While the current crisis has put many businesses in a state of lockdown, business leaders need to think beyond mere survival to consider the opportunities that the pandemic might actually create. For the visionaries, this will include a chance to hire talented people at a time when they might have trouble finding or keeping jobs elsewhere. When you consider that 80% of CEO’s worry about skill shortages--a statistic that is up 50% since 2012--innovators need a “progressive focus”, or longer-term thinking, to make the most of the changing and expanding pool of talent by preparing the ground for post-crisis recovery and growth. These times are challenging, but hardly unique.
“Throughout history, times of economic hardship have created a window of opportunity in which exceptional employees and leaders are widely available for a limited time.”
Following the end of the second world war, business at Hewlett-Packard was slow and finances were strained. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard saw the vast amount of newly unemployed engineers, barred at the gates of U.S military labs, and chose to hire them. When asked how they could afford to keep taking on new people, their answer was simple: “How can we afford not to?” They owe a great part of their success to their willingness to invest in talent, regardless of the economic climate.
So how does one capitalize during this time of crisis? Here are 5 strategies you can implement to help your business effectively recruit, hire and onboard new employees.
This sounds simple, but many candidates assume that companies have slowed, if not frozen, their hiring practices. You must make it well known that your company is actively seeking new employees. Companies need to remain accessible to those candidates considering their options. The available candidate pool will gravitate towards firms that are active in outreach.
Logistically, this means you need to ensure your current job postings are on your company’s website, as well as social media platforms. Make sure these postings are refreshed regularly, and encourage your company staff to share job postings on their social media accounts as well.
For more on How To Create A B2B Social Media Strategy (Without Being Boring), read here.
“Optimizing an existing talent pool gives companies something they can tap into as they are executing their crisis exit strategy.” Claire Kim, CEO, Clairly Creative
Engage with your current top leaders and ask them to suggest a few superstars who they would have liked to have recruited in the past, and reach out to them. Employee referrals turn candidates into hires about 55% faster and those hires have a higher retention rate. These candidates, that have newly hit the market, may find themselves in a place where their circumstances have changed, and they are willing to consider a new and exciting opportunity.
3. Prioritize remote working skills.
“The companies that will be best equipped for hiring are the companies that master the art of remote work. Organizations can be proactive by developing training methods to translate their in-person skills to the online world.” Adrienne Cooper, Fit Small Business
With 75% of the workforce doing some version of remote work, it is likely that many roles may remain remote permanently. Companies need to adapt to maintain and acquire great talent. Perhaps a shift in focus of qualities for a new hire is in order? A greater importance on soft skills: effective communication, organization, conscientiousness and self-direction. Also, flexibility and adaptability, as well as the potential to keep growing, are of great necessity.
Be willing to meet the needs of potential new hires well beyond the paycheque. While money is important, what has come to light as of late is that employees value a high level of autonomy, mastery and purpose as well as flexible work arrangements. Companies also need to offer more in the way of benefits related to people’s well-being. This could mean better sick leave or more comprehensive health coverage. While job security is at the top of mind for the current job seeker, 81% of job seekers say that company culture also highly influences whether they decide to take a job.
Read here for more on How To Nurture Your Company Culture During Covid-19.
Are you remotely prepared? Only 16% of HR professionals report feeling prepared to go fully virtual with hiring practices, but 84% of recruiters are in the process of adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges. The message here? Regardless of how comfortable or ready businesses are to engage in remoting hiring, they see the need and are implementing the measures necessary to have success in this area.
Industries need to immediately shift to a heavy reliance on digital for all aspects from recruitment, interview, and onboarding.
Digital interviewing platforms have shown to increase the recruitment cycle by up to 70%, ultimately positioning businesses to win the competition for talent. Recruiters are also using AI-driven tools and text messaging to connect with candidates. In fact, the number of companies who have invested or plan to invest in AI has jumped by 500% in the last year and 80% of users are happy with the technology. Moreover, 90% of organizations who have started to use text-based recruiting methods have chosen to remain with them, and 66% of workers actually prefer texting, to an email or phone call.
Ultimately, Covid-19 has revealed several areas in which businesses need to focus to ensure success at this critical time and beyond: communicate their hiring requirements across several platforms; meet employees’ changing needs; and adopt technology that support a remote workforce environment. Fearless leaders with foresight will embrace this time with vigor. When a more “normal” time returns, they will be prepared to hit the ground running, alongside their team of superstars.