Even in a normal business environment, competing and responding to market forces is always a challenge. But the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated longstanding human resources (HR) issues that command the attention of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) alike.

These issues include the resilience and agility with which HR professionals must work to realign resources to fill critical roles, reinforce business continuity, and reskill their workforces.

Recent studies have shown that organizations were vigorously seeking ways to upskill and reskill their workforces before the COVID-19 crisis set in. The pandemic only accelerated interest in training, with the imperative likely to continue for years to come as companies now realize they need to act faster to compete effectively. HR must drive this, meaning that taking charge of change is not an option – it’s a requirement for survival, no matter the size of the company.

Easy and intuitive software that offers vision, speed, and flexibility on mundane and strategic HR functions alike can help companies stay nimble and resilient while still managing basic HR functions. HR professionals are all in this new reality together and can transform the function to the strategic and business-driving discipline it was meant to be. And fortunately, there are few barriers to entry.

In fact, 80 percent of SAP customers using human experience management (HXM) software are SMEs that leverage these tools to great effect, whether they are hiring, retraining, or realigning to drive their businesses forward. Leveraging the power of HXM software will be the key to companies operating intelligently and efficiently through these irregular times and regular conditions on the horizon.

Realign Resources to Fill Critical Roles

Any seasoned HR professional knows that a sure way to fall behind the curve is to recruit aggressively to fill square holes with square pegs – or, when there’s a downturn, cut headcount to meet a number without considering the needs of the business. Workforce modeling and contingency planning are now constant responsibilities rather than an undertaking earmarked solely for expansion and contraction. A holistic approach is required to think about how, when, and where to cut, hire, and reassign – it’s just a matter of having the right tools that are easily accessible and simple to use.

  • Ingentis: This powerful application helps HR managers engage in active workforce modeling and reorganization at any moment and prepare for any scenario that may lie ahead. Easy drag-and-drop functionality provides real-time information and implications – such as diversity and salary – of moving departments and people to align with business objectives.
  • SAP SuccessFactors Succession & Development and SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting: These two solutions allow HR managers to create internal and external talent pools, respectively, for quick hiring and reassigning in response to business needs.
  • SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding: This simple solution helps HR managers run quick, effective, and compliant onboarding, offboarding, and reassigning transitions in lieu of getting mired in traditional, time-consuming, and paperwork-heavy processes when brainpower would be better focused on more strategic endeavors.
  • SAP Signature Management application by DocuSign: No matter how many people have been hired, let go, or reassigned, this application allows for quick and compliant e-signing of essential paperwork, so HR managers aren’t spending their time pushing paper.

Reinforce Business Continuity

When times are abnormal, work should still deliver the expected challenges and rewards. That’s why it is on HR to provide a sense of normalcy and smooth operations even when the world order and business conditions are roiling. That starts with listening – providing a direct and responsive conduit between HR and employees and, from there, delivering the tools and programs workers need to be updated and informed about their jobs. That includes questions about everything from paychecks to performance.

  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll: This straightforward, easy-to-use solution helps HR managers ensure and simplify global payroll compliance, as well as standardize payroll processes. Most importantly, this program gives employees the confidence that they’ll be paid accurately and on time in an era when both are weekly worries.
  • SAP SuccessFactors Compensation: The finance arm of the company wants assurances that the budget is accurate and risk is reduced, while managers across the organization want the ability to reward employees who are performing above and beyond. This solution helps companies achieve both – first, by ensuring fair and equitable compensation for a variety of roles in different locales, and second, by giving managers and HR clear insight into who’s exceeding expectations and should be compensated accordingly. There should be no ambiguity about who receives how much and why.
  • SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals: Since the business environment and needs of the company are constantly changing, this solution helps realign employees around new goals and targets so they understand what they’re working toward, why, and how things might need to change. Best of all, this malleable solution can fit different company cultures and communications styles, so employees and managers can have insight and interaction as often as they like, on whatever issues or projects are of the highest priority.

Reskill Your Workforce

Reskilling has been a buzzword for a while, but now is the time for companies to transform into learning cultures. Reskilling and upskilling will be critical to companies’ survival now and to their ability to thrive when the time of recovery emerges. From there, a culture of learning and continued upskilling can endure. But getting upskilling initiatives off the ground and impacting the business now requires that HR take the lead – and empower employees to expand their skills.

  • SAP SuccessFactors Learning: This solution helps HR managers direct the right courses to specific employees who want and need new skills. Best of all, it also allows workers to proactively address their own skill gaps and take upskilling into their own hands so they’re getting the training they feel is most important to the business’s needs and their own long-term success. After all, employees drive the business, so let them have control of expanding their skillsets.
  • SAP Content Stream applications by Skillsoft: Time is precious. By one estimate, employees have only 14 minutes available each week to devote to training. But with these applications, employees can learn on the go, from anywhere, and on any device.
  • SAP Jam: This collaboration platform allows employees to share training and information on specific topics and goals, rather than through e-mail. SAP Jam facilitates learning as a collaborative exercise in which employees encourage one another and learn from one another.

If COVID-19 has taught the business world anything, it is that when change and uncertainty are the new normal, people look to collaborate more, working across teams to help keep the business moving forward. The key for businesses, and HR professionals in particular, is to harness that desire and drive the changes needed to make organizations and the communities they serve better places. If HR professionals can do that now, in troubling times, imagine what can be accomplished in a more prosperous period with the right mindset and tool kit.

Learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite can help you take charge of change.

Susan Thomas and Janne Wise are solution marketing directors for SAP SuccessFactors.