The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world of business, turning industries worldwide on their heads. Industries that were booming in 2019 came to a sudden halt in 2020, while other industries have experienced unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 crisis.

These rapid changes caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have highlighted the necessity for rigorous HR practices. During this time, both fast-growing and slow-growing industries have experienced unique challenges that have impacted employee wellbeing and performance. One thing that rings true for both is the need to build capable and resilient workforces.

By investing in HR assessments, your organization can ensure you have the best chance at achieving your business objectives by developing and nurturing a high-performing team. 

According to research conducted by McKinsey and Company, employees—especially women, LGBTQ+ employees, people of color, and working parents—are crying out for more support from their employers following the challenges of the pandemic. Therefore, it is important that your organization is investing in your employees during the pandemic and in preparation for the future.

While employee training is important across all industries, there are some key industries that can benefit significantly from improving their HR strategy. Some notable industries that should be investing in HR assessments right now include:

  • eCommerce
  • Food and Grocery
  • SaaS
  • Healthcare 
  • Travel
  • Hospitality

Fast-growing industries

During the pandemic, some industries have experienced unexpected levels of business growth. Examples of industries that have experienced significant growth during the pandemic include eCommerce, SaaS, and healthcare sectors. This rapid growth will have put a strain on these organizations as they try to keep up with the demands.

As a result, these organizations have put themselves at risk of making poor hiring decisions as they attempt to quickly fill the required job vacancies to reduce delays to their business operations.

Therefore, it is important that these industries now take action to ensure their HR practices are able to withstand unprecedented business growth. Investing in HR assessments can significantly improve business performance for fast-growing industries. Doing so will also minimize the risk of rushed hiring which can be costly to your business.


As malls closed their doors and people were advised to stay home, eCommerce stores saw a significant rise in online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The way people shopped changed as the pandemic forced them to shop online, rather than in-store.

In turn, eCommerce businesses have experienced an impressive 146% growth in online retail orders since April 21. This increase in online orders means the eCommerce industry is predicted to have a record-breaking year-on-year growth in 2020.

However, this increase in demand for online shopping means the eCommerce industry has also had to make rapid changes within their business in order to keep up with the demand. As a result, eCommerce retailers have had to hire additional staff to help with order fulfillment and ongoing eCommerce operations including marketing, customer service, website management, and procurement.

Employers in the eCommerce sector can help mitigate the risk of making quick hiring decisions by using HR assessments during the hiring process.

For example, if you are an eCommerce retailer looking to hire additional customer service staff to help manage customer inquiries during the pandemic, you may want to consider asking job applicants to take the Customer Service Profile to determine whether they would be a good fit for the role.

Food and Grocery

Similar to the eCommerce sector, the Food and Grocery sectors have also seen a recognizable increase in revenue during 2020. 

By integrating HR assessments into their wider business strategy, the Food and Grocery industry can move from a “response” business strategy to a “thrive” strategy by ensuring that their business procedures are resilient against rapid, and unprecedented, change.

The Deloitte report into the impact of COVID-19 on the grocery and food sector shows that employers and HR teams in this sector need to redefine their workforce strategy. As part of this workforce strategy, they should also establish a strategy for the possibility of labor shortages and the management of working capital. Working HR assessments into their hiring process can help minimize the risk of hiring poor-fitting employees to cover labor shortages.

Software as a service (SaaS)

The Coronavirus pandemic led to an almost unanimous worldwide shift to remote work. Across the globe, the number of people working from home or remotely in 2020 has increased by 159% since 2005 – more than 11x faster than the rest of the workforce. This growth in working from home has had positive implications for the SaaS industry as organizations need to ensure they are geared up for a remote workforce.

This increased demand for SaaS solutions and cloud-based business software means that companies within the SaaS will have to tighten procedures and increase the level of software development, testing, updates, and technical fixes to ensure that they are able to fulfill new business consumer needs and increased usage due to an increased remote workforce model. 

At the start of the pandemic, the video communications platform Zoom experienced security issues meaning they had to release new security features and improve encryption to counteract the potential risk of providing customers with an insecure platform.

By prioritizing HR assessments during their recruitment strategy, SaaS companies such as Zoom can be sure they hire employees who are technically-minded with a problem-focused attitude. Hiring people with these characteristics lends itself well to being able to trust these employees to work reactively to unexpected change and develop new technical solutions and fixes.


The healthcare sector is one that has experienced highs and lows during the pandemic. At the start of the Coronavirus crisis, uncertainty around the virus led many healthcare organizations to reduce employment and cut jobs as routine services were to be put on hold. Between February and April, employment in the healthcare industry decreased drastically. However, the employment rate rebounded in May as more than 300,000 jobs were recovered.

While job security in the healthcare sector during 2020 has fluctuated greatly, the on-job pressure for those in work has increased significantly as people are expected to work long, demanding hours in the face of uncertainty.

Therefore, it would be beneficial for HR departments to ensure that they are providing current healthcare employees with ongoing support. As part of this ongoing employee support, HR assessments would allow the healthcare sector to understand how best to communicate with, and assist their employees to provide them with the best chance of success during these stressful times.

Slow growth industries

One thing that cannot be ignored is that some industries have struggled as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Two notable industries that have suffered throughout 2020 include the Travel and Hospitality sectors. However, these slower-growing industries are expected to pick up again after the pandemic as restrictions are lifted and we gain control over the COVID-19 crisis. 

Therefore, it is important that these industries take action now to ensure they are prepared for an uplift in the near future. Industries that are currently experiencing slow growth, or even decline, should use this time wisely by investing in their teams, upskilling where possible, and preparing for their return in a post-pandemic world.

Travel and Hospitality Sectors

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill. This sudden halt to travel services resulted in major job and revenue loss within the travel industry. Further to this, it is projected that tourism spending is not likely to return to pre-crisis levels until 2024. In light of this information, it is crucial that the travel industry pivot their strategy and focus on how to ensure their success when travel and tourism operations re-open.

The hospitality sector has been similarly affected. With close ties to the travel and tourism industry, the hospitality industry has also been negatively affected during 2020. Research into the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality, travel, and leisure sector found that 65% of women have been furloughed, put on reduced hours, or made redundant. 

One way that the travel and hospitality industry may protect business continuity is by moving towards agile teams that can adapt to real-world needs, rather than being based on organizational entities.

When pivoting to an agile team, it is important that the HR department is best-prepared to build a high-functioning agile team. Ask your current employees to complete HR assessments and personality tests to determine whether they would perform well in a cross-functional agile team.

How we can help

If you are ready to invest in your current employees, or looking for ways to hire top-talent to ensure business continuity and success in the future, we are here to help. Integrating HR assessments into your recruitment process and employee training program will ensure your business remains strong in times of adversity and uncertainty.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick