From the Editor – by Dan VanDer Hey

Normal. It is a word that does not always carry with it a positive connotation. Even less common is the belief that normal would be something of aspiration. Welcome to 2020 and the impact of COVID-19. In this quarter’s issue of Workforce Solutions Review you will read many references to “normal”. The new normal, a return to normal, business as normal, or a desire for normal are all part of how we view normal in present times. The reality is that normal is both understood and assessed uniquely by all of us, but it is clear that normality is something we all desire to experience in greater volume. There was no plan to make the third quarter of Workforce Solutions Review the “Corona Virus” issue, but it is hard to ignore the preoccupation this topic has created. Our original theme was planned as “Strategic HR/The Business of HR”. We could probably rationalize how we still are discussing “strategic HR”, but most of our readership would identify the ruse. Positively, we believe there is great value in addressing how to live with and/or continue to do conduct business in these times. This issue includes many outstanding articles all focused on moving forward. We do hope that you all remain healthy and safe and we all share that hope of something a little more normal.

Our first article in this issue, gets us started with a carryover from our last issue. Bob Greene is back with Part 2, “The Coronavirus Pandemic: The Morning After . . . . Delayed” Bob provides updated insights from the CDC and others with the recommendation that we all remain flexible and responsive during these times.

What better next article in our lineup than “HR and the Not So Normal”. Everything about the realities of getting to work, being safe when you get there and then dealing with some of the very difficult questions that HR must be prepared are the focus of Dr. Jones’ article. If that doesn’t challenge you to action her recommendations to prepare for agility take a pulse check. She also offers some great recommendations for the uncertainty of what lays ahead.

One of our favorite and frequent authors, Lexy Martin, explores how companies should and can continue their focus on digital transformation by focusing efforts on analytics across the employee life cycle focused on attracting, developing and retaining staff. Lexy also highlights the profound organizational effectiveness impact through improved planning and optimized structures/ productivity.

“Performance Management in a Changing Environment” addresses the reality of our changed working environment and how an active performance management focus enables companies to build trusted relationships with their employees while increasing goal attainment and productivity. Tony Bilangino uses this contribution to reinforce management basics critical to maximizing employee performance in any environment.

A logical extension of the topic of performance management is the outstanding article on “Shifts to Leadership Development Due to the Pandemic”. The role of a leader during a crisis of any kind is often the difference between corporate success and failure. Bruno Querenet Onfroy de Breville takes on a difficult topic for Leaders and HR professionals in general. The role a leader has in a crisis, and I think it is safe to call this pandemic a crisis, makes a significant impact on how employees and companies survive, thrive or flounder. I know you will enjoy the four components for a simple but powerful leadership development framework that he presents in his article.

While we are focused on the topic of leadership the observations of Wayne Tarken provide excellent perspective about Agile HR in his article, “Agile Leadership in Action During a Crisis – Top 7 Practices to Build Organizational Resilience and Develop HR Leaders”. Take some time to review the EBIT2DA acronym and the suggested practices designed to equip individuals and teams to deal with any uncertainty. Agile HR leadership practices provide a way for HR leaders to build organizational resilience and the required capabilities for organizational success.

Another familiar contributor, Catherine Honey offers outstanding recommendations in “Making Payroll More Strategic”. We all value the importance of getting paid but recognizing the critical role that payroll plays during times of crisis just touch the surface of the full strategic value that payroll can bring to any company. Access to key strategic information for analytics and decision making together with an opportunity to lead in technology enablement are just a couple of the areas where payroll can lead. These put together with operational leadership in organizational structures, workforce deployment and performance measurement are just a few of the ingredients to strategic payroll.

Speaking of strategic, now sounds like a great time to consider how to align your workforce with quickly changing business needs. Mick Collins provides outstanding insights in “Rethinking Workforce Planning in Times of Uncertainty”. There is little question that we have ample uncertainty, but how much focus are any of us making on delivering workforce planning more personal, dynamic, engaging, and reflective of the current economic, social, and employment turbulence casting a pall over the future of work? Don’t miss the five ways in which HR leaders can rethink workforce planning in uncertain conditions!

Regular author and co-editor Roy Altman talks about “Moving the Needle with Limited Resources”. Despite starting with some dire forecasts about the prospect of HR technology spending in 2020, Roy presents the viability of some key initiatives that bring real value to the organization in areas like data transformation, data quality, fragmented workforce and multi-vendor environment that should move forward based on the immediate value they can bring to companies. By presenting tools for data management and integrations there remains initiatives that can provide significant impact without the same fiscal and resource demands.

This issue started with a view of where we stand in the COVID-19 pandemic and the perspective of “2020 Has Been a Reset for Companies Everywhere” by Bonnie Tinder assesses the business impact in succinct summary. Bonnie addresses some great questions about how this has impacted business, whether remote work is here to stay and what this means for the job market. Finally, she includes great suggestions on what actions make sense in this business environment.

Last in this impressive offering of pertinent topics is the article that was a by product of an interview I had with Jody Kaminsky and Greg Swick from Ultimate Software. By the release of this issue the new name for the merged Kronos and Ultimate Software companies will be old news, but we hope that there may still be some insights into what this new merged company aspires to be and how they have been occupying their time through the pandemic. I left this article for last not necessarily because you save the best for last because I doubt that assessment would hold, but it seemed like the right thing to do as the editor of this quarter’s publication.

Speaking of the right thing to do, it feels like “doing the right thing” may be a great topic for the world we presently live in. I am certain that we could never achieve consensus, but there is no shortage of good topics to be our focus for upcoming issues. Ethnic and gender equality, age bias, hands-on vs. hands-off government, global warming and a myriad of other relevant topics all deserve some attention as we all seek ways to do the right thing. It’s hard to argue that it’s not a compelling topic other than the difficulty finding authors who make it a daily practice in all that they do. Gives us all something to aspire to. Until next time, be safe, be kind and try to do the right thing.

Dan Vander Hey
Associate Director of Enterprise Process Consulting at | + posts

Dan Vander Hey, Associate Director in Enterprise Process Consulting at Cognizant. Vander Hey is a nationally recognized HR transformation, strategic sourcing, and human capital technology expert. He’s an author, speaker, and consultant to Fortune 1000 Companies in areas focused on human capital management, best-fit process optimization, and innovative people practices. For more than two decades, he has designed and deployed a wide variety of enterprise systems, including PeopleSoft/Oracle, SAP, ADP, Workday, Ceridian, and UKG. He holds an M.A. in psychology from Humboldt State University and a B.A. in psychology from Biola University. He can be reached at [email protected].

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