Workday Partner Tips: How to Build Operational Resilience to Strengthen Business Continuity

We're sharing guidance from some of our strategic partners—Accenture, Collaborative Solutions, KPMG, Mercer, OneSource Virtual, and PwC—on how to strengthen operational resilience during times of crisis.

Jillian Ogawa April 28, 2020
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Welcome to the Workday Partner Tips series. In this series, we’re sharing content from our partners that provides actionable guidance on managing your business and taking care of your workforce both during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has put companies to the test. Across industries, businesses are going through trial and error in adjusting to a new marketplace reality.

When navigating unprecedented times, organizations must focus on how to respond, recover, and eventually thrive. In this article, we highlight advice from our partners on how to ensure business continuity through operational resiliency.

Understanding Operational Resilience

In its report, “The Art of Adapting to a Changing Environment,” KPMG defines operational resiliency as an organization’s ability to adapt to rapidly changing environments. “This includes the resilience of systems, processes and people, and more generally the organization’s ability to continue to operate during disruptive events.”

Operational resiliency has been a longstanding focus in areas that dealt with risk, such as cybersecurity or outsourcing. But the scope of discipline has evolved, becoming “a new end-to-end discipline that requires all parts of the organization to work together,” KPMG says. 

The challenges brought on by COVID-19 add another nuance to strengthening operational resiliency. From PwC: “In the post-COVID norm, an effective resiliency plan will look very different than it does today. COVID-19 has expanded the scope of operational resiliency beyond preventing threats to being prepared to operate during periods of massive social disruption.”

Here’s how companies can strengthen their operational resiliency:

Assess Adaptation to New Ways of Working

Oftentimes, unexpected challenges, such as those brought on by COVID-19, place heightened scrutiny on how well your organization operates. “Now is a good time to monitor emerging performance problems and identify new ways of working,” says Mercer in its article “Leading During a Pandemic: Four Questions Leaders Need to Consider.”

To ensure business continuity, organizations should consider  whether “remote workers have the tools, technology, and training they need,” especially since many companies have required some or all of their employees to work from home in response to COVID-19. Also, the strength of an organization’s operational efficiency includes the effectiveness of decision-making and cross-functional coordination in time of crisis. 

“If COVID-19 has changed where (e.g., home) and how (e.g., virtually) your employees are working, it is important to understand the extent to which these changes are disrupting performance,” Mercer says. 

Organizations should ask themselves these questions: Are teams working well together? Are new conflicts emerging? Are critical conversations not happening? “If so, virtual distance may be slowing your employees down,” Mercer advises. “Identifying coordination challenges quickly and taking corrective steps can help your organization stay on track.”

The report authors also encourage companies to get timely feedback from their workforce on the operational effectiveness of the organization.

“Employees and front line managers often have the clearest insights about the tools, technology, policies, and procedures that aren’t helpful,” Mercer says. “Now is a good time to streamline processes and remove hassles. Doing so will increase efficiency and probably boost employee engagement as well.”

The article also highlights other factors, such as organizational agility, that leaders should consider when assessing the performance of their organizations during times like these. 

Prioritize Process Changes for Workforce Management

In the midst of COVID-19, companies are having to realign their HR protocols and policies to reflect new regulations and the changing needs of the business, such as expediting the hiring of essential workers or adding hazard pay.  

“We know that all of these questions and more are important because how we respond today is going to influence business after recovery,” says Danielle White, vice president, global customer engagement at Collaborative Solutions.

That’s why Collaborative Solutions put together an “Ask the Experts Webinar Series” to help organizations reconfigure their processes impacted by COVID-19. The webinars so far have addressed tracking, absence and payroll, core HCM and recruiting, and benefits and benefits reporting. Upcoming webinars in the series will address other processes that are changing in light of COVID-19, such as finance operations and virtual deployment.

In response to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, OneSource Virtual created a YouTube presentation that gives an overview of the new legislation, explains how to reconfigure system processes in Workday that account for employees missing work because of COVID-19, and discusses the potential impact of the legislation to other processes and policies. 

Workforce planning has also been greatly impacted by COVID-19, as companies are having to suddenly reduce their workforce while others are experiencing a surge in demand. As a result, businesses must shift how they recruit and hire talent in the current landscape. A new global employer-to-employer initiative powered by Accenture’s platform, People + Work Connect, enables companies to rapidly share the experience and skills of their laid-off or furloughed workforces with other companies on the platform that are seeking workers. The resource is available to use at no cost.

Strengthen Supply Chain Resilience

The pandemic is disrupting supply chains on a global scale. When adjusting their operations to cope with the impact, companies must also account for building up long-term resilience.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a short-term crisis,” Accenture says. “It has long-lasting implications for how people work and how supply chains function.”

In the report “Building Supply Chain Resilience: What to Do Now and Next During COVID-19,” Accenture outlines a continuous cycle framework of “risk mobilizing, sensing, analysis, configuration” that will help organizations optimize results and navigate a rapidly changing environment. 

“Companies need to respond rapidly and confidently to shape and execute a short-term tactical plan that will mitigate the risks to human health and protect the functioning of global supply chains,” Accenture says.

A PwC whitepaper also examined the impact of COVID-19 on the global supply chain. For companies to future-proof their supply chain, PwC advises to improve supply chain visibility, model new risks and costs, and focus on resilience.

“Understanding how global manufacturers are managing through disruptions to their supply chains will help all businesses structure their own responses,” says PwC.

Interested in learning more? Read our Workday Partner Tips articles on maintaining business continuity, focus areas for CFOs, and managing a suddenly remote workforce. You’ll find additional content and resources for managing business disruption during COVID-19 at resource pages provided and regularly updated by Accenture, Collaborative Solutions, KPMG, Mercer, OneSource Virtual, and PwC.

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