No organization has, in living memory, had to devise a pandemic recruiting strategy. COVID-19 is engulfing the world at an alarming rate, with infection and mortality figures increasing by the minute.
The last time the world faced a health crisis of this proportion was the 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. It’s been compared to the Black Death that ravaged European and Middle Eastern populations from 1347 to 1351.
We can see from these two pandemics that neither of them disappeared very quickly, and experts are warning us that COVID-19 will still be around next year this time. It’s also evident that the world post the Coronavirus will be permanently altered.
Where does this leave businesses?
Honestly? Organizations will be left navigating the unknown.
As little as a month ago, it was still business as usual in most countries, and today the majority of nations are enforcing public lockdowns. As people are ordered to stay home, several industries are forced to close shop. In many countries, all but essential services have been ordered to stop trading. Also, several countries have shut their borders making global trade extremely difficult.
It’s a given fact that companies are going to struggle to endure. We know that when it comes to survival, only the fittest and most innovative walk out on the other side. Business owners are going to have to adapt their whole approach to how they work if they want to weather this storm.
As tough and stressful as things currently are, management teams will have to redesign their systems and view operations from a whole new perspective. What worked before isn’t going to work the way it did. Invention and innovation are going to be what sets successful leaders apart from the rest.
There’s little value in stressing about what’s going to happen because the enemy is invisible. Entrepreneurs and c-suite executives should instead put their energy into strategizing and redevelopment.
Embracing technical skills
There’s little doubt that COVID-19 is going to speed up the fourth industrial revolution. We can already see it happening as this pandemic unfolds. Digital entrepreneurs are devising all types of technology solutions to help medical staff, governments, and the general public. Everything from interactive apps to getting real-time updates and medical advice to 3D printing of protective equipment is being made available.
And this is the path that successful businesses will follow. Digitization at every level of trade means that employees will have to be upskilled, or skills gaps will open up for people with yet unknown skills.
As business travel declines, online meetings and conferences will become the norm. Working from home will become more acceptable, and remote teams will increase. Online shopping and trade will also surge. These are the new challenges that business owners must address now if they want to give their customers what they want in the future.
Assessing what you already have and identifying what you’ll need
All of these operational changes will have to result in a review of your existing workforce. Skills evaluations, job descriptions, and team structures will have to be revised and consultations held with staff.
Once leaders know how they have to change, what skills they currently have on board, and what their customers will expect post-COVID-19, they can begin planning. Post-pandemic recruitment strategies will have to weigh personality traits as strongly as they do skills to fill roles.
You need to be confident that your employees can adapt to change and embrace innovation, especially in the early days of the return to normality. Remote teams are ideal in times of transformation. Being able to draw from a globally diverse talent pool, with similar skills opens up limitless possibilities.
Recruitment in uncertain times
Your HR recruitment process should already be mostly digital. If you haven’t invested in an applicant tracking system (ATS) yet, now is the time to get on board. Sourcing candidates are already mostly done via job boards and career sites, which can easily be integrated with your ATS to build a talent pool.
There are just as many people applying for jobs online as there were previously, so there’s no shortage of applicants. Many passive candidates could be feeling insecure right now, so this would be an ideal time to reach out.
The interview process remains unchanged, except for video interviews replacing face to face interviews. Skills assessments and tests can be easily conducted online. Remote hiring is set to become how recruiters work. It makes sense because it speeds up the interview process, is more cost-effective, and saves recruiters and candidates’ time.
Psychometric tests for recruitment can also offer more value than previously. Investing is quality testing systems or outsourcing to qualified psychometrists is a worthwhile investment. The results will tell you how well a candidate aligns with your company culture. This is essential because you might never meet them in person if your remote teams are sourced globally.
Very important is that you’ll need to look more closely at people analytic tools to measure employee engagement, especially when you’re working with multiple remote teams. Apps like Fingerprint for Success offer personalized assessment and coaching to improve individual and team performance.
Quick communication is essential, too, when working with remote teams. There are plenty of platforms, like Bitrix24, that are versatile and can be adapted to meet your requirements. They can also mostly get integrated with your existing HR systems.
Pandemic recruiting isn’t only going to be around for a few months. It’s here to stay for a long time, and hiring will probably not be the same again. Processes adopted in pandemic recruiting will settle in and become how we hire in the future.
Here’s how businesses will adapt to get through the coronavirus outbreak and continue working beyond.
- Accept that this isn’t a flash in the pan; the effects of this virus is going to affect the global economy for years to come
- Technology is going to play an ever-increasing role in all industries
- The increased use of technology is going to create skills gaps
- Existing staff will have to be counseled to accept change
- Investment in upskilling and training is essential to ensure productively
- Some employees will be unable to adapt and will have to be laid off
- Skills gaps will have to be filled by out of town or international candidates
- Remote teams will become the rule rather than the exception
- Investment in apps to support remote teams will have to be budgeted for
COVID-19 is going to claim more than just human lives. It’s going to claim many businesses as well. And that’s not only startups. Already global airlines and travel agencies have filed for bankruptcy, and other industries are going to follow.
Is it all doom and gloom? Right now – yes! It’s not great, and the world is facing uncertain times. But as with every other time of suffering, be it natural disasters, wars, or disease – it comes to an end. We see the light again, only our world looks different, we feel different, and our expectations have shifted.
Business will, and must, continue. Planning, strategizing, and implementing change can’t stop because, without action, companies WILL fail. A vital part of business survival is to ensure that you’re ready to do things differently, create an agile environment, and remain adaptable.
A pandemic recruiting strategy is an essential component of your organization’s survival.