During the spring of 2020, the world’s workplaces diminished almost overnight. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, about 80% of the global workforce is estimated to have been affected by lockdowns and stay-at-home measures.
Business as Unusual
As some countries open up again, and others are on their second round of lockdown, companies are bringing their workforce back to new routines and agile working practices. We also see that companies are facing stricter compliance requirements in the wake of the pandemic. HR Managers are increasing their requests for third party help with risk management, mitigation, regulatory compliance, and GDPR.
A Shift in HR Priorities
Covid-19 has shifted HR’s priorities in 2020. According to the HCM Technology Report regulatory compliance is becoming a top concern. About 36% of practitioners have stated that keeping track of regulations is now their biggest challenge.
Also, we see that HR budgets are smaller than in previous years. Any increased funding is not going towards talent acquisition and benefits, but rather towards technology, automatisation, and effectiveness.
Furthermore, the report discloses that 79% said managing their company’s Covid-19 response has made 2020 very challenging. Surveyed HR professionals outlined their top concerns, noting which were more of a focus for them in 2020 and beyond:
• Keeping employees motivated and engaged: 56%
• Keeping employees informed: 56%
• Managing employee stress: 51%
• Managing the expense of employee pay and benefits: 41%
• Providing technology to keep employees productive: 40%
• Providing employee training: 39%
These statistics speak volumes. In order to address these concerns, the focus must be on people, processes, and systems in order to resolve the most urgent and important questions. In the following, we will address the most critical challenges that the Covid-19 crisis has brought to the HR function, and how to resolve them.
Keeping up with New Compliance Measures
Recently in the European press, we have seen several examples of food industry companies who are experiencing outbreaks of Covid-19 due to lack of compliance and poor implementation of compliance measures. These recent events show that even if compliance measures are taken, communication and training of employees and managers to ensure that the measures are implemented are equally important.
Having to close down production facilities in one country can damage a company’s profitability globally. The side effect of negative press coverage can also potentially hurt a company’s brand value. Fortunately, measures can be taken to avoid this scenario.
Low Employee Data Quality Results in Poor Decision Making
If your company does not have a good overview of your master data and employee experience data, how can you steer the company safely through a global pandemic? How will you secure your ROI if you are unable to make informed decisions about your workforce? The answer is that you cannot. Low-quality employee data will potentially result in poor decision making, which in turn can have a massive impact on a company’s profitability. Having a robust HRIS in place is vital for companies that want to be able to make decisions based on facts.
Master Data and Reporting
One of the many challenges for HR at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic was missing, inaccurate, and outdated contact information. When employees have access to self-service, they are more likely to keep their contact information updated, which is one less manual process for HR admins. You can also incorporate monthly metrics to gain better insight in employment trends and are able to pull out accurate contact information or assemble data for benefit audits which will save you both time and effort.
GDPR Compliant Document Management
There are many reasons to move your employee files and records to the cloud, especially during a global pandemic. You get the advantage of instant access to data from anywhere with a secure internet connection. Companies that still use paper file systems are now experiencing delayed processes due to missing or incomplete information. In addition, emailing documents back and forth, instead of having a secure document repository, is not ideal from a compliance point of view.
Coping with Covid-19 by Speeding Up Digital Adoption
The focus for most of GP Strategies’ clients now is the shift from digital transformation to actual digital adoption. This involves adopting hybrid (office/home) work models and using customer and employee experience data-tracking to improve results. It also involves restructuring the organisation for growth to meet the relevant transformation targets at the senior management and executive level.
Employee well-being, transitioning to a ‘new normal’, positioning the business for growth, and continued success are key objectives for many organisations. When asked, about 50% of clients stated that they would focus more on employee engagement going forward.
Use Analytics to Gain an Objective View of the Workforce
With a robust people analytics setup, HR can provide an objective view of the workforce, make informed decisions, and justify decisions to senior management. It is also a great tool to track employee benefits, time off, and training, as well as benchmark data against other organisations.
Your Employee Experience Data
It is important to know what is going on with your employees and with your organisation – and what you can do to improve. When discussing Experience data, there are two main types of data you can analyse: Employee Experience Data (X-data) and Operational Data (O-data). If you find something happening in your O-data, you can look for an explanation in your X-data. Or perhaps something is happening in your X-data that is caused by operational situations. By analysing the data, you can build projections so that you can act quickly when needed.
From Opinion to Insights
A practical example of how validation of opinion by using insights could be a company that suspecting that they are falling behind on implementing Covid-19 measures. The data from an employee pulse survey shows that this might be true due to poor communication. Let’s say that 63 % of the company’s contingent workers responded that they feel uninformed.
Contingent workers are not fully incorporated into HRIS, and in a time of crisis they might miss out on important information that is distributed based on the HRIS data. With this information, the company can now implement measures that ensure that their contingent workforce will be better informed about any new Covid-19 safety measures going forward, ensuring compliance.
An opportunity to Innovate
In times of crisis, we are forced to think differently and develop new solutions. Even though we cannot predict exactly when the current crisis will end, we know that it will end. When that day comes, all the measures HR and leaders take today will have an impact on tomorrow’s workplace.
About GP Strategies
At GP Strategies, we combine our technical capabilities with project management and human experience management capabilities to improve our clients’ businesses. We work in the crucial intersection of people, processes and systems. We help our clients attract, retain, develop, and manage employees. We do this through the implementation of talent management solutions that enable more effective business execution. Today, with more than 900 customer engagements and 17 years of partnership, we are the most experienced SuccessFactors partner in EMEA. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organisation.