Data Driven Change: How HR Managers Should Act Post Covid

By Robert Tunstall

Business leaders across the globe are using data to make informed decisions about their workforce. Especially in times of financial, social and health crisis, data illuminates the situation. Gapsquare’s COVID-19 Dashboard provides insights to how businesses have reacted the pandemic, the risks they face going forward, and the need to build resilience in the post-Covid world.
But what use is information if it doesn’t inform action? We’ve done the hard work for you, and recommended key next steps based on data from the dashboard. From redundancy handling to returning to the office, see our recommendations based on how businesses in the UK are reacting to the pandemic.
1. Evaluating Redundancy Handling 

We’ve seen an overwhelming increase in redundancy in the UK since the start of the pandemic. If you’re looking at redundancies, it’s essential to think about how you can make these difficult decisions in the fairest way possible.

Gapsquare recommends:

Summary key actionExplore other options such as reskilling for new focus areas or reducing costs through remote working models, and where unavoidable show compassion with a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

  • Identify the groups which are most at risk of redundancy and think about why they’re at risk. Explore other avenues such as reskilling for new focus areas or reducing costs through remote working models
  • Use a compassionate approach to redundancy. Consider offering outplacement advice, counselling and other services via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • According to research by Korn Ferry in May 2020, 27% of organisations plan to reskill staff for new focus areas post-COVID. In future, train your employees with a skills-focused rather than role-focused approach, allowing for a more versatile workforce.
2. Supporting Remote Staff
Remote working is set to become more normal post-COVID, with 74% of CFOs intending to shift at least 5% of their workforce to this, according to research by Gartner in April 2020. It’s important to look after your employees, and ensure that #WFH doesn’t expose any inequalities.
Summary key actionConduct surveys to gauge employees’ experiences – like the one Gapsquare developed! – and use these to promote an inclusive culture. Review managing practises, focusing on outcomes rather than “desk”-time and recognise the increased blur between work/home life.
  • Conduct surveys into employee’s experiences, like this one developed by Gapsquare, with remote working, acting on feedback to improve wellbeing, team-working culture and inclusivity.
  • Train managers to focus on outcomes rather than “desk”-time, recognising the increased blur between work/home life.
  • Open up recruitment to new locations and backgrounds, making sure to offer strong remote working support to attract the best talent.
3. Returning to the Workplace
As the country continues to unlock, and more and more employees return to the workplace, consider making the transition as safe, smooth and equal as possible.
Summary key action: Engage with employees and listen to their concerns, including them in the regular review and testing of crisis response plans and safety measures. Consider introducing a wellbeing officer to take point addressing crisis (or otherwise) related needs of the workforce.
  • Engage in two-way communication and consult employees about returning, as worryingly research by Gartner in April 2020 showed only 7% of organisations planned to do this.
  • Communicate the safety measures implemented to employees, understand the higher-risk to some groups and provide a platform for Q&As regarding safety.
  • Collect data to gauge employee’s feelings about safety in the workplace, acting on this and involving them in the regular review and testing of crisis response plans.
  • Consider introducing a senior wellbeing/mental health officer or similar that takes lead addressing employee’s crisis (or otherwise) related needs.
4. Technological Business Changes

Business has shifted online. Is the workforce equipped to excel during a digital transformation?

Summary key action: Prioritise services that most benefit workforce productivity, with a focus on communication and collaboration, understanding employees thoughts/systemic barriers to fairness and workflow optimisation. Couple this with upskilling employees with transferable, critical skills in the interest of versatility with future technology/roles.


  • Evaluate high-priority technology/services that will most benefit workforce productivity such as: internal communications, ethical employee data collection/analytics to gauge employees thoughts and understand system fairness barriers, and workflow optimisation and automation.
  • Couple this alongside upskilling employees with critical, transferable skills that open up their development to future technology and roles.
  • This is especially true for those with critical experience that lack these skills, as research by McKinsey in February 2020 showed 85% of organisations expect up to half of their current job roles to be disrupted by technology in the next 5 years.
5. Adapting Organisational Operations 

According to McKinsey research in May 2019, nearly 50% of companies who are not prepared for market/technology changes have yet to start reskilling. What we need in our employees and the skills we value are shifting and changing as we enter the post-Covid world, so how can you ensure that your staff have what it takes to adapt to operational change, and are happy doing it?

Summary key actionIdentify current and emerging skill gaps, acting on these now with tailored reskilling programmes. Consult employees and review these to focus on critical skills rather than specific roles, building a workforce that develops and adapts alongside your business.

  • Identify current and emerging skill gaps as your operations change and implement tailored reskilling programmes that tackle these now, rather than later.
  • McKinsey research in February 2020 also found that 73% of organisations report improved employee satisfaction after reskilling efforts, which will lead to improved productivity and improved business performance.
  • Regularly seek feedback from employees and review programmes to ensure workforce planning focus is on critical skills rather than critical roles. This will allow for a more adaptive, resilient workforce as your business develops and adapts.
6. Compensation Management / Review 

Summary key action: During crisis or times of change, implement short-term incentives that improve collaborative performance and personal development. Align reward investments with those that employees value, support future goals and lead to a resilient workforce. Take a holistic approach with recognition, understanding systemic inequalities/barriers to performance.

  • Rewards need to be reviewed as you emerge from the crisis, as research by Korn Ferry in May 2020 found that nearly 20% of firms plan to use this time as an opportunity recruit talent from less stable firms
  • During crisis or heightened business change, create shorter-term, team-based incentives that improve collaborative performance.
  • Recognise rewards that employees value and support future goals for the company (i.e. reskilling for a resilient workforce) and align reward investments with these.
  • Take a holistic approach to rewards in the interest of fairness and inclusivity, recognising systemic inequalities and barriers to performance.
  • Design incentives that reward employees who develop their critical skills in the interest of developing resilience and versatility.
Want to see more data driven actions?

Would you like support in realising these actions? Get in touch at