By James Drake, Head of Communications—Oracle UK and Ireland
“For HR leaders, there really is no precedent for these times.”
HR professionals have never faced a bigger challenge–or had a better opportunity for reform—than the COVID-19 pandemic. People Management, in partnership with Oracle, explores how HR strategy and cloud-based digital technology can empower businesses for a successful post-pandemic future.
In this age of uncertainty, the only safe bet is that no business will be untouched by the impact of COVID-19. The businesses that are resilient, digital-led, agile, and able to better withstand and react to rapidly changing world events, will choose their own futures. Meanwhile, those that cling to rigid strategies, old technology, and outdated business models risk being left behind.
The importance of HR in setting a company’s course and ensuring its future success cannot be overstated. The effectiveness of people management bridges the gap between employees' performance and an organization's strategic objectives. Decisions made now by HR teams in areas spanning from talent recruitment to team development will both dictate their companies’ immediate rebounds and long-term futures.
Earlier this year, People Management, in partnership with Oracle, held a virtual roundtable focus group that invited six senior HR professionals from different UK industries to consider the overarching question: how can HR build a resilient business? During an hour-long Q&A session led by People Management editor, Jenny Roper, the panel explored the fundamental nature of business resilience, addressed the challenges facing the HR sector, and suggested the solutions to lead us forward into this ‘new normal’.
From the pros and cons of a period in which 49.2 percent of British adults have worked remotely, to the unprecedented challenges of the virtual onboarding process, the topics covered were timely, far-reaching, and on the pulse of the HR sector. Throughout, the focus turned repeatedly onto the importance of digital transformation, and how a unified, cloud-based HR system and data-driven insights can optimize HR processes, empower decision-makers, and inform sharper business strategy.
The panelists at this virtual roundtable event were Opemipo Koshemani (HR business partner at UCL), Jig Ramji (group head of talent at London Stock Exchange), Steve Pierce (chief HR officer at Hitachi Europe), Claire Bennett (vice president, EMEA HR at Oracle), Peter Rowley (EMEA HR strategy director at Oracle) and Caroline Andrews (vice president of HR at DHL).
Commissioned by Oracle, with In-House Recruitment conducting online interviews with 71 of the UK’s senior HR decision-makers, the new report’s findings provided the context for the roundtable event. The figures make for sobering reading. Since March, 60 percent of UK organizations have reduced their workforce, with 81 percent of companies furloughing staff. The reason for these staffing cutbacks was almost unanimous: COVID-19 was cited by 91 percent of the companies who contributed to the research. Of course, the hardest blow has been to those employees facing an uncertain future, but the onus for these difficult staffing decisions has fallen on HR teams.
In unsettling times, with endless scenarios of what the ‘new normal’ might look like, the case for digital transformation is even more compelling. From developing talent to supporting leaders and identifying any skills gaps in the workforce, only a single, complete, cloud-based HR system can provide the connected data that companies need to optimize their internal processes, keep pace with global events, react to shifting market dynamics – and ultimately build business resilience, now and into the future.
We are all in the same storm. But the boat we build is down to us.
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