The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global economies and businesses, wherein no organisation has possibly been spared of its onslaught. After a hiatus, things however seem to be falling back on track. Albeit at a slower pace. With a myriad of questions for the ever-seeking mind about the single most critical element for any organisation: the human capital. When it comes to imagining the future impact and role of human capital post-COVID-19, the questions are limitless.
Since early 2020, the role of human capital management (HCM) has been critical. Remote work, weekly changes by local governments, crisis management, and business continuity planning (BCP) have all impacted how HCM functions should operate. The dynamic external environment had naturally transformed the function and its functionaries into a coterie of agile intrapreneurs. Focusing on and executing strategic maneuvers, which otherwise may have been unfeasible as per the traditional interpretations of the HRM function.
Sticking close to its primary goal, the HRM champions across organisations lived up to the expectation of strategically designing and developing practices for effective workforce management. Especially, in the wake of the pandemic. Unique circumstances like this, demanded out-of-the-box thinking and HRM champions showcased the same. The spirit of HCM remained undeterred even in the face of such a catastrophic situation. As organisations, put their best foot forward to counter the same.
On the other side of the spectrum, the pandemic had also significantly altered the education system. As a key stakeholder to the corporate world, academic institutions too were forced to a grinding halt. However, institutes of higher education (IHE) and among them many B-Schools rose to the occasion and did what may have been deemed a distant fantasy two years ago. They transitioned to a completely virtual mode of teaching – learning, to tide over. Similar to business organisations, they too understood the importance of BCP and emerged as equally agile compatriots in comparison to their industry partners. Remote learning was carried out at a rapid pace with the help of various online learning platforms. Which kept the flow of education uninterrupted for future business leaders. The combination of technological resources and innovative learning is rapidly changing the teaching and learning processes. The majority of IHEs have seen a significant increase in e-learning, through synchronous as well as asynchronous modes in the last one year. They have collaborated with online portals to allow students to attend classes remotely, providing a classroom-like experience. Many have adopted a tailor-made hybrid approach to deliver the teaching-learning experience, which includes live interaction sessions to allow for peer-to-peer learning, case studies discussions, and much more.
Institutions have been experimenting with a variety of novel methods to improve student comprehension by including online streaming interactions, open discussion rounds to solve case studies or conduct discussions on relevant topics, online assignments and interactive virtual class sessions.
Some digital transformation trends helping HCM in education-based learning includes:
Virtual Reality: In the world of education, virtual reality gives students the opportunity to experience the material they are learning before moving on to real-world applications. This can make students feel more at ease and better prepared for their future careers and make them industry ready.
Personalized Learning Experiences: Personalized learning experiences play a significant role in the digital education revolution. Students and learning institutions are highly benefited from this concept. When students are allowed to learn in a way that best suits their own learning styles, it aids in their ability to absorb and retain critical information; personalization enables them to progress in their education.
Incorporating the Internet of Things into the school environment: The Internet of Things is becoming more prevalent in people’s lives in the age of smart devices. This trend has begun to help connect learning institutions and students in an entirely new way in education. It allows educational institutions to stay in touch with their students.
Big Data and Digital Citizenship: Schools have long amassed a wealth of data on their students, including demographics, grades, and classes. Big data allows them to take this information a step further and use it to better understand student trends and successes.
Students also play a key role in this entire scheme of things. They need to know how to interact politely and civilly online because these digital transformation trends have impacted them in a variety of ways throughout their lives. This is analogous to students learning how to behave professionally in an office or the corporate ecosystem. Institutions empower students to embrace the full potential of technology by educating them on how to be good digital citizens.
Any transformation is difficult to adjust to, and many students as well as teachers found it difficult to switch completely to a digital platform for learning. Furthermore, in the e-world, the teaching process has changed dramatically, adapting to keep students engaged for technical and theoretical sessions. However, every new experience provides a scope for new learning. That is what the B-Schools are treasuring and working upon. Afterall, an effective alignment to such a working model helps acquaint their students to such a lifestyle. Which in turn will come in handy for them when they graduate and take up jobs in organisations. In a way, educational institutions are ensuring their sustainability as well as for their industry partners. Much like a co-participant in the arena. Afterall, a participatory process is what lies at the heart of the principle of sustainability.
It is no secret that when this crisis is resolved, the economy will take some time to recover. Businesses need to make significant changes in order to avoid closure, and some will even benefit from the situation. The most important thing is to act quickly to limit the damage. In any case, significant changes will occur in how organizations manage their human capital for future endeavours. One thing is certain: the pandemic and its impact on businesses have highlighted the need for adaptability and resilience in today’s workforce, hastened the transition to a new, digital economy, and has emphasized the importance of human resources in the new normal.