Fosway Research - COVID-19 HR Questions - Infographic

COVID-19 Research:
First Take

HR data is needed now more than ever to support business critical decisions around jobs and continuity planning. With organisations in turmoil as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe we can help HR with some rapid research aimed at providing practical insights at this difficult time. It reveals that every HR leader is being asked critical questions by their executives – but the challenge is, do they actually have the data and tools they need to answer them?

This research sheds light on how useful HR tech solutions are proving in reality; an important issue that has so far flown under the news radar relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business.

Some key headlines

  • Unsurprisingly, 100% of HR functions surveyed have seen COVID-19 impact their HR operations. But tracking this impact has been far from easy. Only 1 in 4 have found it easy to report on key statistics including how many people are self-isolating, working remotely or are hospitalised for example.
  • A little more than half (57%) are using their Core HR systems to help track this impact. 40% are still reliant on spreadsheets, with a huge emphasis on managers recording this data on behalf of their teams. 80% of organisations are relying on managers to do this manually versus only 23% supporting self-service forms online.
  • 71% think the answers HR technology can provide as a result are severely limited.
  • Worryingly, only 30% of HR leaders believe their team has the skills to analyse and predict the impact of COVID-19 on their organisation, and only 13% have found it easy to do the analysis.
  • Organisations are also walking a tightrope between their ability to gather personal data with the need to protect people’s privacy. In Europe, GDPR restricts the personal information organisations can hold about their people. But the nature of this pandemic means that the questions HR is being asked by the C-Suite increasingly reach into these areas.
“As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, the pressure on HR teams has intensified dramatically. Suddenly they have been asked for all sorts of answers and data to support strategic decisions, that for many organisations is frankly about keeping the lights on. What is not helping is that, for the majority, their HR systems are not actually designed to record or analyse the data necessary to provide business critical answers. There is enormous reliance on managers and spreadsheets to support new daily reporting, and only a minority have the tools to model the future impact of COVID-19 on their workforce and ongoing business operations.”
David Wilson, CEO

LESSONS LEARNED

We’re already seeing some valuable lessons learned as a result of this crisis. Obviously very few organisations were ready for the scale of COVID-19, with respondents confirming ‘there is no strategy’ and that they are taking things ‘one day at a time’ right now. But early reflections show the following are proving helpful:

  • Increasing HR self-service capabilities
  • Providing reliable mobile access to HR systems
  • Removing red tape around policy
  • Communicating early and often to keep people engaged and motivated
  • Gathering data from as many sources as possible to inform critical decision making
  • Creating greater workforce planning capabilities

It’s clear that HR teams have to be agile and respond constructively in these extraordinary circumstances, balancing the needs of the business versus what’s right for their people. And we’ll be unpacking these reflections and more thoughts on immediate priorities and next steps from HR leaders in the full report which will be released at the start of May.

ABOUT THE RESEARCH

  • Fosway Group conducted a rapid research survey of its corporate research network during April 2020 focusing on HR Directors, HR managers and HR System professionals, drawn primarily from enterprise organisations in Europe.
  • These initial results are based on responses from 66 companies and reflect our desire for a rapid turnaround of the research. As such the inisghts should be seen as a catalyst for discussion and reflection as more than a definitive temperature check of the HR impact of COVID-19 to date.
  • The research remains open and we’re keen to gather as much insight as possible to provide feedback and support to the HR community at this time. You can click here to take part now. 
  • If you’d like to talk to one of our analysts about your recent experiences and share any insights you’d like to pass on, please contact us via michael.fearn@fosway.com or you can view more of our latest research here.