A reliable, efficient HCM is always a valuable part of business operations. But during a time of crisis, an HCM becomes invaluable. With the data you need at your fingertips, the right HCM is an essential tool to manage people and organizational performance during a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overnight, business leaders around the globe have a new set of priorities as they navigate how COVID-19 is impacting their employees, customers, and communities. To address these challenging times, Gartner recommends an HR pandemic plan that addresses questions, including:
Are we operating in high-risk regions?
How do we continue operating when experiencing high rates of absenteeism?
Who is cross-trained and able to perform multiple duties?
Can our employees work remotely?
Who is part of the crisis management team?
These are just some of the key questions leaders need to be able to answer quickly, or which they’ll expect their HR team to respond promptly. If you have a robust HCM, finding answers to these questions won’t alarm you. If you don’t have an HCM you can trust, you’re likely feeling panicked.
HCM data informs decisions
Searching through multiple databases, systems, and spreadsheets to obtain the data you need is never fun. But relying on numerous sources for data creates serious problems when you need to make rapid decisions.
As government officials mandate closures, organizations must be nimble. You need to be ready to modify your business practices as necessary to maintain critical operations (e.g., find alternative suppliers, workers, or temporarily close operations if required). Some services may be in higher demand; if that’s your organization–do you have the necessary staff to meet the need?
Organizations navigating the COVID-19 pandemic face a long list of HR, financial, and operational decisions. Real-time data collected in an HCM can inform these decisions:
Employee position, department, manager
Employee contact information, including emergency contacts
Geographical locations for teams and individual employees
Health care benefit status
Labor hours against budget
Training on necessary topics (remote work, crisis management)
Not only does HR need the data to answer these questions, employees in finance, and on the leadership team need access as well. If you don’t have an HCM, you’re likely sending files, or uploading versions into a shared drive.
Two words come to mind in this situation: version control. We’ve all had a situation when we realized that the version we’re working on is outdated. Or that we inadvertently deleted an important row. Or that the file has almost everything we need, but is missing one key data point.
In crisis operations, an HCM like SyncHR allows teams to work off the same data, in real-time, and regardless of location. People in finance, HR, and the leadership team can gather the information they need, when they need it, and prepare to collaborate and solve problems, knowing that the same data source informs their decisions.
Real-time organizational charts offer insights
During a crisis, organizations must flex and evolve based on current constraints, especially around people. This can include allocating resources to new parts of the business as others handle the day-to-day management of the crisis. Or it can mean downsizing to critical positions only, due to economic downturns that often come with a crisis.
To be able to adapt the organizational structure, you need a current, real-time chart. Even the structure that was in place yesterday may no longer be what you need. You need a system that allows you to look at what worked yesterday, what will work for the organization tomorrow, and what you may need beyond that.
Moving people within the organization–or identifying gaps–requires an organizational chart view based on position management. You need to be able to look at what jobs exist, where there are openings, and where realignment may be required. It’s also crucial to have the ability to use your HCM organizational chart view to revisit former structures and borrow from what’s worked in the past, or to create “what if” scenarios, based on the constantly changing dynamics.
Preparation predicts success
“Covid-19 is not a one-off challenge. We should expect additional phases to the current epidemic and additional epidemics in the future,” according to Harvard Business Review. “Our research on the effectiveness of organizational responses to dynamic crises indicates that there is one variable which is most predictive of eventual success – preparation and preemption. Preparing for the next crisis (or the next phase of the current crisis) now is likely to be much more effective than an ad hoc, reactive response when the crisis actually hits.”
Harvard Business Review is right: we’ll learn many things from the COVID19 experience. And, we’ll likely face a similar challenge in the future. As you navigate these difficult times, look for ways you can streamline processes to benefit your people and your business performance. During the great times, but especially during the trying times, make sure you’re maximizing all the benefits an HCM can deliver.
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