When the Covid-19 lockdown began, The Economist claimed this pandemic would thrust HR and its leaders into the spotlight. It suggested chief people officers would need to play a role similar to that of the CFO following the financial crisis of 2007-2009. “Never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss,” it stated.
Given the upheaval we’ve seen since, it would be hard not to agree with that assessment. HR leaders have been working tirelessly to keep workforces going – through what has been, for many, the toughest working climate in their living memory.
They have had to manage the concerns of unsettled employees and answer endless questions about working conditions and safety. This has all been done while official guidance, be that scientific or governmental, was constantly changing – as lockdown conditions evolved and the economy was tentatively reopened.
When it has come to the subject of furloughs and possible redundancies, they have been the spokespeople on the frontline. Where the impact of the crisis has forced hard decisions affecting the workforce, they have needed to enable this to happen at speed.
With so many moving parts, and the consequences of inaction having such devasting potential, it’s been essential for HR to feel confident they are basing decisions on accurate workforce information, which could be analysed and acted upon in an instance.
Our new research, in partnership with Circal, has found that 82% of HR leaders use people data to inform their strategic decision making – and requests for this data, from senior decision makers, has increased by 74% throughout the crisis. So, this information has needed to be both available and reliable.
Where this has been the case, HR teams have also been able to engage with anxious employees and answer a cacophony of questions around how decisions taken higher up in the business will impact work, pay, benefits, hours, etc.
This data allows organisations to act quickly and with clarity – and successfully maintain the confidence of the workforce. A Gallup poll found that where businesses have been able to communicate a clear plan during the crisis trust remains high, at 57%. But where they haven’t, it has slipped to 28% during 2020.
The ability to communicate clearly can be compromised, however, when organisations have deployed numerous systems to serve multiple HR and payroll functions – especially if these systems are producing conflicting data.
There’s nothing wrong with deploying best of breed tools for each task, but it is essential that those systems integrate seamlessly, and are producing one version of the data.
Having a ‘single source of truth’ provides significant benefits that will assist HR, payroll and transformation leaders and their teams, as organisations seek to emerge from this global pandemic.
These benefits include:
With a single version of the truth, it’s easier to gain an overall picture of what’s happening and this allows organisations to be decisive. And, at a time when we are trying to steer businesses out of one of the most difficult situations we have ever encountered, an ability to act with conviction is vital.
We're offering a free Operational Efficiency Review, which will provide you with a complete overview of how your HR, payroll and workforce management solutions and processes are working together. This will help you to spot areas of risk and identify opportunities to become more resilient. Learn more about the Operational Efficiency Review here.