Civil Unrest and COVID-19 Lockdowns are expanding the quest of Human Resource (HR) Professionals for digital skills and strategies to survive and improve performance in organisations. The recent #EndSARS protest and associated violence left business leaders in another episode of reduced work hours or complete shutdown of business operations. They also experienced the inability of employees to resume at their desk, either because of traffic situations, roadblocks by protesters, or government curfews. These have caused employees to demand a reimagined digital approach to how they work.  Employees require a safer and seamless work model and the attention of their leaders within the workplace.


HR leaders now have to deal with a new world, and an increasing number of organisations are questioning the value of their longstanding HR processes in the current situation. HR, rather than sticking to a support function, must defend a new strategic position. A position that appreciates the convergence of new digital technologies, operating models, and enhanced employee expectations. A stand that calls for new HR capabilities, new HR skills and revamped HR mindsets. In other words, a holistic HR strategy.


Technology & Strategy

There is no certainty that organisations would successfully predict the next or last civil unrest or disruption for their business. Hence, the race to winning HR strategy should begin now. As a champion of organisational growth and a strategic partner, it is the responsibility of HR to align HR activities and initiatives with the overall business recovery strategy.

Such strategic plans must be technologically driven. Considering how volatile the business landscape has become and the speed at which threats evolve, only digital technology can guarantee quick access to information required by employees and effective response. Today’s HR should be technology savvy and human-centric to develop a profitable strategy.


To Begin

Being a value creator, today’s HR is taking the lead because of the transformed organisation that is agile. Their offices and operations are smart, they adopt predictive analytics in decision making, and digital collaboration is their way of working. That said, HR must first have a proper understanding of where they are, by examining the current strategy and taking account of resources available to begin. However, it is crucial to note the below;


  • While technology is important for the desired transformation, technology must not be implemented as a cart before the horse. The HR professional should avoid having individual point solutions that contribute little at the business strategy level.


  • The transformation must not be mistaken for modernisation of infrastructure or a mere technological upgrade. Real transformation will not be achieved where technology drives silo solutions. What is needed is a unified communication solution that cuts across the entire business.


  • Since we are dealing with the context of business transformation and change, Organisations must review their culture to become a digital one.


In Conclusion, the economic weight of disruptions on business can be enormous. An evaluation by the world bank in 2017, on the civil unrest in Syria, showed a loss in GDP at US$200-300 billion due to the unrest since 2011. Therefore, HR professionals can no longer lean to a support role or rely on an HR strategy that has been challenged and faulted. For effectiveness, the new HR strategy must be technologically driven, and a digital culture established to help the business transform.


Written by:

Kelvin Chiazor