HR Analytics

Data-Driven HRBPs: Reacting Quickly in a Crisis

Source | | Quinn Slaughter

Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a sudden emergency situation. Today, it’s the COVID-19 pandemic and HR Business Partners (HRBPs) are feeling the effects of this crisis in a huge way.

Today, HRBPs are being called upon to quickly adapt and manage huge changes throughout the organization, disseminate critical information, counsel business leaders, ensure business continuity–AND do all of this while managing talent strategies that maintain an engaged workforce throughout each stage of this crisis. 

During recent crisis management open forums we held with the people analytics community, panelists and attendees made it clear that making evidence-based decisions about our people using data is the best way forward. 

This is why the data-driven HRBP is best suited for managing the shifts outlined above. 

Why the data-driven HRBP is critical during Stage 1

As soon as a crisis hits, leaders should be reacting immediately to changing developments and tailoring response plans for optimal employee safety, wellness and business continuity.

Prior to this pandemic, many businesses were taking steps to upskill their HRBPs with data capabilities, recognizing that making this role more evidence-based was key to people analytics success. 

Now, many HRBPs can respond directly to requests for people data themselves without having to queue up for help from equally busy HR analysts, data scientists, and IT. This is a data-driven organization at its best–one where every person can use data to make better choices and have confidence in their decisions.

As organizations React to this pandemic, the data-driven HRBP must rapidly translate critical workforce questions into strategies focused on keeping employees safe: 

1. How close are employees to virus hot spots?

2. How can we best support employees with the highest risk profiles?

3. Which roles are business-critical?

4. Who can be productive from home?

In organizations with real, strategic HR business partnerships, business leaders trust and rely on the data-driven HRBP to understand the impact of the crisis, specific to their employees. 

Data-driven HRBPs must use both quantitative and qualitative information, and strong storytelling capabilities, to analyze and present the historical, current, and future effects of the crisis. The HRBPs goal is to ensure an adequate workforce to maintain daily business operations today and a sustainable business model in the future.  

When things are in flux and changing daily, it can be tempting to relegate HRBPs back to being more of a tactical, administrative HR generalist role. However, when organizations use their  data-driven HRBPs, especially in a crisis, they can achieve positive crisis management response outcomes.

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