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Building resilience through the hardest times

Sarah Henry, VP HR Solutions EMEA - Oracle

HR professionals in every business need to ensure they are working collaboratively and quickly to support employees during current times of uncertainty, whether that’s help with their finances or wellbeing. This is something HR teams have struggled with – even after the throes of the pandemic, 78% of people in the UK believe that companies should be doing more to listen to their needs.

Siloed business continuity planning won’t create the desired outcomes for employers and employees. A more connected approach to employee data is needed to ease the impact of future disruption, helping HR teams to respond quicker to employees’ needs with resiliency, empathy, and accuracy.

No data, no truth
In periods of unpredictable change, knowing “what” to do is only half the answer. The “how” part determines the speed of an employer’s response. First and foremost, HR leaders and their teams need to be able to trust the data on the system in a time of crisis. This requires the underlying personnel data and data quality principles to be in place, so that the majority of the HR team’s time isn’t spent on data collection. Instead, it can free HR resources to focus on employee communications, employee support, and scenario planning to respond quickly and effectively.

Past forms of business continuity management, for instance using spreadsheets, isn’t sustainable in today’s environment, especially for larger organisations. There is simply too much data to keep track of manually. As businesses face a looming recession, continuity management based on accurate data is vital to ensure HR is prepared to support employees through difficult times.

Data analytics does the heavy lifting
This is where human capital management (HCM) solutions come in. Drawing from a common data source to deliver intelligent analytics, HCM solutions can quickly do the heavy lifting for HR teams. For instance, helping HR leaders to understand the impact of any new changes to policy, government recommendations or market dynamics and what this may mean for their business.

By applying data analytics to the information held by the HR team and the wider business, data can be examined, modified, annotated, and shared by a user without having deep IT knowledge. This helps HR directors inform their employees about what external and internal changes mean for them.

Workforce modelling is also a vital and dynamic tool that enables organisations to respond to unplanned and planned changes quickly. It supports the digital creation of multiple scenarios that can be tested and used to create a complete plan for boardroom approval before being put into

A modern approach to workforce planning
In a recession, it will be crucial for businesses that their HR and finance teams collaborate within an agile budget framework to quickly adjust and make informed business decisions in response to changing market conditions. This joined-up approach to workforce planning can provide a more complete picture of customer demand, labour costs, and employee satisfaction

This kind of connected planning can be delivered via a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. It enables organisations to predict, detect, and act on new situations using broad data sets and machine learning. This puts them on the front foot, enabling them to take the steps necessary to safeguard their operations and employees from any potential disruption.

Use case: Heathrow Airport’s handling of COVID’s impact on its workforce
Heathrow Airport was one of the busiest airports in the world, connecting the United Kingdom to Europe and the rest of the world with more than 80 airlines flying to 185 destinations in 84 countries. As the UK emerged from the pandemic, Heathrow focused on crisis recovery and reclaiming its place at the top of the international league tables.

A fundamental objective of the airport was to increase operational effectiveness as international travel exemptions were relaxed. This was important in a sector with high fixed costs and strict regulations. Heathrow Airport was able to standardise HR and finance tasks using a single cloud-based application platform. They were able to reduce time spent on workforce onboarding and resource planning activities to give staff more time to concentrate on passenger needs.

The emotional and economic stress created by the pandemic took a heavy toll on staff morale. Fortunately, intuitive technologies provided employees with communications tools and learning resources that helped them make decisions more quickly, collaborate better as a team, and ultimately achieve an improved work-life balance.

Technology can help employers focus on what’s most important
In times of change, managing business continuity is vital for the survival of any business. The workforce will be adapting to a number of changes caused by the economic downturn, and businesses will need to support their employees in areas such as policy, working conditions and rewards.

To navigate through a crisis, organisations need the ability to answer employee questions quickly and consistently. Using a connected approach to data helps HR directors make informed, strategic decisions and gives time back to HR professionals to look after the engine of any business – its people.

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