A survey conducted by Gartner Inc. of more than 750 HR leaders found that 68% said building critical skills and competencies for their organizations was their top priority.  Other top priorities included organizational design and change management, cited by 46%; current and future leadership bench, 44%; the future of work, 32%; and employee experience, 28%.  Gartner concluded that, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, HR leaders are moving away from crisis management toward focusing on having the right skills and competencies, building resilience, and having a strong cadre of leaders.

Similar research conducted by Sapient shows that organizations that were prepared before the pandemic with data on critical job roles and skills, that had mechanisms in place to shift goals and employee focus quickly, and that understood the impact of compensation changes versus furloughs fared better than others. The 36 percent of organizations that said they practiced enterprise workforce planning in 2020 reflected a 20% higher level of business performance.  They cited strategies that included increasing the salary of those in essential roles and invested in technology infrastructure for remote workers, minimizing the need for salary reductions and layoffs.