HR supporting and leading during COVID-19

HR supporting and leading during COVID-19

In this article series, I ask HR senior managers and leaders to discuss ideas on supporting and leading during COVID-19.

The article series

In light of the developments around this pandemic over the last few months, we are faced with a deluge of information in the form of daily and even hourly updates.  Countries have been in lockdown with our personal and professional lives impacted like nothing we have ever experienced before.

While one of the questions most likely on all of our minds is” When will this end?”,  we will no doubt discover that there are even more questions than there are answers. That said, some may be impacted or struggling more than others.

This is a time of enormous opportunity for Human Resources – whatever they seem to be called by – Personnel, Human Capital, Labour Relations  – to step forward. Whatever their long history with business leaders, it is about what this function should be doing and is doing now and in the future.

It is about setting the agenda.

HR needs to step forward to articulate why the issues it addresses matter to the business and to employees and the ways HR intends to do this. In the current environment, there are less experienced HR folk who may be struggling with how to lead. They may be grappling with an ever-increasing workload, figuring out what and how to prioritise issues and coming up with and implementing effective plans.

I have been reaching out to many senior HR managers and leaders within my network (even attracted the interest from other business leaders) to ask just five questions. I hope that it may shed some light on questions you are asking or perhaps raise relevant questions you need to find answers to and put you on the right path.

You will begin to see a growing list of HR leaders who have stepped forward to share, perhaps start a bigger conversation or even bring you into the conversations already occurring. If you are an HR leader and would like to share your ideas on this topic, please drop me an email (rmorais at verticaldistinct.com).

The questions

  1. What role should HR play to manage the COVID-19 issue unfolding and to lead the way?
  2. What should form the core parts of the HR plan?
  3. In balancing the needs and rights of both employee and employer in managing a crisis, what are prime considerations for HR?
  4. Can you provide suggestions on the communication strategy and pitfalls to avoid?
  5. What actions can HR take to support the organisation for business operation continuity?

Featured guest contributions



Claudia CadenaMalaysia | Claudia Cadena is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Thread Advisory. She has over 28 years of strategic, consulting and operational experience in the field of human capital management. Her areas of expertise are organisational and culture transformation, talent management, project management and employee communication.  Claudia’s  comment.



Brenda Sparling HoweCanada |  Brenda Sparling Howe MBA CHRL CHRP is a result-oriented, Human Resources professional with 20 years of experience aligning integrated people solutions with business objectives.  Brenda is known as a strategic business partner who has developed best practices and practical solutions enabling peak performance of resources.  Brenda’s  comment.




Weixi TanSingapore | Weixi Tan helps clients to implement impactful change initiatives. He does so by addressing the human side of change through the use of psychometrics such as Workplace Big 5 and Strength Deployment Inventory. Weixi’s comment.



John BaldinoUSA | With 28 years of human resources experience, John Baldino’s passion of setting contributors and companies up for success is still going strong.  John is a keynote for US and international conferences where he shares content and thoughts on leadership, collaboration and innovation, employee success, organisational design and development as well as inclusion and diversity. John’s comment.


Anthony Fargeot

Australia| Anthony Fargeot is the General Manager and a founding employee at Bench, an AdTech programmatic agency in Sydney and a Strategic Advisor at JuJuApp, a peer-to-peer recognition and appreciation platform. Anthony’s comment.



Terrence Seamon

USA |Terrence H Seamon is an Executive Career Transition Consultant at the Ayers Group based in New Jersey, USA. He helps executives and professionals galvanise their job searches and career transitions. Terrence’s comment.



Anne-Marie Flores

Australia| Anne-Marie Flores is a People & Culture leader based in Brisbane, Australia. Her expertise spans across multiple industries, business-partnering at the GM level to support workforces up to 600 employees. She is enthusiastic about employer branding and has a depth of knowledge in employment relations.Anne-Marie’s comment.


Oliver Requilman

Philippines | Oliver C Requilman, based in the National Capital Region, Philippines is just another Filipino with a global perspective and a box – full of love to the profession of HR and People Management. Oliver’s comment.

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