The current situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has caused tremendous disruption in lives and in business, and human resources (HR) is key to supporting companies and catalyzing changes in the workplace.

HR leadership has become even more essential due to the COVID-19 crisis and businesses are still only at the beginning of responding to the pandemic, more change awaits, and HR must lead the response. 

Organizations must start to rethink, reimagine, and reconsider how they would foster new talents, deliver services, and strengthen their organizations through a forward-thinking HR strategy in order to deliver the most compelling work experience.

The issues are complex and include employee support, leadership development, compensation and benefits, and shifts and strategic partnerships across the organization.

To address all these, HR Nation Philippines invited expert speakers to the HR MasterClass webinar entitled The Critical Role of HR. The aim was to share how HR leaders are redefining the new normal with best practices that will enable them to have informed decision-making and organizational agility.

To begin with, Ms. Rexy Vagilidad, Human Resources Vice President, at Pioneer Adhesives Inc., discussed that for her, the power of the mind works in a cycle in this current situation that we’re living in. 

First is by having the paradigm or the mindset on how you see things. Thinking that you have a critical role in the pandemic, your behavior will follow on how you will act in certain situations. Having the mindset “I will champion the new normal”  will help you in achieving proactive behavior where it will be easier for you to drive changes in the organization. 

As you get the results of what you have been doing, you will start to embrace the ‘New Normal’ with better results than ever before. All you have to do is focus on your circle of Influence or the things that you can control. This will help you in creating a positive energy and thus in managing your frustrations.

HR Circle of Influence includes:

  1. Area of Responsibility– HR has different functions. Play your critical role in that area and be the champion of change by being proactive so that all the other departments will follow.
  2. HR Roles – Doing all these roles will later result in Effective Management Change:
    • Business Partner – Rethink and redefine the new normal business process.
    • Big Brother/Sister – HR should be a buddy to everyone. Coach and guide employees to embrace New Normal positively.
    • Guidance Counselor – Be available for consultations. Manage their emotions and empathize with them especially to those who have lost their jobs, or those who have a  friend or family member with COVID-19.
    • Conscience (Mother/Father) – Apart from giving disciplinary actions, be the conscience and do redirecting discussions with your people.
    • Culture Builder – Be the change you want to see. You can’t influence others to change when they don’t see you do it.
    • Communicator – With this pandemic, there’s no such thing as over-communication. It is better than assuming they know things already.
    • Connector – Be available for consultations or connect them to the right source of information. Be a mediator and resolve conflicts.
    • Cheerleader/ Engagement Champion – HR should be a source of energy.


Ms. Marithel Blando, Human Resources and Administration Vice President at MEC, began by discussing the practical side of the critical roles of HR and shared how they do it at MEC. According to her, what’s clearly important is to stay focused on doing something that you love. When you find meaning with what you do, it is a calling from beyond oneself and it’s for you to use this strength and make a better place through service. 

She also emphasized that HR, especially during these trying times, should intensify their role and be available 24/7.

Despite what’s happening, businesses must continue with the proper guidance from HR. Make sure that everybody has something to put on their tables. Start by scheduling a skeletal workforce without compromising the health of your employees.

Proceed by opening your lines with your clients through various social media sites and intensify the use of technology by doing online logging, paperless and contactless transactions, and be partners of innovation.

Discover more talents through continuous searching and see who among your employees will rise up. There will be multi tasking, volunteerism, back office doing frontline functions, creativity, and many more.

Lastly, as you prepare yourself and the workplace, reconnect with your employees by giving different activities and seminars to help them handle these hurdles properly.

HR being the heart of the organization, is your partner in professional and personal growth. So, if you will be asking what the critical role of HR is during these times, the answer will still be the same. It’s just that everybody should double up what we usually do and keep that positive attitude ahead of you.

Closing the webinar was Salarium’s CEO, Judah Hirsch. Salarium is the sponsor of HR Nation and Mr. Hirsch began by discussing how his company’s platform can benefit HR. 

Supporting safety for those heading back to work, he presented Salarium’s new product which will be released shortly, a touchless time and attendance solution in the new normal.


Biometric devices are the most popular method in capturing your employees time and attendance, however, with the recent changes, companies are exploring other options where the need to touch the same fingerprint scanner would be avoided.

Salarium offers a touchless web bundy clock where your employees can simply clock-in and clock-out by just standing in front of the device for those who are in the office and by using their own phones or laptops for those who are working from home. Log-in data will immediately show in your Admin dashboard for real time monitoring.

With an all-in-one cloud-based system suited and specially built for Philippine payroll, you can benefit from three main modules mainly transparent timekeeping, effortless payroll, and secure payout.

To know more about their products, you may visit their website:

You may view Ms. Rexy Vagilidad’s presentation here: CRITICAL ROLE OF HR IN THE NEW NORMAL

You may view Ms. Marithel Blando’s presentation here: Critical Role of HR in the New Normal

You may view Judah Hirsch’s presentation here: Presentation of Judah – HR MasterClass


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