Interview with Dr. Khusro Iqbal — an HR expert
Dr. Khusro Iqbal is currently working as the Human Resources Head for General Tyre & Rubber Company. He guides and manages the overall provision of Human Resources services, policies, and programs for the entire company. In his job he focuses to provide an employee-oriented high-performance culture that emphasizes empowerment, quality, productivity, standards, goal attainment, recruitment and ongoing development of a superior workforce.
The General Tyre and Rubber Company came into existence in 1963, at Karachi, Pakistan and commenced its production in July 1964. It is the first and largest automotive tyre manufacturer in the country producing tyres for cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, tractors, rickshaw while motorcycle tyre plant has been added with the capacity of one million tyres per annum.
PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST had a conversation with Dr. Khusro Iqbal regarding the prevalent situation of COVID 19 and its impact on the human resources and the organizations. Following are the excerpts of the conversation:
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all areas of world and workers. No matter where in the world or in which sector, the crisis is having a dramatic impact on the world’s economy and devastating effect on workers and employers in all sectors. It has exacerbated existing challenges, with many enterprises and workers suffering as a consequence. In response, governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and other stakeholders around the world, are collaborating to mitigate the impact of the pandemic with a view to protecting businesses and livelihoods, including through social dialogue and the promotion of international labor standards. The rapidly intensifying economic effects of COVID-19 on the world of work are proving to be far worse than the 2008-9 financial crisis, with cutbacks equivalent to nearly 200 million full-time workers expected in the next three months alone; according to UN Labor agency the latest dire assessment reflects the full or partial lockdown measures affecting almost 2.7 billion workers; four in five of the world’s workforce.
Workers in four sectors that have experienced the most “drastic” effects of the disease and falling production are: food and accommodation (144 million workers), retail and wholesale (482 million); business services and administration (157 million); and manufacturing (463 million). Together, they add up to 37.5 per cent of global employment and this is where the “sharp end” of the impact of the pandemic is being felt now.
Technological advancements are changing the way we work, reducing the need for some occupations and expanding the need for others. Along with these changes could come advances in productivity, creating high-paying, high-quality employment for people in the position to take advantage of the growth of these good jobs. Technology increases productivity and hence reduces the burden on workers and eliminates the burden of doing repetitive tasks. However, workers need to learn some skills to stay employed. Companies that use technology will save much money by training the human labor with technological innovations because technology impacts future job trends. The trends and international opinions show that technological change may accelerate known employment drifts, such as the shift to services and may also increase polarization in job growth, with fast growth projected for high-skill occupations and moderate growth for certain lower-skill jobs.
The Corporate & Business Leaders today need to be affectively focused on the huge business continuity challenges posed by COVID-19. First and foremost they must ensure that employees are as safe as possible, securing financial sustainability, assessing the resilience of supply chains and reinforcing crucial systems to support unprecedented levels of remote working and online trading while withstanding an upsurge in cyberattacks. I evaluate that the companies which have gone digital are adapting to the crisis better than their peers. Business leaders need to devise a lockdown exit strategy and should continue to use technology to augment, not replace, people. Further companies should embrace the cultural and behavioral shifts that COVID-19 introduced.
Being said earlier, I evaluate that the companies which have gone digital are adapting to the crisis better than their peers because digitalization improves efficiency and productivity. It enables to have more information, which allows to make better decisions and technological tools to make work easier. When used intelligently, the digitalization of business can lead to a significant increase in productivity and can reduce costs by eliminating transcription errors, implementing electronic workflow processes, creating audit trails, implementing security protocols, creating one source of truth for each document or item of data, improving accessibility to information, integrating business systems.