How are HR technology providers stepping up during the current Covid-19 crisis?

Much has evolved since the Covid-19 global pandemic entered our lives. It feels like a lifetime ago but has only been a few short months. We have seen significant retrenchment and re-organisation at scale and pace, in businesses large and small, with many organisations hitting the wall. We have also started to realise the areas businesses need to strengthen to survive today and have the potential to thrive tomorrow.

One very clear enabling element has been the HR function, at the center of how to reshape the key business asset - the workforce.

We’ve read and heard a lot about the challenges that HR, as a function, has been facing over the last couple of months. At LACE we understand the pressure HR directors are under and how they’ve suddenly been put in the spotlight having to deal with a unprecedented situations. Crisis management in real time has become a core skill for HR.

It is fair to say that this pandemic has accelerated innovation in remote collaboration, engagement, workforce planning and compliance tools. As technology practitioners we wanted to understand what the different technology providers have done to help HR during these difficult times.

The short answer is they’ve stepped up and delivered.

Tech providers have quickly and efficiently responded to support their clients and prospects as well as the wider HR community. To highlight how they have done so we have categorised their response to the market in three main areas listed below.

Free Covid-19 tools and thought leadership

We should look first here at how many of the providers have risen above capital gains and cynical marketing, to actively go ‘above and beyond’, being very successful at “doing the right thing”. For example, by supporting the NHS or by offering existing capabilities to organisations for free.

To help keep our amazing NHS running, Zendesk delivered a fast track case management solution to HR teams on the front line of the NHS. Outside of technology Oracle have provided free pens and t-shirts for NHS staff and volunteers who sometimes had to provide their own stationary. There are many examples of technology companies helping the NHS but this shows that HR tech providers are also playing their part.

ServiceNow have launched a number of community apps around emergency response management, such as emergency outreach and emergency report.

For their current clients, many providers have also delivered free or enhanced services. For example, Oracle have been extremely proactive by focusing their efforts on learning, wellbeing and engagement. They have offered new user guides, created blogs webinars, all available for download now. They have emphasised the importance of wellbeing during the crisis by offering HR professionals complimentary support calls from industry experts on gravitas, recruiting and neurodiversity as well as daily 30-minute mindfulness calls in association with the PPMA.

At LACE, while we are not a tech provider, we recognised early on that sharing our experience and expertise was the best way we could support our clients and HR colleagues during these difficult times. We’ve quickly developed “HR in crisis” content, webinars and tools with free access, including our 12 point crisis management toolkit, to the entire HR community. You can find our 12 point plan and supporting tools here.

Access to current capabilities

It is worth noting that some of the technology providers have helped their customers by providing free access to helpful modules.

SAP opened access to some of their technologies, including Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse, which is a powerful automated sentiment analysis and planning tool, available to all SAP customers and to others (for a limited amount of time). Oracle provided all HCM Cloud Customers with their free Health and Safety Module and Cornerstone offered their free content via their Cornerstone Cares instance to clients and others.

From a digital learning perspective, Skillsoft provided their learning experience platform free to enable eLearning for staff - including furloughed staff - to build skills with the time available during the crisis. This was used as a support mechanism to alert co-workers.

Your technology vendor have been doing their best to support the community in this time of crisis. The free access may not last forever, but when it was needed support was there to try to help.

Enhancing existing HR platforms with relevant Covid-19 components / modules

We have also seen a few providers accelerating their development of new offerings at pace.

For any customers using the workforce management capability in Dayforce, Ceridian quickly developed and launched an additional form available for employees to register if they might have Covid-19 symptoms, which is used as a support mechanism to alert co-workers.

Another example is Core HR, which developed and added the Covid-19 tracker module to their existing platform. They reacted quickly to the demand of their customer community to help reactivating employees coming back from furlough for instance.

What you can be sure of is that demand for Covid-19 relevant functionalities is growing and driving innovation and competition. It is becoming a buyer’s market and you will see downward pressure on innovation, prices, and probably on market consolidation. As well as the demands of the pandemic, these are also good reasons to develop your technology case for case for change to better prepare you for the next wave of the virus, or the next new crisis.

LACE Partners specialise in HR Transformation and HR Technology advice. We can help you articulate the value of what you need, help you secure the funding and find the right fit for you, at the best price in this new buyer’s market. If you are interested in a free business case consultation, or free HR tech marketplace consultation drop us a line at 44 (0) 20 8065 0310 or email us – info@lacepartners.co.uk.