By Debbie Bolla
What keeps HR up at night? According to HRO Today’s new research report, Top Concerns of CHROs, there are several challenges looming on HR’s agenda. Clearly, the impact of COVID-19 is one of them, with 52% of respondents reporting a high level of concern.
Tanya Axenson, vice president of HR for Aerotek, says the global pandemic’s impact is so widespread that providing a duty of care to employees is a top priority.
“We are focused on helping our employees feel supported as we all navigate these unprecedented times together by delivering the work model they need to be successful,” she says. “When you want your employees to perform to the best of their ability, you need to engage them individually—there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each employee’s circumstances are different and can change from day to day.”
The degree and frequency of change is having a trickle-down effect on workforce planning. Not too long ago, the U.S. was experiencing a historically low unemployment rate, so it’s not surprising that prior to the pandemic, 39.8% of HR leaders planned to increase the size of their workforce in 2021, according to the research. Only 11.9% planned a decrease, but now that percentage has climbed to 38.5%. Even further, according to the HRO Today study, over one-third (38.2%) of respondents feel extremely or very concerned about workforce planning.
One strategy that HR is using to understand workforce dynamics and the skills gap is leveraging data and predictive analytics. Nancy Hauge, CHRO of Automation Anywhere, shares that her company is using one of its own tools to analyze different roles and their impact on the organization. Metrics that are reviewed in the decision-making process include employee performance, criticality of the role, cultural fit, employee flight risk, and satisfaction levels.
Business agility remains a concern for an overwhelming 81.4% of respondents. But these types of quick-thinking strategies are showing the importance of remaining agile when managing the workforce in challenging times.