impact on staff headcount, while 46% had to reduce staff remuneration. 

Lastly, with the shift to remote working, employers were faced with the issue of staff engagement. In fact, about four in 10 (40%) found it hard to maintain staff engagement in the process, citing a lack of physical interactions, poorer productivity, and difficulty in staff management.

Commenting on the above findings, Chew Siew Mee, Country Manager, JobStreet Singapore, said: "Employers have to shoulder the responsibility of leading their companies through the pandemic, and that is a tall order in itself.

"It is thus important that they take good care of themselves first, so that they can more effectively fulfil their leadership duties. The first step is facilitating open communication between managers and allowing them to air concerns on leadership challenges and difficulties with remote working."

She added, they can strategise on how best to "iron out the kinks".

"It is also important to recognise that working from home blurs professional and personal boundaries. Employers must set time aside for themselves as well as their families, relatives and friends."

Through this all, 64% of employers surveyed are still positive about their firm's prospects

Despite the negative implications faced, the report revealed that hirers are still expecting an uplift in the situation, with more than six in 10 (64%) feeling positive about their organisations' prospects, and 63% thinking their industries will rebound.

At the same time, one-third expect to resume hiring in the next six to 12 months; with likely in-demand roles including sales/customer service/business development (30%), administration/human resources (19%), engineering (16%), and accounting (15%).

Photo / 123RF


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