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Industry 4.0 and Digital HR Transformation

-2020 KOCHAM (미한국상공회의소) Online Seminar-

On Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, Stella H. Kim, Head of Executive Search Practice at HRCap, spoke at KOCHAM’s (the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the U.S.A.) 2020 HR Online Seminar. Over 90 business and HR leaders from various Korean-American companies signed up for this Virtually seminar on The Current State of Hiring at U.S. Companies – Employee Management Trends and Guidelines.

Stella Kim spoke on Industry 4.0 (4th Industrial Revolution) and Digital HR Transformation. Her presentation was broken down into four different topics:

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on Global Labor Market

  2. Response to COVID-19 with Industry 4.0

  3. Investment in Skills – Learning, Hiring

  4. Post-pandemic – New Business Normal

Below you will find key highlights and critical findings presented during the seminar. To view the full presentation video, please click on the link below:

1. Impact of COVID-19 on Global Labor Market

  • Human interaction prohibited to prevent spread: Office shut down, travel ban, school closure, social distancing

  • United Nations forecasts the pandemic to wipe out 195 million jobs worldwide

  • Over 30 million unemployment claims in the U.S. from the COVID-19 pandemic as of April 25 2020 – Highest unemployment rate since 1934

  • Industries hit the hardest: Retail, real estate, manufacturing, and food service (1.25 billion people worldwide affected, 38% of total global workforce)

  • Millions laid off and furloughed, Top Executives forfeited salaries, Corporate employees took pay cuts

2. Response to COVID-19 with Industry 4.0

  • 34% of Americans previously commuting were able to work from home (WFH) by the first week of April 2020

  • Technology and financial institutions first to seamlessly institute corporate-wide WFH orders

  • Increased usage of meeting apps (Skype, Zoom, Amazon Chime, and Cisco Webex Meetings)

  • Workplace safety: Supply and enforce usage of PPE, Adjust workplace to allow social distancing, Increase frequency of disinfection, Reduce employee traffic and client interaction

  • Business Continuity: Create HR policies on work arrangement, Invest in tech support systems (digitization, IT), Train on digital technology, Prepare for any cyber attack threats

3. Investment in Skills – Learning, Hiring

  • COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated the transition process for Industry 4.0

  • Critical Skills to survive COVID-19: Business Skills (Critical Thinking, Innovation, Adaptability, Leadership) + Technical Skills (Data Literacy, Technical and Digital Skills)

  • Highest skills demand for: software development, e-learning, e-commerce, digital content production, online security, HR consultants/recruiters

  • Increased pay and surging job opportunities for delivery services and essential retail

  • “Skills as the Currency of the Labor Market” – essential to adapt, re-skill, and hire

  • 27.5 million learning hours in March 2020 (Cornerstone Institute)

  • 57% firms still hiring, 78% conducting process virtually (Challenger, Gay, & Christmas)

  • Thorough assessment important in virtual recruiting: video interviews (1:1, team), skills assessment (case studies, excel/coding tests, presentations), fit assessment (personality, behavioral), 360 degree professional ref checks, communication turnaround speed & style

4. Post-pandemic – New Business Normal

  • EEOC Workplace policies changed. Employer may screen job applicants for COVID-19 symptoms after making conditional job offer, as long as it does so for all in same job type

  • Safe Six Readiness Essentials: Prepare building, Prepare workforce, Control access, Create social distancing plan, Reduce touch points & increase cleaning, Communicate for confidence (Cushman & Wakefield)

  • New Business Normal: health & temperature checks at office building entrance, visitor restrictions, workstations rearranged, lines and capacity limitation in elevators, restricted large group meetings, limited business travel, increase of digital/online meetings

This Presentation highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on the global labor market, and showed insights into how companies can adapt, learn, and hire to survive this COVID-19 pandemic. She showed the critical need for Business and HR leaders to invest in skills to better understand customer expectation, strengthen product enhancements, and enable workforce empowerment. She emphasized that it’s not about artificial intelligence and robots taking over human jobs, but about digitally enabling and empowering the human workforce. We must not focus on how COVID-19 continues to deplete jobs across various industries, but on how Industry 4.0 can create demand for new skills across all industries.

HRCap will be continuing with our own Monthly HR Seminar Series, digitally, that will expand on the data presented during the seminar. We will add additional contents and findings from the impact of COVID-19 on the job market and explore how businesses will survive through this pandemic.

For a digital copy of the presentation or any Recruiting or HR Consultation, please reach Stella Kim directly at For other questions, please



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