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How Talent Acquisition Can Help Businesses Adapt To a Post-Covid World

Any change in your business starts with your people, and your talent. As a talent acquisition professional, you are at the forefront of shaping how the business you work for operates and adapts to this crisis. Leading the way with an agile and adapted recruitment strategy will be crucial to your survival.

Talent teams need to start taking credit, even partially, for every business success. You can be sure that marketing and sales are taking credit for every sale your business makes, so why can’t you? You helped hire the people who made the difference and helped your company perform.

This crisis poses a unique chance for talent teams who are able to take it, build talent pools, build processes that foster inclusiveness, and that treat rejected candidates with dignity. And that makes the most of what makes your business great in these troubled times.

Now’s the time to look at your processes, look at how you’re measuring yourselves, and look at your tools. This is the moment to make a difference, and you can have an effect outside the walls of your department. Let’s think about how.

  • Get organised
  • Moving Remote
  • Building a strong culture to expand from
  • Diversify your recruiting channels
  • Transforming your brand for the new world
  • Establish talent pools
  • Tackle diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals once and for all


Get Organised

It is important that you understand where the company is headed and how it’s doing during this pandemic. In what areas is the business growing? Which sectors don’t need the resources of talent acquisition at the moment? The first step is to look at the big picture for where your time is best spent and prioritize accordingly.

A seat at the top table will be important as decisions are being made quickly, and often without hiring in mind. Having a talent acquisition representative advocate in front of executives could decrease the processing time for recruiting new talent.

One way to do this is to prepare action plans for how your recruitment strategy can be adapted to various scenarios and get them in front of the right executives. Showing them flexibility and strategic thinking can help demonstrate your value internally.

If costs need to be cut, prepare an emergency plan for how you could function with half the resources you have now. Know what tools and channels you can’t do without. Mapping out the impact of a huge budget cut can allow you to fight it and get as much as you can.

Moving Remote

This is probably the millionth time you’ve thought about moving remotely, but it bears repeating as this is a new world for so many of us.

The biggest change coming out of this pandemic is most people working from home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, more than 30% of workers that worked onsite before the pandemic have now gone online. Remote work will fundamentally change the recruiting and onboarding process for many companies, so it is important to evaluate where adjustments need to be made.

Give hiring managers a guide to online interviewing as the process will be new to some. By providing support, managers will feel more confident in making the right decisions for the hiring process.

When hiring many new people all at once, consider staggering the start dates. This would make things easier if technical issues come up during the onboarding process. With that in mind, having IT support on-call at the beginning for new hires could be very helpful and make the transition smoother. An estimated 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they have a good onboarding experience. Therefore, making a strong impression is essential for retaining talented people moving forward.

Build a strong culture to expand on

As employees are no longer physically working side by side, maintaining a strong company culture will certainly be more difficult. That being said, it is possible to stay connected with one another and foster a sense of comradery with the people you work with.

Work with your HR and People teams, connect with company managers and create plans for their teams moving forward. Regular team chats and huddles online will help people feel better connected and maintain a level of collaboration.

Be conscious of a “two-speed” work culture, where part of the company is based remotely and the other half is in an office. There are social advantages to working in the office, as well as being more visible for possible promotions and opportunities.

Be sure to communicate whether new staff is supposed to be on-site or not. That will obviously depend on the role, but be sure it’s clear what support they’ll be getting.

Diversify your recruiting channels

Now’s the time to examine where your candidates are coming from, how much you’re paying for them, and work out how best to manage this.

The reality of every flat-fee paid job advertising you post is that for some hires you are paying too much, and for others, you are paying too little, depending on the source. Working out which ones are providing you great value and which ones you could save the money on will help you build for the future.

Compare all your sources – your website, social media, as well as job boards, other platforms, and any staffing agencies. Some of them will be nailing it, some underperforming. Look at the numbers and work out which, and cut them.

Then look for others to replace them. Set benchmarks with your existing channels and see if new channels can beat them. You don’t want to be reliant on just one channel –what if it goes under?


Transforming your brand for the new world

While most people are working from home, cutting costs on events and employee gatherings has become a no-brainer. Money is tight for many businesses as the pandemic is impacting the economy, so pinching pennies on unnecessary spending may be the smart thing to do. That might mean some of the selling points of your brand have gone, or are more limited. So instead of downgrading your brand, reflect on it, and how it might need to adapt to the new world of working.

For instance, we’ve seen the number of searches for “Remote” jobs go through the roof, while “Work From Home” searches have stayed flat. Think about how are you adapting to what people actually want.

If your business is trimming the budget for perks, think about how you can reframe your business as a stable place in an uncertain world. Talk about any employee support programs you undertook, and focus on the positive impact you are having on your employees, even if some of the shinier perks are gone.

Do a pulse survey in the business to see how your employees are coping with the crisis and how they feel about your support. Promote those numbers to prospective employees. In short, focus on employee satisfaction and engagement to make your business more successful. A study done by Gallup found that companies with high rates of engagement had a 21% increase in profits, so it pays in the long term.


Establish talent pools

Establishing a pool of potential candidates for future positions can make life so much easier when the time comes to fill a new role. The first thing to do is to use your ATS to note the candidates that were good, but not quite the best for previous positions. Then, after asking permission to keep their details on file as part of your local data protection laws, then you can keep in contact with those who could be a good fit when the job market does return to a better state.

Given the uncertainty of the world, having people who continue to be engaged with your employer’s brand, will help you breed goodwill. Consider the stories of people applying for hundreds of jobs and failing to get even a rejection.

If you’re the one company that gives a thoughtful response but asks to keep in touch with that candidate, you can help build advocates out in the wider world. It’s a real opportunity to mark yourself out as a different employer and one who cares about people beyond the boundaries of your workforce.

To create a successful talent pool, treat every conversation like an investment in the future. This person may not be your next great hire, but they could be the one after that, and if you can help nurture these candidates.


Tackle D&I goals once and for all

In light of the recent protests for racial and gender equality, more candidates are looking for companies with a diverse and inclusive work environment. Starting off by identifying problem areas and biases in your business is the first step in creating a more welcoming workspace. Start a dialogue with employees about what can be improved and give a voice to those who feel underrepresented.

If your company is not currently hiring, you can use this time to embed best practices for diversity into your hiring process. To improve the diversity in your business, set up tangible goals and work to make aspects of the business welcoming for every employee.

Bring case study videos to show your diverse workforce in action. Redesign your career page to use more inclusive imagery. Highlighting internal reports or analysis and putting them front and center on your recruitment material. Ensuring your hiring managers have training. These are all things you can do to start to turn the corner. Diversity and inclusion aren’t static, so consistently work on making your hiring practices more welcoming and setting standards that your hiring managers have to adhere to will be key.

Coming out of this pandemic, businesses are forced to change and adapt so quickly and it is more important than ever to find talented people so your business can thrive. Staying organised and developing a strong EVP will create the foundation for future success as more talented people are attracted to your business. Establish relationships with people who are interested in the industry and remember that every recruitment effort starts with the people who are currently working for you. This is a people crisis, as well as an economic crisis, and it will be people leaders who will need to take the lead if we’re able to get through this, and help get the world working.