What is your concert? Pandemic management and the role of HRM 4.0

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As we are now in a new era of industrial revolution, known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe) or Industry 4.0, everyone is afraid. Is this another era where Jobs will be replaced just like their previous versions in the 1800s and 1900s? Or will it be an opportunity to create new jobs?

There are always two sides to the coin for every number. For example, futurists believe it will create new jobs that have never been heard of before, while others say unemployment rates from the fire will be at an all time high.

This global phenomenon needs to be viewed through the prism of various stakeholders, such as employers and academia.

Educational institutions like ours should ensure the sustainability of our graduates. Analysts say it’s no longer degrees that matter, but 21st century skills. Thus, universities must provide the future workforce with the essential attributes in the workplace to be employable. Thus, stronger collaboration and linkages between industry and universities must be in place for colleges and universities to produce skills and not just degrees. On the other hand, employers must help academic circles with up-to-date strategies and the manpower needed to deliver in real time.

However, we also face another challenge: the rise of the so-called odd-job economy. The pandemic has paved the way for the possibility of working from home, which has opened doors for self-employed workers. This will not be possible without the variables found in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

So what now is the biggest challenge and billion dollar question for every human resources (HR) professional / practitioner on this planet?

Just as we need to raise the bar of our hires to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape, we also need to maintain such agility in times like this. The Covid-19 pandemic happened so quickly that big names in business here in our country admitted that there was no ‘play guide’ for them on how to thrive in the midst of national lockdown. FIRe was never something they would have considered, but the global pandemic has forced everyone to see its optimal use.

What lies ahead is indeed uncertain. Business closures have become the norm. As a result, our country is experiencing 3.88 million jobs lost due to the pandemic. Indeed, only the toughest survived, given this important blow of catastrophic portions.

Nowadays HR takes center stage as it helps navigate the rough sea that businesses now navigate. If back in the economic crisis, CFOs are leading the pack, this pandemic, we, fellow HR practitioners, are the “heroes” of this global pandemic.

Together, HR practitioners will conquer this Industry 4.0 with high hopes through the following stages:

-Quick action on all aspects of our HR practices;

-I-nvitation to all stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind

-Responsible management, because we cannot ignore humanity

-E-engage academia on trends and the latest cutting edge research in the discipline.

Alvin Neil Gutierrez is the Associate Dean for External Affairs and Lasallian Mission at the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business at De La Salle University. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Organization, teaching strategic human resource management, organizational development and organizational behavior. In addition, he obtained his Masters in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations from the University of Sydney Business School as an Australian Awards Scholar.


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