In the first half of 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took the entire world by storm. The pandemic triggered the reconsideration of how businesses operate, and where businesses and employees operate from. Also, this pandemic prompted a shift in skill sets that organisations consider to be mission critical for their businesses and are willing to retain. Many organisations that believed they had the financial capability to recruit talents at any point in time from across the world were faced with the challenge of global movement restrictions.

Many nations also clamoured for their citizens located across different parts of the world to return to their home countries in order to curtail the spread of the disease, provide focussed care and ensure that people were not unduly stranded when they needed critical attention particularly, relating to healthcare. It got to a point where the entire world was on total lockdown i.e. no cross-border talent mobility whatsoever.

Imagine the disruption to businesses in the following scenarios:

  1. An international school that relies heavily on foreigners as the major composition of their teaching staff.
  2. A business with heavy reliance on expats to manage their critical roles with no local succession pool.

What would happen to these businesses at a time like this?

Interestingly, despite the huge financial capacity of a lot of these organisations, the key experts or talents required were not able to travel for deployment to handle various business needs. Many organisations often believe that, with their financial strength, they could afford to “buy” talents from across the nations at any point in time. What about the experience posed by the coronavirus outbreak with talent mobility restrictions globally? This should trigger a proactive mindset to talent and succession management. It is never too late to act, start grooming and building your talent pipeline now, including the local talent pool.

The ravaging effects of coronavirus pandemic led me to what I tagged; an absence of effective talent management process – a journey towards recession. In my view, recession is not only tied to a decline in economic activity or prosperity, it is also related to a decline in the ability of any organisation to attract and deploy the needed talent due to prevailing constraints.

So, what does the situation look like or what are some of the characteristics that are dominant in such organisations that are usually caught up in this quagmire as compared to a recession experience, the table below provides good clarifications.

With the experience of COVID-19, what is your organisation’s continuity plan with regards to succession management in the event of a crisis such as COVID-19? I have emphasised repeatedly in my book (talent management agenda in a post Covid-19 world – AMAZON: that talent management is a proactive riskmitigating process that aims to protect the organisation from talent loss, leadership gaps and vacancy risks. Therefore, if a business continuity or talent-succession plan was not put in place before the advent of this coronavirus outbreak, it would leave organisations in a precarious situation.

What about the economic implications of COVID-19 and the consequence on the talent pool? Within a space of time, we started to see the collapse of economies and businesses globally and the resultant massive layoffs. Though, the layoff option seems the easy way out for many organisations, carrying out this exercise without due considerations to the organisation’s critical roles and pool of talents to drive both current and the future plans of the organisation may end up hurting the business in the long term. Within the context of talent management and in line with what I discussed earlier in this book regarding critical positions and talent segmentation, strategic thinking and talent philosophy realignments should go into these layoffs if at all, that is the preferred option.

One of the tools which a lot of the employers have used and are still using as part of their Employee Value Propositions (EVP), is the provision of healthcare benefit. During the global lockdown caused by COVID-19, it became challenging for employees needing other medical attention (apart from COVID-19 related ailments) to gain
access to medical facilities due to the overwhelming burdens placed on hospitals by this pandemic. Due to the ravaging effects of the pandemic, many employees became so scared that visiting the hospitals was not considered a safe option for them. This situation triggered massive requests for tele-consulting particularly, for non-life threatening sicknesses. A new mindset shift for both the patients and the medical personnel. Also, a skill set shift for medical personnel who have been used to physical appearances of patients in hospitals before care could be administered.

Emergence of technology-driven approach to undertaking businesses became an overly embraced choice across industries and sectors. Interestingly, in Nigeria we experienced a situation where big corporations held their annual general meetings through a video conference with various stakeholders including, the shareholders joining the meetings virtually to deliberate on key issues, cast their votes and approve key strategic propositions. Virtual court sittings also emerged as a result of COVID-19 experience. These are accomplishments which no one could have thought possible several years ago. Investments in computers (particularly laptops), mobile gadgets and teleconferencing facilities have also taken top priority for organisations. No doubt, we are in a new world of business.

For professional guidance and support, contact Adebayo via or call: +2348032009413. You can also get copies of my book via these retail channels:




Compiled by:

Adebayo Akinloye, Assc.CIPD, ACIPM

Author: Talent Management Agenda in a Post COVID-19 World

Director, Global Talent Solutions

ASA Talent & Succession Management Solutions

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