The COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a global health crisis of our time impacting severely our day to day life. With the industry growth rates projected to be the lowest in many years/decades, Business Continuity from a workforce management perspective will take precedence and HR teams will be required to track, measure, and pre-empt what can go wrong in the employee space to minimize the impact on the business.
“In the New Normal, our ways of working will be more agile, more liquid, and more flexible. We will have a completely new lens to look at Talent, Roles, Performance Measures, governance models, and work policies differently.”
For managing the new normal and for providing a successful Crisis Response Strategy, HR is expected to track a variety of information beyond what was being tracked in the earlier normal. There are 4 broad areas where additional HR metrics are being demanded/evaluated to manage the crisis differently in New Normal:
- Managing Employee Cost
- Employee Availability
- Employee Communication and well being
- Redeployment / Rationalization / Reskilling Opportunities
Managing Employee Cost
Companies are looking at every avenue to minimize cost and since a significant portion of the operational cost is the employee cost, there is a disproportionate focus getting assigned on managing employee cost.
1- Employee Cost Management
- Fixed Cost vs Variable employee cost Models
- Production Variability and Part-time employee cost variability
- Wage Bill to revenue Ratios, relation to revenue, Productivity Trend and Wage Bill
- Leave Provisions, leave projections -Leave balance, leave usage, carry forward provisions
- Gratuity provisions – Impact of attrition, superannuation
- Superannuation Trend and employees in that age bracket, VRS Options
- Attrition prediction and simulations on cost, Manning rates
- Span of Control and avenues of rationalization, Org structure redesign
- New Hire cost / Replacement hire cost
- In year cost, annualized cost, savings if we defer by 1,2 3 Quarters
- Modelling the future workforce needs
- Zero base look of the structure
- Span of control
3- Compensation & Benefits
With a tighter control on a budget how we utilize the limited kitty in the best way to ring-fence critical talent and ensure a motivated team to deliver in tough situations
- Increment & Correction Kitty, Shall we run increment / corrections cycle, not run
- Bonus kitty utilization, Shall we pay bonus , if yes at what rate, shall we Defer
- Promotion, Shall we run the cycle, not run, what is the cost impact
- Critical Roles Safety net, Kitty utilization for critical roles
- LTIP and STIP pay-outs, delay / defer decisions
- Health insurance benefits across levels
- Sales Incentives projections
The availability of employees will be a bigger challenge across the industry in the times to come. The safety concern is playing big in the minds of people because of the following:
- For safety concerns, employee willingly not turning up for work
- Higher the willingness of employees to continue work from home
- Employees infected or quarantined
- Migration of labour from cities to rural areas
This will help us track the infection trend to the prevailing trend in the relevant geographical area. If the area is seeing an acceleration of cases, you should anticipate similar risks for your workforce.
- Office opening Status – red, orange, green zone, open, closed, % of the workforce allowed
- Remote working
- % of Employees working from home or from their normal location?
- What % of our workforce can be switched to work remotely if needed?
- What is the Infrastructure cost required for setting up the home office?
- Containment zones
- Containment Zone wise employee details, and the movement of zones
- Zone wise CFAs / DCs / Stores details and employee counts
- % of People who use public transport / have their own vehicles
- Age-wise risk profile
- Absenteeism & Productivity
- Availability of Employee across grades, locations, functional areas
- What is the average duration of employees being unavailable due to COVID-19?
- What % of our infected workforce has recovered and returned to work?
- Productive Capacity %? How much productive capacity have we lost?
Employee Communication and Wellbeing
Many of us are working alone in insolation at home causing stress and trauma to many people. Accordingly, we are seeing an increase in touchpoints and also the frequency of internal communications.
- Location wise plan of communication sessions
- Fitness initiatives plans, Investment, Measuring Effectiveness
- Pulse Surveys
Redeployment /Rationalization / Reskilling Opportunities
Knowing that COVID is here to stay for a longer time, to ensure business continuity, the availability of “Talent” for key roles is very essential and new normal.
1- Talent Management
- Critical Role Identification, Critical People Identification
- Succession Planning for key roles
- Do we have a track on the successors for a critical role,
- How soon can they take up the role in case if there is an unavailability of the role holder?
- Employee Skill Data
- To check if there are any substitutes in case of long absenteeism
- Low performers/ non-performers
- or voluntary separation rather than termination
- Outplacement and Career transitioning
- For down-sizing, believe that they should extend all possible help to this set of ‘would be left-out’ employees.
2- Learning & Development
The talent management will throw light in the areas where talent will be required in the future and what is the skill gap and how can we utilize the reskilling opportunities to develop our people for the future. The technology has been playing a great role during the present crisis. E-learning tools have been helping the learning to study at home.
- Newer Business Focus / Skills Areas – courses available on the online platform
- Time Spent on LMS for various courses
- Course completion % rates
- Learner drop-off rates
- Job impact
- Training ROI
COVID has forced us to look at newer ways of doing things, looking at every activity from a zero base perspective. This is a once in a lifetime learning for this generation and we need to ensure that we preserve this learning and use it even when things start looking positive.
In the ‘the new normal’, HR will have to keep a deeper eye on changes in the external environment so as to pre-empt and prepare for these changes in advance. “Going forward, there will immense focus on remote working, adopting digital ways, questioning past workforce models & resource plans and we all must utilize the learnings from these crises and covert them in opportunities to contribute positively to the business.