Covid 19 pandemic has descended upon the world as a double-edged sword taking a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods. The global economy was tossed upside down as the pandemic rapidly evolved from a human health emergency to a global economic crisis bringing a huge negative impact on all businesses especially the MSMEs and Startups with limited access to resources.
The immediate issues faced by the MSMEs are fluctuating supplies and demands due to pandemic restrictions as well as disruptions in imports & exports, the disintegration of global and local value chains, declining business activity and revenue stream, increased insecurities, and disruptions in financial systems and instability in financial sectors.
The MSMEs and Startups are the main pillar of the economy for most of the countries around the World and are witnessing drastic shifts in business trends due to complex challenges posed by the pandemic. The seven emerging trends sweeping these two business communities are
Accelerated digitization and increased acceptance and adoption of digital services and products by the consumers are becoming the most predominant trends which would help in promoting huge employment generation in the foreseeable future.
With schools, colleges and other educational institutions closed down, the traditional teaching, learning and training systems have completely broken down witnessing a rapid rise of homeschooling and online classes & training sessions. Social distancing and lockdowns are preventing employers from conducting physical interviews and opting for online recruitment.
Social distancing and pandemic related restrictions e.g. lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus have forced most of the businesses to opt for the remote working of their employees. Despite the start of variation, most of the working classes are nervous to go to their place of work.
As we have learnt that the virus can not be handled by the administration alone, the Governments, start-ups, universities and healthcare & civil societies have started collaborating more and more to address the pandemic related challenges. The distribution of vaccines is one such area where technology has enabled greater collaboration across public and private sectors for cold chain logistics and last-mile deliveries. Cross-sectoral collaboration is offering multiple advantages in our fight against covid.
With the need for remote working and flexible working options of part-time and contract-based working, a new set of HR policies and rules are being introduced by the organisations.
The global economies and businesses are disrupted and HR has been at the core of this discussion. As organisations have started recovering, the role of HR has become even more crucial for effectively implementing measures for employee health and safety, remote working and employee engagement & communication.
As growing insecurities, fear of virus infection and reduced social interactions continue to make havoc on the mental health of employees adversely affecting manpower productivity, employee wellbeing and mental health support are becoming an important trend for MSMEs and Startups.
As indigenization helps in ensuring more reliable supply chains including increased job creation and reduced carbon footprint due to less transportation, many governments are announcing support initiatives to promote local MSMEs and Startups. In India, the government has initiated a ‘Self Reliant India’ scheme to facilitate the localization of certain industries and businesses.
The pandemic is continuing disruptions for many MSMEs and Startups is changing the ways they conduct businesses. There are also continuous changes in regulatory requirements forcing businesses to change business models. However, newly created and improved business models can address these issues for improved performance of organizations.
- Deployment of policies and programs for promoting inclusive growth for addressing the ways of MSME development in coordination with various stakeholders in the MSME ecosystem, including government, industry, business and trade associations.
- Knowledge and skill development in digital and smart technologies enabling business entities to innovate, upscale, and expand their businesses.
- Implementing strategies for advancing the marginalized businesses of women, youth, local peoples including rural business entities
- Understanding customers’ needs and expectations from a changing consumer perspective
- Implementing cost management and control measures across all areas of businesses
- Managing working capital and ensuring cash flows to prepare for the future
- Reorganizing supply chain to evaluate supply landscape and forecasting future needs
- Revisiting organizational structure and employee welfare needs after assessing the impact of the pandemic on the capacity, capability, and affordability of workforce
- Enabling businesses digitally making use of digital tools and assets to increase business growth
- Redefining and managing physical and virtual workplaces for effectively addressing the future risks
New monetary policy measures implemented across many countries can help speed up the recovery of MSMEs through mitigating short-term challenges, providing short-term liquidity support, availability of funding, providing the right conditions and incentives and boosting capabilities of MSMEs and Startups.
The new measures will provide better guidance to help start-ups adapt to the COVID crisis through centralized information and support programs and reduce barriers to new businesses. As regulations and procedures are being simplified, the administrative cost of startups and MSMEs will also come down. Increased collaborations and network developments shall also aid businesses to flourish in the medium to long term.
The newly evolving trends will lead to flexible working hours and increased job satisfaction increasing employee productivity and reducing employee turnover.