Managing HR through COVID-19

Managing HR through COVID-19, here are the four simple steps. COVID-19 continues to affect communities on every continent. This global crisis called for fresh due diligence and risk management review of the company’s third-party partnerships; it has disrupted business and entire industries as we know it; a fraud spike in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has consequently led to an increase in identity theft cases; for many HR professionals, employee screening during COVID-19 has become complicated, with its many new ways COVID-19 impacted background checks enhancing why critical background Screening has become. This pandemic has made managing HR more difficult than ever.

While we must take vigorous action to control the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, we must also act to protect our livelihoods. The steps you need to take now relate to four categories: Review, Communicate, Update and Travel. These checklists provide chief human resources officers (CHROs) and other HR professionals with practical ideas for keeping employees safe while maintaining productivity and charting recovery paths. And then, the following will form a good starting point.

The four simple steps in managing HR through COVID-19


  • Review business continuity plans and how these would be maintained if employees suffer from coronavirus absences.
  • Review existing sickness policies and procedures, are they disseminated to staff? Do they need amending? 
  • Review contracts of employment. It may be relevant to establish whether individuals can be asked to undertake different work or at other locations or at various times from the norm. 
  • Review your emergency procedures, e.g., if there is an infection and the workplace is closed temporarily. If appropriate, carry out a test run of emergency communication to see how robust the process is. 
  • Ensure contact details for all staff are up to date. 
  • Undertake risk analysis of high-risk groups of employees and what steps can be taken to try and reduce risks for those groups. These groups may include: 1) those who frequently travel to countries where there is currently or may well be a risk of infection. 2) those with health issues, such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, or those who are pregnant, are more likely to suffer adversely if they become infected with the virus. 
  • Review procedures in the office for preventing the spread of the virus, e.g., increased cleaning, availability of hand sanitisers and tissues etc. 
  • Review planning for the possibility of large-scale absenteeism. For example: 
  • Identify the essential positions within the business, what needs to carry on during an emergency, and what is the minimum number of employees required?
  • Identifying employees with transferable skills so that these essential positions can always be temporarily filled. 
  • Considering flexible work patterns, such as employees working from home.
  • Identify employees who have the necessary IT infrastructure to work from home (e.g., remote access to the office computer systems). 


  • Identify an appropriate person as spokesperson/ communicator of updates on policies etc., with appropriate credibility.
  • What, if anything, is said about absence from work for reasons other than ill-health, e.g., where an office is closed?
  • Assuming the employer has a health and safety committee, have there been any discussions with that committee about COVID-19 and its potential impact? If there is no such committee, the employer may want to consider setting one up. 
  • Communicate as a matter of urgency with the high-risk groups identified in any risk review to ensure they are aware of their high-risk status and the measures taken to assist. 
  • Ensure managers are aware of the relevant workplace policies. 
  • Consider issuing guidance to employees on recognising when a person is infected with the coronavirus. What are the symptoms, and what should one do if one is taken ill at home or work? It is also important to emphasise that individuals may not recognise that they have the virus and may not be exhibiting symptoms. Employees should be informed of the reporting procedure within their employer if they have a potential infection and any official reporting process. 
  • Provide advice to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their health and safety and slow the virus’s spread. For example, advice on handwashing and sanitiser gels, coupled with a willingness to self-identify where individuals may have encountered individuals with the virus, have become infected themselves or have returned from private travel abroad to an area that turns out to be affected by the virus.
  • Make clear that where staff are ill, they must not come to work regardless, i.e. “Struggle through”.


  • Log employee travel before it is booked and check against the latest travel protocols. 
  • Ensure staff know that this applies to personal travel and business travel. 
  • Encourage staff to tell you if close family members with whom they share a house are travelling to infected areas. 
  • Replace face-to-face meetings (especially those involving travel) with video conferences, telephone conferences, etc. 
  • Consult/communicate about whether to encourage varied work patterns to avoid travelling on public transport at rush hour. 


  • Initiate a system to keep up-to-date, especially given the spread of infection. 
  • Consider establishing a committee on the employer’s side to coordinate responses and engage with any staff consultative forum, with particular responsibility for staying up-to-date with public health updates. 
  • How will employers communicate regular updates on the coronavirus and its spread to employees? As news develops, it is vital for an employer to be issuing fact-based updates to avoid the possibility of fear being used by worried employees to make decisions about whether or not to come to work, whether to travel abroad, etc. 
  • Who will have the authority to determine changes to policy and issue any new communications to staff?

Employsmart™: Background Checks During COVID-19 and More

As a background screening provider, CRI Group™ can support you by proactively monitoring the data sources and working with them to understand when and how to carry out verification requests. By working with a background screening partner, we can tailor your screening needs to the challenging times we’re facing. EmploySmart™ is CRI Group’s robust pre-employment background screening service that helps companies of any size and industry avoid negligent hiring liabilities. We know you have lots of questions. We compiled a FAQ ebook, read now or download your FREE ebook.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to ensure a safe work environment for all of your employees. EmploySmart™ can be tailored to meet the requirements of each specific position within your company. As a leading worldwide provider of specialised local and international employment background screening, CRI Group™’s services are second-to-none in providing risk mitigation and peace of mind in the hiring process.

Learn more about how EmploySmart™ can help your company stay protected during these strange and uncertain times. Contact CRI Group™ today.

Want to Know the Most Crucial Factors in the Hiring Process? 

Download our “Top 10 things every organisation should know about background checks” infographic. Get answers to frequently asked questions about background checks/screening cost, guidelines, check references etc. This eBook of compiled list of background screening related questions taken is the perfect primer for any HR professional, business leader and company looking to avoid employee background screening risks. It provides the tools and knowledge needed to make the right decisions. 


Who is CRI Group™?

Based in London, CRI Group™ works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group™ also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group™ launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC™) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body that provides education and certification services for individuals and organisations on a wide range of disciplines and ISO standards, including ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management- GuidelinesISO 37000:2021 Governance of OrganisationsISO 37002:2021 Whistleblowing Management System, ISO 37301:2021 (formerly ISO 19600) Compliance Management systemAnti-Money Laundering (AML) and ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems.