Although the pandemic has been wreaking havoc on best-laid plans, it didn’t alter trends—instead, it accelerated them. And leaning into many of these pre-pandemic trends—slight breezes that turned into gale-force winds—is how many businesses are navigating our uncertain era.
“That's hard to see clearly when you're in the midst of a crisis that we're in,” says Max Caldwell, principal with The Hackett Group, in the Workday-sponsored webinar, "How Finance and HR Leaders Partner to Strengthen the Workforce in Times of Crisis." “But I think the smart organizations and leaders are going to keep one eye on the present, one eye on the near future, and try to make balanced decisions with both in mind.”
From upskilling talent to investing with growth and opportunity in mind, here’s how trends identified earlier this year are playing out amid an unprecedented landscape.
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Earlier this year, the "2020 CFO/CHRO Sentiment Study" conducted by AchieveNEXT highlighted critical areas to bolster and strengthen finance and human resources partnerships. More than 600 finance and HR leaders from middle-market businesses and emerging enterprises across North America participated in the study.
Among the findings include 90% of finance and HR leaders ranking “customer relationships as important or very important to their enterprise growth and success each year.”
But for customer experience to be valued as a critical aspect of the business strategy, finance and HR leaders need to join forces.
“Today’s finance and HR leaders must correlate financial performance to their customer experience success, and communicate this alignment with consistency and clarity to a diverse group of connected—but at times, disparate—people,” the report says.
COVID-19 brought heightened awareness to that priority. During times of uncertainty, many companies first look at balancing labor costs with declining revenue.
In the webinar, Caldwell advises that companies be as “surgical as possible where reduction of capacity and headcount reductions are necessary. It means considering a variety of ways to manage costs, so not only potentially layoffs, but furloughs.”
This approach enables companies to sufficiently account for the value of employees in protecting and generating revenue.
Caldwell says: “As horrible as the crisis is, can we use it as a way to accelerate efforts, to enhance productivity, embrace new ways of working through everything from automation to flatter and more fluid, agile organizational designs . . . so that decisions we may make in the short term aren't going to backfire on us or inhibit growth as we come out of what may be a very difficult next few months.”