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The last few weeks have been saturated with Coronavirus news. We see on-the ground reports from other countries, global analyses on COVID-19 case data, and opinion articles predicting a variety of outcomes. In HR, we listen for different types of news. We listen for the voice of our employees to understand what type of information and support they need. Sometimes we  do this through one on one conversations, sometimes we do it through surveys, but other times we do it in ways that are a bit more behind the scenes; we do it with data.

In normal times, we use things like knowledge article usage, search results, and workflow data to see what our employees are thinking about and doing. We use this information to find opportunities to remove friction and improve the experience for employees. Below are some examples of common data we can collect and analyze from different HR technology solutions, along with how the insights can be applied to improve efficiency and experience.

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This data can provide insight during times of crisis as well. We partnered with the Chief Operating Officer from Dovetail Software, Kane Frisby, to peek under the covers of the Dovetail solution and see what we can learn about how employees are reaching out for more support during the COVID-19 Crisis and how organizations are responding in realtime to better meet employee needs.

Dovetail’s Case Management application, used by organizations to receive, triage, and respond to employee inquiries, has seen a dramatic increase in the sheer volume of cases logged in the month of March, especially as employers began to transition office employees to working from home. Frisby says he has “never seen such a fast increase in employee questions, requests and inquiries in terms of volume and rate of growth among their customers’ case data.”

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The chart above highlights the significant increase in daily cases the Dovetail team is seeing due to the high volume of COVID-19 related cases since the second week and third weeks in March.

The crisis has resulted in the introduction of many new case types. Frisby noticed that in the first few days many customers started with just one case type, like Coronavirus or COVID-19. Then, just days later, they began to split those case types out into several subtypes. In more recent days, they started to see customers add case types with “Pay,” “Urgent Pay,” and “Shelter in Place” into C19 case types. Below are some of the most common case types, represented by the volume of cases in March and April:

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Multiple data points can highlight the need to identify new case types or subtypes to better meet employee needs. A sudden spike in “General” inquiries can be a good sign that there is a new need that has just sprung up. If a significant number of inquiries in one category are escalated to the same Tier 2 queue (but not the majority), it is worth investigating if a more narrow case type could enable routing directly to that team.

In one organization with whom Leapgen has partnered, the HR Service Delivery team was shocked by case data during the week of a Workday software launch. They saw a huge spike in employees calling and logging tickets about Workday. As soon as they realized just how many employees were calling, the Service Delivery team reached out to HR systems to tell them there was an issue with Workday. The HR systems team did an analysis of the tickets logged and found that it wasn’t the technology that was the issue, it was that employees didn’t have adequate knowledge to support the new processes required. Rather than attempting to fix a system that wasn’t broken, they spent time making sure employees had the right context and training BEFORE they began to work in Workday. More detailed case types would have pointed out the adoption problem right away, rather than pointing to Workday itself.

Employee listening through data is a critical tool for HR and Experience teams today. In a world where consumer applications have mastered this, there is an expectation that if there is an issue, it will be identified and resolved quickly. As HR professionals, we can capture the real time needs of our workforce to respond more accurately and proactively. Normally, this is important. In times of crisis, it becomes critical.

For more information on how Dovetail is supporting customers through the COVID-19 crisis, check out their Employee Emergency Response capabilities or this recent blog post from Dovetail with even more insights on tracked cases.



Alex Zea is a people strategist, technology lover, and data advocate. She has focused her career on helping organizations reimagine HR through data and tech, first as an internal practitioner and now as a strategy consultant at Leapgen. In her career, Alex has led implementations of Workday, Visier’s workforce analytics solution, and Collibra, a data governance technology. Her common career focus is on data and analytics, first building a strategy and analytics team at Time Inc. and later responsible for strategy and administration for HR Business Intelligence solutions at Morgan Stanley.

At Leapgen, she leads the re-imagination of workforce experiences at several multinational enterprises including Target, Avery Dennison, Humana, Land O’ Lakes, and Northwestern Medicine. Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree  in Organizational Leadership from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Behavior from New York University. She lives in Chicago, IL, with her husband and two cats.

Leapgen is a global digital transformation company shaping the future of work. Highly respected as a visionary partner to organizations looking to design and deliver a digital workforce experience that will produce valued outcomes to the business, Leapgen helps enterprise leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business.

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