COVID-19 has turned 2020 into the year of high-speed change and business evolution. It’s no secret that industries around globe will have significant impacts for months to come, especially in the HR tech vertical.
While there may not be a new “normal” to return to, the workforce has learned a significant amount in a short amount of time. This is what we’ve found:
How has COVID-19 impacted businesses?
Businesses have evolved at a lightning speed. From restaurants limitations and parking lot tables, to supply chain delays and tech project cancellations, the effects of COVID-19 will be long lasting.
According to Raven Intel’s recent study1 with IHRIM and OHUG, 51% of participants say that their business levels have been dramatically impacted and over half predict that these impacts will last 6 months or more. Current projects have consequently been removed from company priorities, and leaders have had to make hard decisions to keep their companies afloat.
Over 39% of projects have been dramatically been impacted2, according to the 146 surveyed. Half of participants involved in HR tech are pausing projects or changing scope, with a possibility to cancel. 21% are proceeding as normal and a select 15% have accelerated projects that are mission critical to navigate the current COVID-19 environment.
The effects of COVID-19 are projected to last over six months, if not longer.
“We were at the end of an ERP RFP…at the decision point. Needless to say, as a healthcare organization, all priorities changed, and we have paused the decision/implementation. Instead, we are creating tools and processes to support our front-line staff in the hospitals/physician practices. Expenses are increasing for supplies and personnel expenses. It’s doubtful the organization will have the stomach, any time soon, to fork out cash for an ERP implementation – and rightly so.” – Participant in Raven Intel’s Impact on COVID-19 Study
Is remote work here to stay?
One of the biggest changes that COVID-19 has brought is the pivot to a remote workforce. While some organizations already supported remote positions, functions requiring a physical presence in the office were slower to adapt. Organizations that once hesitated to approve work-from-home policies have now become fluid in preparing the equipment and communication plans needed to successfully work in a remote environment.
“One interesting thing I heard is that internally, our CIO mentioned that [with our team] being fully remote he is seeing some areas being MORE productive. Tasks that took months now are taking only a few weeks or days. He is trying to figure out how to capture that back into the workplace if & when we all return to ‘normal’.”
Companies everywhere have gone through a digital transformation, turning to online conferencing software such as Zoom, GoTo Meeting and Skype to keep face-to-face interaction part of the daily routine. Over 63% have stated that they’ve seen an increase in productivity, and some organizations such as Facebook and Twitter have permanently embraced a remote workforce.
What does this mean for the job market?
Another significant impact of COVID-19 has been the workforce reductions that hundreds of thousands of people have endured. 44% of participants stated that COVID-19 will have a dramatic impact to their current employees and future hiring, with some companies freezing all hiring completely.
Those that have not paused hiring have begun to conduct virtual interviews and remote onboarding. The adoption of remote work has also drastically increased candidate competition in the local market, making it even more difficult to secure interviews.
So, what should you be doing if your project has been cancelled?
Review the impact of your projects
The post-COVID19 working environment will likely have shifted your approach3 to employee engagement, performance and management – many cases for the long term. Certain mission-critical projects may have been accelerated to minimize COVID-19’s impact on your business, support healthcare workers and enable remote work. Others have had projects paused or cancelled, many of which were a key focus before the pandemic.
With the time you would have been using for your project, take a step back and review the areas that would provide the highest impact to your business. Review the software vendors or consulting firms that you were ready to engage and ensure they are a good fit for your business, team and project needs. Now more than ever, there are good SI firms looking for meaningful projects to keep their consultant bench busy and willing to go above and beyond to help customers
- “Ensure you review the project and prioritize the implementation. Review what is really important to your organization and re-plan.”
- “Ensure you identify key project resources and Project Governance is adapted to remote working. Have less meetings and focus on teamwork and wellbeing.”
Clean up your data
A big regret that customers document in their project reviews4 is that they wish they’d factored in more time for data cleanup. With your time away from the project, review your data and get out the scrub brush. It might be time consuming, but you’ll be relieved afterwards when your implementation is finished and you don’t have another mini-project ahead of you to clean up the data after the implementation.
- “We should have spent more time correcting our current state prior to our project launch. Fixing the current and preparing for the future has been a difficult task.”
- “Make sure you’ve taken the time to clean up all your legacy data so you are not bringing bad data in to your new system.”
- “Clean up your historical data – scrub, scrub, scrub – before you upload.”
Get Real-Life Feedback: User Acceptance Testing (UAT) & Focus Group Sessions
There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a project only to hear that your users find the UI clunky or confusing, or that something breaks along the way. With the extra time and the availability of video conferencing and screen share sessions, spend some time creating focus groups and watch parties to test some of the new aspects of the system well before they are prime-time.
The feedback you receive from real users can help re-focus on your project goals and how you can make the most impact when your project returns into scope.
“Assure ample time is built in for UAT and assume there will be errors and fixes that need to be done. Important details can be missed requiring significant delays and change orders. Don’t assume your partner always has the right answer and be sure to challenge them.”
Re-write your communication plan
As we navigate through the impacts of the pandemic, the key for effective remote work is communicating with your team. Re-write your communication strategies by identifying what you’ll do differently if a similar situation arises. How often will you communicate with members of your organization? Who will the updates come from – leadership, direct managers, or both?
Using this time to draft your future launch communications, documenting processes within the system (for good knowledge transfer), and regularly keeping in front of your executive sponsors & users about the status of the project will pay big dividends later. You can even record walk-through scenarios that will help in user training later on.
About Raven Intel
Raven Intel is an independent peer review site that helps Enterprise Software customers find, hire and review the best consulting partner for their implementation. We provide business leaders with valuable transparency into the software implementation process and raise the visibility of consulting partners who are doing the most to help their customers achieve the maximum benefit from their software purchase. Our site, ravenintel.com, provides free access to hundreds of vetted customer reviews about Enterprise Cloud Software projects, as well as to the profiles and ratings of over 100 consulting firms—from the Big 5 to boutique organizations.