COVID-19 is affecting us all in different ways, through changes in our work, domestic and social environments, Rob Bothma, Strategic Business Solutions Engineer at Oracle, asserts. It may manifest itself in terms of homeschooling, entire organisations working remotely, family separation due to lockdown regimes, relying on online shopping or contact with extended family solely through digital channels. For many of us, it’s been all of the above!

The key challenge for all of us will be trying to get to grips with the new norm. This new norm has no timeline, and we do not fully understand the medium or long-term impact yet. Organisations will now be faced with several challenges, which may include:

  1. How to stay connected when staff are fully remote?
  2. How to plan for return to work in a way that maintains health and safety of staff?
  3. How to assess the long-term impact on works patterns and set up?
  4. How to join up and maintain connectivity where there are some groups of staff working full remotely, some fully back in the office and some doing a mixture of both remote and office?

Accelerate organisational change

The challenges outlined above are now front and centre considerations in light of COVID-19. But they were also relevant pre-COVID-19, too. In many ways, the current situation will accelerate how organisations were already developing and redesigning their workforces.

Digital platforms that are agile are able to service employees through multiple channels, support managers and extend the ability of HR to drive insight and support organisational development whilst enabling different modes of work will be differentiators.

In the recent COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey undertaken by PWC,” 68% of the CFO’s who completed the survey stated that crisis-driven transformation to remote working would make their company “better in the long run”. The majority of respondents (72%) also believed their companies will be more agile going forward, with PwC predicting that a “hybrid at-home/on-premise model that’s taken hold as a contingency is likely here to stay”.

Staying connected to your local workforce is therefore likely to be a key driver in maintaining organisational performance. If remote working accelerates as highlighted by CFO’s in the PWC COVID-19 Pulse Survey, then staying connected will be a major organisational development challenge for HR functions.

So, how best to stay connected? These are considerations for HR leaders:

  1. Leadership – Authentic and thoughtful leadership engagement and interventions. How does HR equip and support leaders?
  2. Purpose – Many staff will join and stay with an organisation because they feel connected with it’s purpose. Maintaining purpose at the heart engagement can support maintaining the connection. How does HR bring purpose to the forefront of the organisations EVP?
  3. Communications – Providing tools and different channels to access information. How does HR/Internal Communications/IT bring provided consistent and reliable platforms?
  4. Recognition and reward of contribution and how this is shared? What changes in reward and recognition policies does HR propose, and how would they be implemented?
  5. Digital platforms – Effective platforms to support work and accessibility to HR assets such as policy, guidelines, as well as answering queries in a timely manner. What HR digital platforms, that provide a personalised service, are required to be in place?
  6. Learning and development – How does HR policy and platform continue to enable learning and development?
  7. Advancement and career development – How does HR ensure staff working remotely continue to advance personally and professionally; how does career development work?
  8. Measurement – Evaluating organisational performance and impact. How is HR and Management going to monitor and measure performance and effectiveness?

Oracle as a global organisation is no different from any other organisation in that we are facing all these challenges. Through our Oracle@Oracle transformation journey, with HR enabling our Oracle staff at the forefront of the journey, we have been fortunate that we are well positioned to ensure connectivity and working remotely.

The Oracle Cloud HCM has been a powerful enabler. Our HR function is digital with multi-platform and channel access. The platform is available on any device, and our communication channels include written, text and voice.

We have deployed Core HR, Performance, Goals, and Talent, which provides employees and managers with an end-to-end experience. Employees can update personal data, including emergency contacts, and they can access performance and goals, as well as eLearning; all of which are easily available through the Oracle Learning Cloud. Managers can continue to move forward with recruitment, and focus on developing their staff supported by the Talent module within Oracle Cloud HCM.

Arguably the most crucial factor throughout has been the ability to give and receive feedback, particularly as business priorities evolve. Within the Performance module is the capability to focus on 360 degree, which has been proven to be one the most effective ways to focus on a total performance and development picture.

So, keep talking, keep on-top of your data and stay connected: it’s a recipe for future success.

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