Hyper-growth saw Amazon hire over 100,000 new employees last month, and supermarkets across the UK are looking to create 45,000 new positions to meet the needs of customers during the lockdown.
But it’s not all good news. “There are real dangers for those businesses experiencing hyper-growth during the COVID-19 outbreak,” says workplace culture expert and CEO & Co-Founder of Vault Platform, Neta Meidav.
Neta believes these companies are going to experience significant challenges as a result of already overstretched HR teams struggling with onboarding and processing internal complaints. She also believes they will see several cultural challenges.
‘’The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy could see the equivalent of 195 million jobs wiped out by Q2. But for a handful of companies in high-demand sectors such as e-commerce and grocery stores, established giants like Amazon have a significant opportunity and may dominate the job market for the foreseeable future,” says Neta.
In the past four weeks since mid-March, Amazon has hired over 100,000 new employees to fulfil rising demand and is set to hire 75,000 more. The UK’s supermarket giants are each looking to hire between 3,000 to 5,000 permanent or part-time staff totalling around 45,000 new positions. Meanwhile, social media newcomer TikTok is looking to hire an additional 10,000 employees in defiance of a downturn in the tech sector as consumption on its platform skyrockets.
But rapid growth of this scale brings with it new challenges to HR, organisational culture, and integrity that must be shouldered by an already overburdened demographic, says Neta.
“Amazon workers across the US are refusing to show up for work this week, instead calling in sick to protest alleged failings to protect workers from coronavirus. Workers are taking to public protests, social media, and the press to voice concerns over a lack of protective equipment and other measures. The company’s six French distribution centres were closed down by the government this week over similar concerns.”
How the Vault Platform can help
• More employees means potentially more “bad apples” – hiring at this scale in short time-frames by an overstretched HR team can lead to a less thorough recruitment process. A less rigorous onboarding process, as well as more employees, can lead to a higher risk of discrimination, bullying, and harassment internally. Organisations hiring at this scale will need to deploy the right tools and resources to their growing teams to ensure the strategy and the culture are communicated effectively. Vault Platform provides direct access to the latest policy documents. It acts as a channel for employees to voice concerns as and ensure HR teams can resolve issues more efficiently.
• Loss of unity and dilution of business values – workplace culture picks up where strategy leaves off and stems from an organisation’s ability to communicate its values effectively. The rapid speed of hiring and onboarding could lead to a dilution of company values and an ‘integrity vacuum’, where people are unsure how to behave in certain situations. Vault Platform provides a safe space for employees to speak up and ask questions or raise concerns so they can feel better supported.
• Fewer resources to manage a growing employee base – HR professionals’ time is inevitably stretched at the moment, not only as a result of managing the hiring/onboarding process but also managing existing day-to-day tasks and new issues related to COVID-19, such as deploying a remote working strategy. Without dedicated and engaging mechanisms in place to capture information, whether it’s about coronavirus infections or personal concerns, organisations are leaving themselves open to an unknown risk.
Says Neta: “In a crisis such as this, innovation can happen very quickly, and successful business leaders will be looking to take advantage of this opportunity as much as possible. But to do that, organisations need to be able to respond quickly.”