COVID-19 Dashboard: HR's essential tool for the new normal

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A recent report by Fosway Group highlighted the key questions being asked of HR in the current climate and the concerns of the C-Suite about the impact on talent within their organisations.

The primary focus of the research was how HR leaders could track the effects of the pandemic, and how businesses need to prepare themselves for the temporary loss of potentially high volumes of essential talent.

What was uncovered showed a real struggle to report on relevant information, with a huge 87% of HR professionals finding it difficult to analyse and predict the impact of COVID-19 on their organisation, and 70% of HR believing they do not have the skills required to do so.

Upon reading this research, and following subsequent conversations with customers, the XCD team set out to solve the challenges by configuring the XCD solution and building a dashboard of reports, tackling the specific C-Suite questions and HR challenges organisations are facing.

Here’s how we were able to answer the top seven questions asked by board members.


Who are our most at risk people? (Asked by 72% of C-Suite)

The answer to this stems from your organisational structure and its ability to deliver flexible working options successfully.

Initially, you need to calculate the level of risk for each role, each department and each location. For example, if your marketing department can work from home, their risk is likely to be lower, but if you have customer facing staff who are required to travel or work in store, then the risk will be higher.

Next you should gain a clear understanding of any health issues, pregnancies or living situations that could increase risk, for example if one of your employees is married to a key worker.

Your levels of risk could also change if local lockdowns are introduced in an area where your people work, or if situations or health issues change, so you need to have a tracking system in place to report on this. You can then report based on the number of employees who fall into high, medium or low risk, and try to minimise the impact of this.

What XCD did was configure a custom questionnaire for staff that collects the relevant information which allows HR to ascertain a level of risk for each employee. These questionnaires can be updated and amended on a regular basis, and trigger real-time reports, highlighting to HR and the C-Suite any important changes to either the workforce overall or to a high number of specific skilled workers.

Actions to take:

  • Calculate and review risk levels based on location / department / travel requirements etc.
  • Use prompts for your people to regularly review their questionnaires for any changes, enforcing a required update for situations such as local lockdowns
  • Set different levels based on health issues or living situations
  • Use your questionnaires to track COVID-19 tests and results


What is the scale of infection in our workforce? (Asked by 68% of C-Suite)

Having the ability to identify the scale of infection within a workforce is vital to enable both reactive and proactive planning around upskilling, the requirement for temporary workers or downscaling workloads.

With 40% of organisations using spreadsheets as their main tracking mechanism, the challenge to obtaining accurate, real time data is a struggle for many.

XCD tackled the problem by creating field values for the different types of sickness and syncing this with calendars for simple and easy tracking. This enabled users to pull real-time reports to see current rates of infection, which could be compared to previous data and employee risk levels to ascertain any future trends.

This data can also be broken down into skill sets to identify how many skilled workers are infected at any one time.

Actions to take:

  • Create field values within self-service to log COVID-19 related absence
    • Ask staff to back date to obtain a historical record
  • Build reports based on overall, departmental and skilled infections
  • Compare this to your risk levels and historical data to ascertain future trends


What is the cost of furloughing our people? (Asked by 64% of C-Suite)

The cost of furlough is not only the financial aspect, but also the hours lost within the organisation. Having this information enables senior leaders to get a feel for the true impact of furloughing their people, and plan accordingly with the reduced working hours available to them.

As XCD is a single solution for both HR and Payroll, we were able to easily build a report that shows any contributions and top up payments that the employer has made, along with returns from HMRC. It also calculates the number of days on furlough in each compensation period to provide a calculation of hours or days lost, based on contractual or working hours. This could also be broken down by skills, if required.


What percentage of our people are on Statutory Sick Pay? (Asked by 45% of C-Suite)

Given the unprecedented increase in sick leave, being able to identify how many people are on SSP or COVID-19 related sick leave is vital for any organisation to plan and respond effectively.

With a massive 80% of organisations tracking their people’s COVID-19 status via managers and only 23% via self-service forms or mobile apps, there is a struggle to provide accurate, real-time information for HR and the C-Suite.

By using standard fields and custom sick leave types XCD were able to create a cost of SSP report identifying percentages overall, by departments or roles and by skilled workers. This also highlights hours lost for each of the criteria and can be used to identify a true cost of the pandemic from a people perspective.


At what percentage of sickness will our operations become unsustainable? (Asked by 44% of C-Suite)

A crucial question for any organisation, leaders need to be able to plan appropriately for potential sick leave and predict at what stage operations will become unsustainable, either due to lack of skill levels or severely reduced numbers.

Initially, you need to understand the ‘level’ of which unsustainability begins. This will depend on your organisation, the service you offer and your current staffing and skill levels. You may find that customers are reducing spend, so you may have reduced output during this time.

Once you are clear on this, you can start predicting what is required to prevent operations becoming unsustainable due to sickness.

How XCD tackled the problem was by creating a report to identify where any skillsets or specific departments were down in numbers, or at risk of being, to identify how many people were required to ensure sustainability. This enables the organisation to see where skill levels are approaching an unsustainable level and action can then be taken to upskill, move resource, reduce workloads or any other actions necessary to prepare for any predicted areas.

This could be within department, overall organisation, or location. For example, if you have lots of people in a factory in Berkshire and the county goes into lockdown, you can adjust the risk level for that location and use previous statistics to see how many people you expect to be infected. This will help you ascertain what is required to prevent operations becoming unsustainable.

There are two ways to track this. Firstly, look at how many people are going on sick leave and then look at what the rate of infection is. You can use this to identify skills gaps.

Actions to take:

  • Calculate the minimum required headcount to complete the work required to remain sustainable
  • Assess necessary skill levels required to deliver this work
  • Compare this to your ‘at-risk’ levels for different departments, roles and locations
  • Identify potential skills gaps to enable advance action to be taken around redeployment or upskilling


What are the patterns in self isolating, hospitalisation, recovered, working from home and working on site? (Asked by 44% of C-Suite)

Keeping track of your people’s whereabouts may seem simple during a lockdown period, but when using manual tracking it can be difficult to track any patterns or predict future trends.

XCD tackled this by creating a series of ‘locations’ within the XCD Outlook calendar, which allows employees to create all day events that sync with the solution. For each of our customers, their IT team can set up specific locations such as self-isolating, working from London office, working from Edinburgh office, working from home etc.

This information can then be pulled into a report within XCD to determine trends based on any criteria. It can also be used to track the spread of infection within an organisation.

For example, if an employee was in the London office on Monday and the Edinburgh office on Thursday and then has COVID-19 symptoms, HR and managers can easy see anyone else who was in either of those offices that day, and any other location they subsequently went to.


What is the availability of talent to cover sick workers? (Asked by 37% of C-Suite)

Who can jump on to cover if you see high volumes of sick leave during the pandemic? It seems like an easy question, but many organisations are unprepared for it to happen. For example, if you only have one person who knows how to run payroll, what happens if they are hospitalised?

Analyse the current skill set within your HR solution to highlight any reduced levels and ensure back up for any emergencies.

XCD used its performance and skills module to run a simple report highlighting any skills with low numbers, such as First Aid, to identify areas that needed focus to allow for cover in an emergency.


Being native to the Salesforce platform, XCD was able to respond quickly and effectively to all the challenges raised in the Fosway report and faced by organisations through configuration of our standard product.

In fact, XCD customers can and have built many of these reports themselves during the crisis, creating dashboards and analytics that suit their individual organisational requirements and allow them to plan effectively for anything that the pandemic may throw at them!

Take a look at the now dashboard by booking a demo with one of the team.