Just 39% of HR executives in Malaysia say their organisation is adapting to the 'new reality' in light of COVID-19, with a similar group in the resilience phase. At the same time, 18% have moved on to support the organisation to reset and identify opportunities.

Close to nine in 10 (87%) HR executives in Malaysia believe the function plays a leading role in responding to COVID-19, KPMG's recent 2020 HR Pulse Survey has found.

That said, the survey has identified three key challenges likely to arise for HR in the coming 12 to 24 months, namely:

  • 13% of the workforce will be made redundant
  • 30% will likely continue to work remotely
  • 47% of the workforce needs to be reskilled or upskilled towards a new reality.

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Three steps HR can take to drive a more resilient organisation

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Apart from the above, the survey also found that just 39% of HR executives in Malaysia say their organisation is adapting to the 'new reality' in light of COVID-19. A similar 39% consider their organisation to still be in the resilience phase, where they are involved in supporting and developing leaders and employees to manage through uncertainty.

At the same time, close to five in 10 (18%) have moved on to the recovery phase and are supporting the organisation to reset and identify opportunities; while a much lower percentage (4%) is currently still in the reaction phase, managing talent risk as the organisation responds to immediate challenges.

In light of this, KPMG has identified three key practices HR can adopt to drive a more resilient organisation:

#1 Create a purpose-driven culture

Besides recognising the importance of creating a cohesive employee experience, HR leaders should adjust the organisation culture to better suit a remote working environment. The workplace is now no longer associated with a physical space, but instead defined by long hours of solo work and online meetings.

The report stated: "It is more crucial than ever for HR to engage its workforce or risk the organisation's culture dissolving into an environment of isolation, anxiety, and video call fatigue that puts productivity, on-the-job learning, and employee retention at risk."

#2 Take the lead to reskill the workforce

At least 44% of respondents consider delivering on the agenda for transformational learning and reskilling the workforce as a top skill to add value in today's environment. However, the survey noted that this can be a difficult process during this uncertain time, as employees need to be re-trained to work and lead effectively in a remote environment.

Since traditional face-to-face training formats are no longer an option, HR leaders must be creative and accepting of digital learning via online platforms and adapting their own custom courses to create a virtual, asynchronous or live learning setting.

#3 Harness analytics

In the current remote working environment, data will be the key factor to help improve productivity, understand talent needs, and design the future workforce. However, less than half (43%) of respondents in Malaysia admit to being proficient in using data and analytics to target and recruit new talents.

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Top five skills HR needs in today's work environment

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 As HR continues to lead the fight, the function must remain adaptable to rapid changes brought on by the evolving workforce in light of COVID-19.

Thus, HR executives surveyed identified five key skills required for HR to 'add value' in today's environment. These include:

  • The ability to deliver on the agenda for transformational learning and upskilling or reskilling the workforce.
  • Managing the performance and productivity in a predominantly remote environment.
  • Conducting workforce forecasting and shaping to deliver the 'Workforce of the Future'.
  • Managing multiple employee value propositions. e.g. for a multi-generational workforce.
  • Applying behavioural science for effective cultural and/or digital mindset change.

Lead image and infographics / KPMG Global 2020 HR Pulse Survey

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