When employees were first asked to work from home, instant transformations were required to make it effective. Several months in, many companies are strategizing around a safe return to work plan.

Just as technology was key to a successful work-from-home transition, it is also essential when employees will finally step foot into their workplaces again. To help with this, a new service offering from SAP will support an effective return to the workplace.

The offering to create and manage a resilient workforce makes use of SAP SuccessFactors solutions combined with Experience Management solutions from SAP and Qualtrics, SAP Analytics Cloud, and SAP Fieldglass software in order to address the continually evolving work environment.

In the early days of the pandemic, a contingency plan was enough. Today, businesses need a combination of long-term strategy and data-driven modifications to keep up with a rapidly changing environment. To make this a reality, strong and interoperable technologies are essential.

In developing this new offering, we took into account the environments to which workers would need to adapt and considered the emotional and professional needs that might arise. After more than 1,000 hours spent exploring use cases with customers, we narrowed our learnings to 44 use cases and from there, mapped out 132 process design scenarios to understand the flow of engagement.

Using a design thinking lens, we created an offering that combines the technology our customers already use in thoughtful ways to help them thrive and be resilient in these uncertain times. The resilient workforce offering enables companies to put their people first and remain flexible and productive across four key use cases.

Redeploying Your Workforce

Business needs changed overnight as winter turned to spring this year. This left companies with the task of understanding what skills their workforce possessed and retraining employees as necessary to perform duties that had become essential to business continuity. This created an extra focus on employee sentiment, as employers needed better insight into the well-being of their newly remote employees. With tangible metrics and suggestions in-hand, human resources (HR) teams can make changes like adjusting staffing levels, bringing back workers, training workers for new skills, and assessing workers’ talents and interests.

Bringing Your Workforce Back Safely 

Getting back to the office creates two distinct workstreams for businesses. First, they need to continue to check in with the sentiments of their employees using experience management software to understand any changes in work or work/life balance that are needed to make the return to the office a success. Second, employers need to be able to communicate changes in policies and duties to help ensure all onsite employees can perform their jobs safely.

Supporting Overworked Employees

This pandemic has turned homes into offices, schools, and around-the-clock caretaking facilities. Employees have had to keep up with an ever-increasing number of home and family duties, all while keeping up with hours of video calls and heads-down-work each day. This has led many employees to feel overworked and even burnt out. Understanding how employees feel is the first step toward redistributing work, bringing on new hires, and making the space to reward employees for going above and beyond.

Managing Employee Separations

No company wants to lay off their employees, but it is the unfortunate reality for many during the COVID-19 crisis. While those workers may be separated from the company, there are still ways to help offboard them compassionately. A company may choose to provide former employees access to contingent work through SAP Fieldglass software, or reskilling and upskilling resources to help them land a new job faster.

SAP is committed to providing holistic support for the key situations affecting our customers. We have developed the offering to allow our customers to select how much or how little support they need for the challenges and opportunities that matter most. Each use case consists of individual process steps that can be selectively adapted to address the needs of the workforce, so our customers can make a difference in a quick, cost-effective fashion.

In times of crisis, businesses need partnership and technology that understand and help them further care for their people. Afterall, based on new insights from THRIVE Global, employees will drive transformations that will make business continuity a reality. There are many outstanding unknowns about this pandemic and the impact it will have on the global economy, but staying focused on the people who will reimagine your organization, as well as the technology necessary to support them, is a necessary foundation from which businesses can move forward confidently.

To find out more about how to develop and manage a resilient workforce, contact SAP_Resilient_Workforce@sap.com. In addition, visit the “Manage a Resilient Workforce During a Pandemic” section of the Employee Experience Management area of sap.com for additional brochure content.

Philip Loewen is global vice president and head of Product Strategy at SAP.