(Week-ending 05/09/2020 - week 10)
Weekly Employee Questions into HR Increase to Highest Amount on Record
Weeks 9/ 10, with over 29,000 employee coronavirus-related cases (questions, inquiries or requests) into HR, show increased COVID-19-related workloads on HR are here to stay. In fact, employee cases into HR are now higher than they have ever been since the start of the period analysed on 3/1/2020. The previous high had been in week 3 (w.e. 3/21/2020) with over 28,000 cases.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising given the increased anxiety felt by many employees due to the rising job insecurity and continued rise in coronavirus cases in the US and Europe.
From our analysis of last week’s case data, we’ve identified 5 insights that will help you understand the impact of the coronavirus on HR functions within companies operating both at a national and global level. One thing our analysis has consistently shown is how HR teams are consistently meeting the needs of their businesses during the crisis by enabling employers to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce, and minimize the disruption to business continuity. Aided by Advanced HR tools such as HR Case Management, Employee Portal (sometimes referred to as an HR Portal), HR Knowledge Management, and Reporting & Analytics, HR managers and teams have been able to respond more effectively to the emergency caused by the pandemic.
(Note: Employee cases refer to Employee questions, inquiries and requests that are logged as “cases” in the Dovetail HR Case Management solution).
Insight 1 Weekly Employee Questions into HR Increase to Highest Amount on Record
Employee questions into HR decreased by 2.6% on the previous week from 29,946 (Wk 9) to 29,162 (Wk 10). However, these are record weekly totals for employee questions, as the previous highest recorded data for employee cases was set in Wk 3, with a peak of 28,616 cases.
As predicted last week, the high levels of questions into HR look set to continue, meaning HR will have to get used to ever-increasing workloads, with the associated impact for HR managers such as improving efficiency of HR operations and enabling flexible work procedures (e.g. working additional hours and weekends to meet SLA).
Fortunately, SaaS-enabled HR Cloud technology, like Dovetail’s HR Case Management application, with its myriad of remote working benefits and Automated Workflows, are helping HR meet these additional workload requirements.
The chart below illustrates the enormous amount of work HR teams are having to shoulder (in addition to its BAU work) since the 1st March, due to the coronavirus pandemic. By 9th May, HR have received 219,913 employee coronavirus-related cases.
Insight 2 Huge Increase in Employee Questions into HR For US-based Customers Operating in Areas Where There Is The Highest Levels of Coronavirus Cases
Since weekend 9 there has been a clear increase in employee cases being created at the weekends, as indicated in yellow in the Chart below.
The huge jump in employee questions last Saturday 8th May was due to several US based customers in counties with high levels of coronavirus cases, experiencing a higher number of questions from their employees. HR's response has been to support their employees by working additional hours at the weekend.
This is placing an enormous amount of pressure on HR teams as they try to manage with the resources they have in order to meet SLAs, while, at the same time, taking care of their own staff.
Insight 3 Employee Question Close-rate Increases Slightly from 85% to 87%
While the rate at which HR are closing cases slightly improves, increasing from 85% to 87%, it still remains subdued with respect to previous weeks when the close rate was averaging 96%. From conversations with customers, it appears the complexity of employee questions is responsible for this. The knock-on effect of lower close-rates is that employee cases will continue to build up for HR departments, adding to the pressure on HR.
Insight 4 Phone Usage Increases by 35% Due to the Complexity of Employee Coronavirus-related Questions
With HR receiving 57% of all employee cases via the Phone, this channel remains the employees’ communications channel of choice in week 10. Based on current trends this is not surprising, particularly as many employees prefer the speed and convenience of being able to pick up the phone and get an answer to their coronavirus-related question straight away. However, increased Phone usage does increase the pressure on HR, as employees’ expectation is to have a quick/ immediate response. This is in contrast to Email (used in the creation of 40% of all employee cases) which does not require an immediate response from HR, or the employee, giving both HR Adviser and employee more flexibility in how they manage the case.
We are seeing those customers who have implemented an Employee Portal (also known as an HR Portal) receive less cases, as employees find answers to their own questions on the portal.
Note: Less cases are created via the Employee Portal as the majority of employees find answers to their questions on this platform. On average, this results in the deflection of over 50% of cases, reducing the pressure on HR substantially.
Insight 5 Dovetail’s Customer Case Type Word Cloud Reflects the New World of Work
Each week we update Dovetail’s Coronavirus-related Cast Type Word Cloud to show a visual image of what HR departments in the US and across the rest of the world are experiencing.
As you might expect, Coronavirus and COVID case types, as well as HR Policy, Disaster and Health are at the heart of the image, and remain a stark reminder of what HR functions throughout the world are facing.
In the last two weeks, the additional workload brought about by the pandemic has reached new heights, with over 29,000 cases in weeks 9 and 10, which means HR continue to manage huge amounts of new COVID-19-related work.
Last week we said HR teams were rolling up their sleeves and pulling out all the stops, to ensure businesses keep operating. This week we’ll add that HR are continuing to broaden their shoulders, as they show willingness to accept multiple demands and responsibilities, while working extra hours at weekends. By using advanced technology such as Dovetail’s HR Case Management, HR Knowledge Management, Employee Portal and Advanced Reporting & Analytics, HR teams do, however, have a tool that can help them manage in a crisis.
It’s clear HR managers and their teams are doing a fantastic job, but how long can they continue to take the strain, without experiencing the negative effects common to overwork, such as mental (stress, anxiety and depression) and physical health issues? We will continue to support our customers as best we can to ensure they have everything they need in this difficult time.
To stay updated on how COVID-19 is impacting HR teams, Click here to view Dovetail’s Daily Updates for HR on the coronavirus.