Protecting Workforce Productivity During a Crisis

Adopting technology solutions that provide predictive analytics and strategically enable organizations to leverage existing talent can be used to identify employees with transferable skills, while at the same time planning for future needs by identifying knowledge gaps and recommending training where needed.

In this time of unprecedented change, HR leaders are grappling with major staff resourcing issues. From absenteeism and training freezes to attrition and shrinking recruitment budgets, leaders are being forced to squeeze more results from fewer resources, but still empower their workforces to be productive.

HR leaders who wisely leverage technology can not only protect their workforce’s productivity throughout times of crisis, but also create new opportunities to develop future leaders across the business.

Prioritize Workplace Diversity

A McKinsey report found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. This positive result is based on diverse companies being better able to win top talent and drive a cycle of increasing returns. This suggests that companies that can attract and retain diverse talent can expect above average performance.

By adopting hiring technology that leverages behavioral analytics to objectively evaluate candidates, HR leaders can commit to authentic representation and access a wider pool of thoughts and ideas that can strengthen performance. The benefits are invaluable as your workforce will be happier and more productive, the business will be more innovative and successful, and the best talent will be attracted to join your team.

Understanding that adopting inclusive workstyles allows people to thrive and be themselves—which invariably results in enhanced performance—is key. The result for employers is an opportunity to inject new ideas and experiences into their workforce. In the same way that the healthcare industry has been looking to the hospitality industry to improve patient experience, what would new and different perspectives mean to a business? Rethinking ways of streamlining processes? New product ideas? Our experiences influence our ways of thinking, and having a richness of perspectives in the workplace means teams can attack a challenge or an opportunity from many different angles. It opens up a space for belonging and creates an environment where people can be themselves and are empowered to do well in their day-to-day role.

Promote Self-Learning and Development

Learning and development (L&D) programs have always been necessary within organizations to maintain compliance but, in the wake of COVID-19, executives are beginning to understand the impact successful L&D initiatives can have on employee productivity and overall business success.

As a result, forward-looking companies are moving toward a blended learning approach, where multiple modalities provide employees with a personalized learning experience, as well as broadened access to critical learning resources.

Facilitating a knowledge-sharing culture that lets employees learn independently and ensures they have the flexibility to grow with the business starts with a personalized experience. To achieve this, technology that not only delivers content relevant to the employee’s role, but also is tailored to the individual, is essential. This will drive engagement and productivity within and beyond an organization’s four walls, and will help the organization evolve from static training to a dynamic learning model that empowers employees to contribute.

Given the fast pace of change in technology, companies need to not only invest in L&D but also future-proof their strategies to ensure they remain relevant as skills evolve. The good news is that L&D budgets appear to be increasing, according to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report. Ultimately, for learning and development to work at an organization, the right contemporary technology must deliver flexible, personalized, and seamless experiences that employees increasingly expect in the workplace. People will be more apt to be productive and seek out development opportunities if they have an experience that makes learning options easy to find and share.

Redistribute Talent

According to a McKinsey study, 375 million workers, or 14 percent of the global workforce, will have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030. COVID-19 has only made this situation even more prevalent, as workers across industries must figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and companies must learn how to match those workers to new roles.

Money and time spent identifying talent, interviewing, and onboarding is something that many businesses simply cannot afford in the middle of this pandemic. Instead, HR should focus on redistributing that spend into their employees, which likely will keep workers motivated and engaged, decrease turnover, and ensure greater success in the long run. Forward-looking organizations already are acknowledging that their employees are multifaceted, and resisting the impulse to box them into existing roles. For example, in the healthcare sector, many hospitals have shifted nurses from elective surgery and placed them in areas of higher demand. That being said, simply switching people around without the right tools and resources can make such transitions challenging and ineffective.

Adopting technology solutions that provide predictive analytics and strategically enable organizations to leverage existing talent can be used to identify employees with transferable skills, while at the same time planning for future needs by identifying knowledge gaps and recommending training where needed. This avoids both the devastating impact of laying off an entire department and the costly task of hiring outside professionals, as well as empowers workforces to remain productive.

Matthew Bragstad is head of HCM Strategy at Infor, a leading business cloud software specialized by industry. For more information, visit:

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