COVID-19 Continues to Be a Roller-coaster Ride
Welcome to the new COVID-19 monthly report, where you'll find key insights that we have discovered from analyzing COVID-19 employee data since the beginning of March this year.
If the last few months have felt like a roller-coaster ride, then our key Insight 1 will be no surprise. The shape of the curve is a clear 'Big Dipper' of a ride, with monthly employee questions, inquiries and requests showing a steep incline and peaking in May, before dropping sharply in June, with a continued steady decline last month.
To find out more detailed analysis click Insights 1 through 5 below to reveal the COVID-19 story for HR Services teams everywhere.
(Note: Employee cases refer to employee questions, inquiries and requests that are logged as “cases” in the Dovetail HR Case Management solution).
Insight 1 - 14% Decrease in Number of Employee Coronavirus-related Questions into HR in July Compared with June
There were 52,885 employee cases into HR in the month of July (Wk 18 - Wk 22), down 8,344 cases (14%) on the previous month, making it the lowest number of cases during the period (there were 79,107 in March, 107,080 in April, 124,922 in May and 61,229 in June).
The shape of the curve resembles that of a roller-coaster, a big dipper even, and I think we can all agree that the last few months have been an unpredictable, and at times, scary ride.
What is clear is that while the total number of coronavirus-related questions into HR has continued to decrease, it looks likely that HR will have to continue to allocate large amounts of HR resource and time to answering employees' COVID-19 questions.
In response HR Services teams are rethinking their HR strategy and processes to improve company-wide efficiency and productivity. One way they are achieving these aims is by implementing HR Services technology, such as HR Case Management, Employee Portal and HR Knowledge Management.
As an indication of the total amount of work HR teams have completed since March, we can look at the total accumulated number of coronavirus-related cases into HR (chart below).
The total for the 5 month period 1st March - 31st July 2020 was 425,223 cases. Total employee cases in July accounts for 12.4% of this total.
Insight 2 - Coronavirus-related Employee Questions into HR at the Weekend Continue for Fifth Consecutive Month
Throughout July the volume of employee cases into HR (while albeit lower than in June), were consistent with levels experienced in June.
It appears that after the peak volume of cases in May, there is still a continuing trend of coronavirus-related questions from employees coming into HR teams at the weekend (although not the same quantity or rate seen during March - May).
This seems to reveal the new world we are living in; one where extreme high volumes of cases are less likely to occur because employees have gained a better understanding of COVID-19 and how it affects them in the workplace, but at the same time, it is a world in which employees continue to search for answers, throughout the entire 7 day week.
If this is the case, then companies need to make large gains in operational efficiency in order to absorb the extra demands being placed on them by their employees. Digital transformation projects, that digitize manual processes, thereby saving time on repetitive tasks and boosting productivity, should now be a priority for organizations wishing to respond to this new environment.
To find out more about how you can digitize your HR Services processes click here.
Insight 3 - Rate of Closing Employee Coronavirus-related Questions Averages 86% in July, Down 12% on Previous Month
The July Coronavirus-related Employee Question Close Rate at 86% is significantly lower than the close rates of the previous months, which average in the high 90s. However, what the previous months show us is that practically all open cases are eventually being closed. We therefore expect the majority of the 14% of cases still open at the end of July to be closed before the end of August.
Clearly HR teams are finding the answers to employees' complex coronavirus-related questions. They are aided in achieving this by using HR services tools like Employee Portal with searchable Knowledge Base, Live Chat and HR Case Management.
Insight 4 - Email and Phone Channels Remain the Most Popular Way for Employees to Contact HR
We can see from the chart above that the predominant communications channels in July were Email and Phone. In fact Email has been the preferred channel for every month apart from the peak period of employee coronavirus-related questions in May. The Phone is ideal for when employees feel they have complex questions that will require multiple answers. As employees became more knowledgeable about the virus in June and July, employees began to switch back to Email.
We would expect lower use of the Employee Portal for creating cases, as the main purpose of this communications platform is to enable employees to find answers to their questions unaided.
And having spoken to several of our customers, the demand for Live Chat services is on the rise. We predict its adoption to escalate from now on, as organizations aim to offer their employees every available means of communication for contacting the HR function.
Click here to get an overview of Live Chat and other employee communications tools.
Insight 5 - The 'Words of the Month' Are 'covid' and 'response' in Our Case-Type Word Cloud
The predominant case types in our COVID-19 Case Type Word Cloud in July were 'covid and 'response' (see below).
It's hardly surprising to see the 'covid' case type take center stage. As detailed above, over 52,000 employee questions were asked of Dovetail's customer HR Services functions in July.
And the word 'response' sums up what's on HR's mind - 'how do we respond to this crisis?'
Dovetail's 'response' has been to develop the Dovetail Emergency Response Management software tools, incorporating a health screening and contact tracing product that we've named Dovetail Check Track Trace.
Dovetail Check Track Trace helps enterprises protect their employees as they return to work.
Note: Case Types categorize employee coronavirus questions and are used in advanced HR Reporting & Analytics to help HR understand employees' needs and behaviors better, while providing additional insight into what is happening in their organization.
The last few months have been like a Big Dipper roller coaster ride for HR teams, as they experienced a sharp incline in employee questions, inquiries and requests up until the end of May, before a sudden 'diving' drop in June, and a steady decline in July. There must have been times for HR when it all just felt out of control.
However, our analysis shows that HR teams have made it through unscathed, and some (we know as we spoke to several customers recently) even have smiles on their faces.
One reason for those smiles is that our customers have been able to rely on the latest in HR Services technology to boost efficiency and ramp up productivity levels, even while shifting (practically overnight) to remote working.
If you would like to find out more about how HR can exploit the potential of technology to respond to emergencies and severe adverse externalities, please do get in touch.
To stay updated on how COVID-19 is impacting HR teams, click here to view Dovetail’s Daily Updates for HR on the coronavirus.