Is Covid-19 the Perfect Storm for Workforce Management?
A new approach in the field of Workforce Management is becoming urgent. The underlying fundamental changes have been occurring for some time. As in many other fields, the COVID-19 crisis accelerates this process significantly, says Luc Bossaert from Adessa, a company that has fully formed part of the SD Worx Group since 2020.
We are noticing four evolutions in our companies:
- First, there is digitalisation strongly affecting HR.
- At the same time, there is also a need for a better Employee Experience, especially in the tight labor market.
- The operational model is evolving with an increasingly important group of flexible employees. Also, remote work is becoming the new standard and more international collaborations are taking place.
- Lastly, there is a rising demand for operational agility to keep responding to customer questions, wishes, and needs.
The COVID-19 crisis pushes these changes to the forefront, creating a perfect storm that will permanently change Workforce Management.
Digitalisation in HR
According to SD Worx research, two-thirds of companies believe that HR and HR practices are no longer adjusted to the company’s needs. HR appears to be very manual, outdated, and incapable of providing solutions quickly enough. It does not make sufficient use of data to help move the business forward. Moreover, the digital possibilities are not being taken into consideration when reconsidering processes. Instead, the same process from paper to digital is being repeated, which is a missed opportunity.
That explains why processes are not being analysed thoroughly when moving to the cloud. This results in customers not receiving the experience they expected. It is the so-called cliff between Sunday and Monday: while we are still arranging things on our phone on Sunday – from buying plane tickets to preparing family dinner – work duty brings us back to reality on Monday.
The contingent workforce – a group of flexible employees who are not part of the company’s own personnel – is becoming more numerous in companies. At the same time, new generations in the labor market are accustoming to collaborating abroad. Furthermore, new technologies now make it possible to collaborate in different ways. This helps to expand today’s flexible economy.
It is important to use the workforce optimally in order to respond more efficiently to customer demand. Companies with 100 employees and 50 stores do not just assign two employees to each store. Instead, they plan the workforce according to the day, time and location but also according to past data regarding purchasing behavior. This varies for every sector, but it all comes down to fundamental business ‘common sense’: aligning employees and their skills to the customer demand.
COVID-19, the perfect storm?
These four trends are now merging and amplifying each other. The COVID-19 crisis has given an extra boost to this emerging storm. In the short term, a new normal in Workforce Management will arise. Fast-paced digital processes focus on the Employee Experience while new ways of collaborating and data-based planning maximise the deployment of people and the use of resources.
The end of COVID-19 is looming, but the calm after the storm will be different from the calm before the storm.