The Coronavirus crisis has taken over our lives, altering the way we work, see our friends and how we live our lives. Short of stopping the world spinning, the Coronavirus pandemic has radically altered the world we live in. While it is important to keep perspective and recognise that key workers are literally risking their lives to help those infected by the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s also a good time for businesses to assess how they can operate a successful recruitment process in this new world we live in.
It’s important to use these circumstances to reflect on the global impact that this pandemic is having on the workforce and perceptions of working life. The lasting legacy of COVID-19 will mean having to adapt current processes to reflect the expected shift in people’s values.
So in today’s blog, we’re going to be taking a thorough look at how a business can operate a successful recruitment process, embrace technology and help onboard new starters during this uncertain time. But first, we thought we’d provide some context and look at impact that the Coronavirus outbreak itself is having on businesses around the world and what this might mean for the future of recruitment.
It is undeniable that COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on recruitment for businesses across the globe. The fear factor has taken its toll in a time of economic uncertainty which has been reflected through a much quieter period for the industry. We’re seeing fewer candidates moving jobs, many staff being furloughed and extremely high quality candidates now available but not being taken on due to hesitance to hire.
In response to COVID-19, to counter an economic crisis, we have seen the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan as part of the UK Government’s Coronavirus response. However redundancies and recruitment freezes have still been taking place. The question is, is erring on the side of caution the best move for companies right now? Or should businesses recognise this small window of opportunity to seek out and potentially hire the best talent in their industry whilst they have the chance?
Aside from the economic impact, further implications on the future of recruitment and the workforce include a shift in candidate values when considering their next career move. We’re currently experiencing a taste of a slower pace of life, a heightened sense of work life balance and a period of reflection on the things that matter the most to us. Brand and perception have never been more important, as we expect the shift away from salary as highest priority when job hunting, and towards factors such as work life balance, flexibility and company values to become even more prominent.
With that context established, we thought as a recruitment business that we’d offer a few tips about attracting talent as well as the things we’ve been communicating with our clients about how they can find the person they’re looking for during this uncertain time.
As mentioned we’re currently witnessing a shift in perspective for many and it’s key to consider what is of importance to potential future candidates. Have you looked after your staff when it matters the most?
Now more than ever, your brand matters. If this current situation has given people anything, it’s time! Time to look at the job market, look at what is out there and find out more about companies and brands before they’ve even thought about applying for a job there. This means that your recruitment process has to take into account the fact that many people will know a lot about your company when they walk into that meeting room, be it virtual or otherwise. Make sure you’re pitching your brand as one that has values, an ethos and offers benefits that aren’t just a high salary (although that is still important, as we’ll explain later). This Coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing lockdown may have given that dream hire some time to reflect about what they want out of their job and in the coming weeks, you should ensure your brand is showing off a fantastic cultural ethos that can attract the right people.
If you’re thinking of starting a recruitment drive during this COVID-19 outbreak, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal hire. Think about the questions they might ask themselves or have been asking themselves during these uncertain times. Why should this dream candidate go through an application process and video interviews to join your company? The minute you look at it from the outside, you’ll be able to get a much clearer picture of how your business looks before undergoing your recruiting process.
During your recruitment drive, no matter how big or small it is, make sure that you’ve written a job description that is going to grab the attention of the right people. Talent acquisition isn’t just about asking what the applicant can bring to the table, it’s about showcasing what your company can offer, too. Avoid a short-term solution and find the right person that has exceptional candidate experience, and that will be with you for years to come.
We’ve all discovered new things during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for Futures, one of those things has been discovering the sheer amount of modern technology that’s out there for businesses to use during their recruitment drive. These bits of tech are not only useful now in helping us all practise safer recruitment while you conduct online interviews, but they could also fundamentally change how you operate your entire businesses thanks to their ability to create realistic virtual environments that feel like an office.
Don’t be put off by the growing number of video conferencing tools out there. They are fantastic if you need to undertake recruitment work in isolation. They’re a legitimate alternative to in-person interviews and in some cases can create effective virtual interview rooms. From Google Hangouts, Ring Central, Microsoft Teams and integrated Zoom video conferencing to more informal ones like Facetime, there is a service out there for you no matter what your circumstances are.
It’s not just video conferencing tools that are important to adopt and accept during this period. The way you communicate with your applicants throughout the hiring process will be defined by the technology you use. It’s important to remember to not restrict yourself to one piece of software — be flexible and understand how to use Slack and Whatsapp, as well as good old fashioned email and phone calls. All of this will lead to a successful recruitment drive.
Using online communication tools for video interviews can be just as daunting for you as they are for the candidate. It’s uncharted territory and soon enough, online recruiting will involve an online interview at some point further down the line. This can be a bit nerve-wracking for some, so we’ve detailed a few pointers that should make your first online interview with a prospective candidate a breeze!
We mentioned it earlier, but this lockdown will have given many people a period of reflection. Maybe they’re in a job right now that might pay well but offers nothing in the way of benefits and this period of remote working has made them think more about what they want from their job. This is where you come in. Now is a great time to assess your benefits packages, workplace practices and other non-salary based elements of your company. So when it comes to hiring after this prolonged period of quarantine, you’ll have a benefits package in place that few can rival.
From days off on your birthday, opportunities to own shares and regular, valuable training opportunities, look at what benefits you’re offering, your competitors are offering and find opportunities to improve your package to offer genuinely good perks. Candidates are looking for more than just free tea and coffee; they want flexibility, agency, the ability to learn and to feel heard. Done right, and your benefits package can offer all these things.
Like we just mentioned, your benefits should materially help people work for you and help improve their lives outside of work — don’t offer gimmicks. Be prepared to tailor your benefits package to each employer, show them that you’re willing to invest in them as a person, not just another employee. You’ll be shocked at how a little bit of that can go a long way to securing the long term future of top talent.
And finally, just a word of caution from us: don’t substitute salary for what you think are great benefits. Both are needed to attract and retain high-quality employees.
You’ve gone through your recruitment scheme, you’ve used all the online communication tools and finally, you’ve made your hire and are ready to take the next steps. Now, the next challenge is onboarding and how you can make that as normal a process as possible.
It goes without saying, but keeping in touch with your new hire is so important. In the weeks and days before they start, check-in with them. See if they have everything they need to get started on their first day. Maybe invite them into a Zoom call or Google Hangout before they join so they can “e-meet” the team. Structure during lockdown is really important, which is why your early onboarding process should include an itinerary for their first month or so that showcases what the new starter can expect to be doing from home. Make sure they have the right contact details too — the HR person, the Chief Executive, their line manager. Immerse them in the company ethos, culture and workplace practices, send them your handbook and let them get under the skin of the business so that on day one they’re raring to go.
Ensure that your new employee is set up for home working for at least 1 month/6 weeks. Do they have a laptop or computer? Will they require a work phone and if so, how are they going to procure that? If a member of the IT department needs to help them secure a good internet connection, how can that be done? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself and the new starter.
We’re leaders in professional interim and permanent recruitment solutions offering innovative resourcing models and project delivery solutions to support the public sector, education, food and drink and manufacturing.
We know the power that good people can have on a business which is why we strive to offer unrivalled support to your organisation when you’re seeking talented individuals to achieve your business goals.
We understand that businesses are operating under difficult circumstances and that this is not something that will just disappear. It could be resistance or delays for a Senior Leadership Team member to be able to return to the education environment for health reasons or other unforeseen circumstances leaving you in need of urgent interim support for your public sector or manufacturing business. We’re here to help and to reassure you that we can support you during these tumultuous times.
We’ve been helping businesses in Yorkshire and across the UK acquire talent for over 25 years. From Greggs to Omega PLC in the manufacturing industry and from Manchester City Council to Kent County Council in the public sector, our specialist teams can help support your requirement in quick timescales.