United States

COVID-19: Managing human resource data in an evolving environment


In light of the current market conditions and endless challenges that are arising on a daily basis, human resource (HR) departments must focus on proper data management. HR remains the gatekeeper of three crucial buckets of data in any organization; employee data, business data and enablement data. In many cases, HR works cross-functionally with business units to retrieve the data, as the information may not all reside in the same place.

Employee data is the information that HR needs to execute tasks and support employees. Examples of employee data are demographic information, absence data, PTO balances, travel plans, etc. At a minimum, HR needs easy and quick access to emergency contact data, home phone numbers and home addresses. Ideally, employee data is the easiest to collect. Employee data is critical to the accessibility and safety of employees, especially those who have relocated at home during this crisis.

Business data is the information the business needs to make decisions and can come in the form of procedures, SLA’s and other client agreements. Business data can enable decision-making and highlight the areas in need of review in light of COVID-19.

Business data also gives direction as to what expectations have been set for employees in terms of how they can do their jobs. In addition, business data sets the expectations of delivery of service to clients and helps businesses understand whether they are keeping up their brand promise or if contracts need revisions based on how the business is operating.

Enablement data is the information that employees need in order to do their jobs and stay informed, whether they are still in a business-as-usual circumstance, working from home or in a different new normal environment. Necessities such as contact lists or office supplies may not be available to employees who no longer sit in an office every day, and while these adjustments are minor, they will still have an impact to the organization and the overall employee experience.

All of this data becomes purposeless if not communicated in a concise and absorbable way to employees. The vehicle by which our clients deliver their updated policies and decisions is equally as important as the creation of the policies themselves. In many cases, we are seeing essential businesses posting physical copies of their policies in break rooms, bathrooms and other common areas to increase employee awareness.

For those non-essential businesses, the frequency of webinars and virtual report-outs has increased, as well as frequent updates to company websites. Organizations need to provide confidence, clarity and mechanisms to make sure the business is compliant, but also doing things that can still enable workers to have a positive experience no matter what.

Every business will have a new change to normal whether that is working from home, additional PPE or adjusted shift work. Above all, employees need to know and feel that they are being taken care in this trying time.