When COVID-19 hit hard, it changed the way businesses operated. It forced all of us to be more flexible when it came to where people worked, how they worked, and how we continued to provide the high-quality products and services our customers needed.
Companies shifted rapidly to remote work in ways we might not have imagined a year ago. This innovative and agile approach to business changed the landscape dramatically.
When you’re thinking about your recruitment strategy for a post-COVID world, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re going to approach it. Employees have changed the way they think about things and you’ll need to do the same to recruit top talent.
COVID-19 Impact on Employee Expectations
A recent poll by Gartner revealed that nearly half (48%) of employees expect to work remotely after COVID-19 at least part of the time. That’s an increase of 50% from polls taken before coronavirus. If you haven’t allowed employees to work remotely before COVID-19, you may need to think about whether you’ll allow when the pandemic passes. Employees are now expecting remote or at-home work to be part of their job.
Many employers stepped up during this time and provided resources and help for employees that struggled financially, with mental well-being, or had family situations that demanded more attention than normal. This agile approach to work locations, paid time off, and flexible work hours will be one measuring stick against which potential employees will assess working conditions.
The best companies showed their appreciation for employees working under stressful conditions. They provided constant communication and provided ways to maintain connection and engagement with managers and colleagues. Employees are going to expect such transparency and outreach in the future.
COVID-19 Impact on Recruitment
Many companies put recruitment on hold or only filled essential positions during COVID-19. Others were forced to downsize or eliminate positions. This may create an opportunity to attract top-tier talent that may not have been available in the past. Another opportunity has been created for people working at companies that failed to accommodate employees or treated them poorly during this crisis. Those workers may be looking for a better environment.
If you can quickly identify these high-caliber candidates that are motivated to make a change, you may be able to land them.
A lot of people have reevaluated their personal situation during the coronavirus pandemic and changed priorities. The companies that can adapt to the changing expectations stand to benefit.
Building Your Post-COVID Recruiting Strategy
As conditions ease, it’s time to think strategically about a post-COVID approach.
In reevaluating your approach to recruiting, it’s best to start by examining your own organization. Did these changes surface underperforming employees, or demonstrate how some employees rose to the occasion? You will also want to evaluate the current talent pool to make sure you have the right mix of people and skills you’ll need in the future.
This will help find the gaps in expertise that may exist now. At the same time, it may help you find the rising stars in your organization that you can promote or groom for the future. Since they already know your culture and have proven their value, going internally for a position can jump-start the process.
Finding the gaps can help you align your recruitment strategy with an evolving business strategy.
One of the lessons we learned during COVID-19 is an increased emphasis on technical competence. When working at home, employees had to handle much of the tech support on their own. In the future, you may need to screen for remote working skills, including technical skills, time management, and self-motivation. Organizations will need to put a higher premium on soft skills, such as communication, collaboration, teamwork, and emotional intelligence.
In reevaluating your recruitment process, focus some attention on how you evaluate candidates. Many companies take weeks and months to interview, probe, and assess. The best candidates won’t wait around – especially if they are motivated to move. Put in place a better initial screening and vetting process. Consider using recruiting automation tools to weed out candidates and surface those worth pursuing. Work with staffing agencies that do this for a living and know how to find top-quality candidates more quickly without cutting corners.
Decide How Your Company Will Operate Post-COVID
Even in a tight labor market, top talent has options. If you want to attract the best candidates, know that their expectations and priorities may have changed. You need to know the answer upfront when they ask about working remotely, dealing with family concerns, or flexible hours. In some cases, it may be more effective to lead with these benefits rather than salary.
The key to successful recruiting has always been to track quality candidates before you’re ready to hire or they’re ready to move. The most successful managers, HR teams, and recruiters are always recruiting and building a case for why potential employees would want to come work with you.