It was reported by the Guernsey Press on the 4th May 2020 that only 9% of Guernsey people wished for things to return to the way they were prior to lockdown and Covid-19. Now whether this is down to fear of the virus and its effect or whether this is due to the population enjoying the flexibility it has provided with perhaps a more balanced work and home life, less stress of a daily commute and enjoyment of 2 hours daily exercise, it is certain life and work will change moving on from Covid-19.
The impact of Covid-19 has hit businesses in multiple ways, and recruitment is no exception. Plans to take on more staff may have gone out of the window, or conversely, businesses might be having to hire more people than ever before!
Whatever situation organisations find themselves in, one thing’s for sure, how businesses respond to this unprecedented pandemic will define relationships with future hires, staff and customers. This was echoed by Simon Jack, a Business Editor, who stated that “Reopening the economy will take more than modified working practices. Workers must be confident they are safe. Companies must be confident they won’t be sued if they get it wrong. And consumers must be confident enough to spend money.”
Those companies who are looking to take on staff during and after Covid-19 lockdown should perhaps be asking themselves numerous questions such as:
- What is the role purpose?
- What is the business need?
- How long will that need be there?
- How will your company safely manage Covid-19 requirements?
In addition, businesses must also appreciate that those applying might be looking for a temporary stop gap until their chosen profession picks up again. So perhaps temporary hires instead of permanent will increase. This may also suit employers who are cautious in these uncertain times about taking on permanent staff.
It was reported by LinkedIn Editors UK this week that there has been an increase in job seeking in the SME sector
“Nearly a third (32%) of SMB workers intend to boost search time, a nine percentage-point jump since the first poll.”
This can be translated to Guernsey, which is coming out of lockdown earlier than most, therefore local firms are seeing business pick up and have the requirement of additional staff sooner than some international businesses.
Many businesses have adopted new ways of working due to the pandemic and technology allowing them to do so. It has been suggested by many that home working will become the new norm and, as such, companies should invest in their IT infrastructure to continue to support this. This has seen the inclusion of digital interviewing tools as well as enhanced HR systems which look to communicate with current employees to ensure engagement is maintained.
The HR Technologist stated
“it’s important to live by a new process of “remote totality” which includes attracting, screening, recruiting, onboarding, training and developing a work routine for all new hires remotely. Companies should make the hiring process like how the candidate will work at the company; they should mirror each other. Since we are all working virtually, interviews will need to be done virtually as well.”
At Situations, we are seeing interviews taking place by Skype, Zoom and Google Meets so that social distancing can be maintained. It even follows through to induction of new employees from the comfort of their own homes (sofas!) with equipment delivered the day before and virtual training taking place.
This was echoed by Focus HR who state
“Although many businesses have had to put their recruitment on hold for financial reasons, a vast majority of our clients have been continuing with the recruitment process by adjusting their methods to incorporate interviewing over the phone or via video calls. Many candidates have commenced work with their new employer during lockdown and have been set up with access to systems to be remotely trained and ‘virtually’ meet their new colleagues without too much interruption. This is where technology really comes into its own.”
Whether employers decide to go for remote work or keep to the office model, it’s important to remember that the global outbreak isn’t as worrisome for some people as it is for others. Create a culture of hygienic practices in the workplace in which your employees maintain their welfare (through regular use of hand sanitizer, limited physical contact such as handshakes, awareness of their physical wellbeing, etc).
The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually pass. We don’t know how long it will last. But we do know that recruitment doesn’t have to grind to a halt for this crisis to pass. If anything, whenever this outbreak ends, employers will need to work quickly to hire new staff and position themselves ready for the next phase of growth.