COVID-19 has changed the world of work forever. Is your talent acquisition approach ready for what’s inevitable?

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, most organizations are taking significant measures to stop the spread of the disease, for example canceling conferences, enforcing travel bans and asking employees to work from home. Along with this, firms are also focusing on making sure that they can meet their deliverables be re-designing their resourcing approach.

For some, COVID-19 has transformed skills requirements with industries experiencing gargantuan shifts in talent demands. For example, there has been an upswing in the number of businesses moving to online markets and interaction platforms. IT Support teams have been swamped by demands to transition to home-working rigs. Store shelved have been stripped of laptops. The entire healthcare industry has hit its biggest ever peak in demand for qualified people. Life Sciences and scientific organizations are struggling to keep pace with demands for lab technicians. Companies selling bicycles, exercise equipment, food, home and garden products, games, books and electrical goods are all short of logistics people in their warehouses as products fly off the shelves. All this at a time when tourism, leisure, and retail firms are shedding people.

It’s not just the make-up of talent demands that has changed because of COVID-19: Businesses are coming to appreciate they need to be able to adapt faster to these market changes. Some of the less obvious areas where we’ll see the long-term impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the talent industry include:

Increased usage of LinkedIn

People are going to be surfing LinkedIn a lot more to see what’s happening in the world of work globally and feel connected. LinkedIn will especially be quite useful in terms of those seeking greener pastures since physically networking will take a back seat with so many workers being based remotely. Communicating with others in the same industry and members of the same groups is also a phenomenon that will be facilitated by LinkedIn.

Higher Employee Productivity

Airtasker, a gig economy platform, carried out a survey[i]with more than a thousand full-time employees who work from home regularly and this is what they discovered:

  1. Workday Breaks: Remove employees took an average of 22 minutes of workday breaks, as compared to office workers who took an average of 18 minutes
  2. Average Unproductive Time: Remote employees had an average of 27 minutes of unproductive time, whereas office workers averaged 37 minutes of unproductive time.
  3. Workdays every month: Remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, as compared to those who worked in an office

Time and Cost Savings for Remote Employees

In the same survey, it is mentioned that on an average, remote employees saved over ninety-four dollars every week on fuel costs and an average 8.5 hours commute time (which, in case you are calculating, translates to $4,888 and 442 hours on a yearly basis).

The Paradigm Shift in Talent Acquisition and Management

Based on the issues listed above, this phenomenon will have another side-effect: a large number of organizations and workers are now going to think in terms of hiring only remote workers or having a large remote workforce. With the cost of the infrastructure actually reducing, organizations will be able to invest that amount in other areas like marketing and branding and developing their remote infrastructure. What we should expect to see now is:

Talent Acquisition

One of the key reasons employees want to join firms like Facebook, Google, Apple and so on is that along with the opportunity to work with a lot of smart people on interesting problems, they also get a lot of benefits like access to sports facilities, great food (which is generally free 😊), etc. With firms having employees working only remotely, a lot of factors that they took for granted when looking for top talent, will not be applicable anymore. The talent acquisition strategy will have to be rethought, the candidate attraction value proposition will need a complete redesign.

Engaging and Managing a Remote Workforce

The dynamics or workforce management will be quite different from what we know today. Inspiring and motivating remote workers will have its challenges. It will be difficult for HR to get to know the employees and find out what makes them tick. Retaining remote workers could present itself as a challenge that HR will have to overcome as well.

Focus on Communication

With your co-worker now being not next to you, communication becomes even more important. Having the right technology and training for communication will become even more important and we can expect to see more and more usage of platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams for sharing files, instant messaging and keeping up to date.

Hiring on Contract, Converting to Perm

I think most of us will agree that it takes time for one to find out if the right hire has been made and the best method to try that out would be to hire a person on contract and then switch them over to a full-time role once they have had a chance to prove themselves. This will become more of a norm and this will also allow employees to test whether a firm is right or them.

 

More Emphasis on Deliverables

Individual deliverables will be of more importance as there will be less networking and team members will be more focused on their individual deliverables. Not saying that there will be less collaboration, but rather that remote employees will need to able to overcome the distance between the team members, and learn to trust one another and help each other out.

Increasing Remote Employee Productivity

Along with a focus on communications, organizations will need to spend time on planning how they can help with improving the productivity of a remote workforce. Team members will need to be trained in newer technology and processes and then get used to working as a team using these new tools. 

Is your organization ready?

As mentioned before, with the paradigm shift in the whole talent acquisition and management ecosystem, organizations will need to adapt and change quickly. Given the drastic effect that COVID-19 has had on the global economy as a whole, we know for sure that a lot of organizations will have to change their business models just to survive. Talent is the engine that drives all organizations, and those that are not able to change their talent strategy will find it hard to succeed in the new world of work.

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

  • Bob Dylan, Times They Are A-Changin

[i]https://www.airtasker.com/blog/the-benefits-of-working-from-home/

About the Author

Sameer Srivastava has over twelve years of experience in designing, implementing and managing MSP programs in Europe, Asia, and the US. His current responsibilities include oversight of Workspend’s Strategic Center of Excellence based in New Delhi, India, and business operations in APAC and EMEA. Prior to joining Workspend, Sameer was leading Kelly OCG’s Implementation services in EMEA and later went to head their MSP and RPO Operations in India. Post Kelly OCG, Sameer was at Allegis Global Solutions where he managed Implementation and Operational teams in India. Sameer also has experience working as an IT and Change Management Consultant in the US and the UK. Sameer holds a bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (USA) and an MBA from Cranfield University (UK). He can be contacted at  ssrivastava@workspend.com or follow him on LinkedIn.