People Analytics in the Age of COVID-19

By | July 20, 2020

Insurance organizations have recently been navigating a number of talent shifts in a short amount of time. Organizations that did not previously have remote work strategies in place have had to quickly implement programs and launch new technologies to ensure business continuity in a virtual environment. For some companies, employees are continuing to work remotely, while others are seeing their workforces return to the office at a measured pace. Recruiting is being done in a primarily virtual environment and company culture is being redefined. As insurance organizations work to understand the short- and long-term impact of the evolving state of business on their teams, data and analytics can provide the insights necessary for navigating next steps and making informed talent decisions.

People analytics is at the crux of modern workforce management. Human resources departments operate as a strategic function, collecting workforce data and analyzing it in order to improve the performance of their business and influence their decisions and paths forward. Through data and analytics, HR teams can predict future workforce needs, identify flight risks, track career development progress, understand productivity trends and determine employee engagement levels, among many other metrics.

It’s likely your organization has already embedded data and analytics within various areas of your human resources function. Its use has been growing. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report found the number of talent professionals who list data analysis skills on their LinkedIn profiles increased 242% in the past five years. As you adjust your strategy in response to the pandemic and identify how you could best benefit from people analytics, here are a few areas to consider.

Logistics for Returning to Work

The need for data and analytics will likely become even more valuable as employees return to the office. Supporting the health and wellbeing of your employees is vital, and new protocols and processes will need to be implemented and evaluated. Certain tools can help you monitor the readiness of your employees to return to work, while helping you understand the manpower needed for new training and process implementation (such as reporting temperatures, sanitizing equipment, wearing masks, etc.).

Overall Productivity

Your organization was likely measuring employee productivity prior to the pandemic. Now is the time to ensure you’re able to accurately measure productivity for a variety of work environments and produce actionable insights. Has there been a decrease in project completion rates or has productivity remained constant? If productivity is dropping, why? Gathering data around productivity and how individuals work best can help you understand any gaps that need to be filled or processes that should be overhauled.

Employee Engagement

Many teams are interacting solely from behind screens, impromptu conversations have been limited and in-person team-building activities such as company outings, office lunches and happy hours have been put on hold indefinitely. Has this impacted your employee engagement levels? Given the fast pace of change, consider using pulse survey tools that provide real-time feedback and enable leaders to adjust and prioritize areas of opportunity. Ensure you have a way to capture ongoing employee feedback and identify trends.

Virtual Recruiting and Onboarding

Understanding the impact of virtual environments on recruiting and onboarding is vital in building a strong recruiting strategy moving forward. By gathering and analyzing data, you can begin to pinpoint trends and understand weaknesses and areas for improvement. Also, by collecting data around the onboarding experience, you’re able to evolve your processes to best set new employees up for success.

Diversity and Inclusion

For some companies, D&I initiatives were set on the backburner in light of COVID-19. However, an inclusive and equitable workforce must remain a priority. A variety of voices and insights is necessary for innovating and problem-solving in the post-pandemic climate. Ensure your D&I strategy translates to the current environment.

Employee Wellness

Employees’ mental health impacts communication, concentration, productivity and much more. According to a McKinsey report, behavioral health is a top workforce concern with nine out of 10 employers stating COVID-19 is affecting employees’ behavioral health. Leverage analytics to identify mental health needs early and understand how to best support employees during an anxiety-inducing time.

Staffing Levels

With appropriate data and analytics initiatives in place, insurance organizations can better accommodate workloads and understand when staffing levels may need to be adjusted. By taking a look at your current roles and determining the positions you’ll need in the next several months, you’ll be able to identify any roles that need to be repositioned, created or eliminated. This is also an opportunity to determine when and where interim talent may be required.

As you respond to the changes brought about by COVID-19, consider how your data gathering process may need to change and any areas that could benefit from additional insight and analysis.

About JoJo Harris

Harris is senior vice president of human resources of The Jacobson Group, a provider of talent to the insurance industry. Phone: 800-466-1578. Email: jharris@ jacobsononline.com. More from JoJo Harris

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Insurance Journal West July 20, 2020
July 20, 2020
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