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Hot topic: What would HR find in its own Covid inquiry? Part one

The public inquiry into the UK’s handling of Covid-19 has topped the news since it began in June.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock said the UK made a huge error in assuming Covid could not be prevented from spreading and had therefore focused on how to deal with mass deaths, rather than preventing infections.

The inquiry aims to examine the response to the pandemic and learn lessons to prevent similar failings happening again.

But if HR professionals were to hold their own Covid inquiry, what would they find? And have they learned from their previous experiences enough to prepare for a similarly large-scale crisis?

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Tim Pointer, portfolio chief people officer

As the memory of working out with Joe Wicks and quizzing via zoom fades, how ready are HR leaders for the next crisis?

Firstly, we must prepare for the climate crisis. The enthusiasm is there within our current and future talent, and this is a way to evolve our organisations to be future-fit.

We also need to look at digital evolution. AI is only one component of this that will shape our day-to-day. Embracing the opportunities gives us a potential competitive advantage.

We must also better understand the contemporary digital threats that can stop our business in our tracks.

Lastly, we need to prepare for economic uncertainty. Stakeholders are dealing with higher costs and colleagues have seen the same rapid impact in their household budget, so we talk about pay and benefits.

All these potential future crises give the opportunity for HR leaders to shape their organisations for future success and lead with purpose, direction and accountability.


Roujin Ghamsari, founder, Mappd HR

If HR embarked on their own Covid inquiry, they would uncover the vital importance of effective workforce planning and agility. The inquiry would also reveal the pivotal role of health and wellbeing.

Organisations that fostered a culture of support and provided wellbeing resources saw a far more resilient workforce.

Hybrid working and better technology was transformative, bringing flexibility and work/life balance, reducing stress and increasing productivity. Organisations embracing this shift empowered employees to thrive.

The lessons learned from the pandemic will guide organisations towards a future that values the human element, embraces flexibility, and fosters a culture of care.


Click here for part two of this hot topic.

This article was first published in the July/August 2023 issue of HR magazine. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.