I recently spoke with Cliff Stevenson, Principal Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management Analyst at Brandon Hall Group about COVID-19 and its impact on talent acquisition.
Cliff shared recent survey findings of recruiting in a low-employment market. Respondents to the survey reported that their three biggest HR challenges include onboarding new talent, assessing employee well-being and planning and executing workforce management initiatives.
The sixth biggest challenge—yet the most interesting of all—is sourcing new talent.
This response flew up the rankings as COVID-19 has progressed, originally coming in around 10 percent. This leap proves that HR teams are shifting their perspective. They're worrying less about maintaining until things "return to normal", and more about getting into the groove of a new reality.
The survey also asked respondents about their organization's technological readiness for remote work. Most (four out of five) reported that their company was ready for payroll, but those numbers dwindled when it came to other areas of work. Organizations have not been technologically ready to support their people.
The survey and its findings prompted me to want to explain what they mean for TA pros in a COVID-19 world. How can teams use the data from this survey to understand the changing HR landscape and reflect those changes in their own approaches?
The Candidate Experience Still Matters
The first thing that comes to mind is the candidate experience still matters. We might be in what some have called a "buyer's market"—where the company has a greater selection of candidates instead of the other way around—but that doesn't change how we need to treat potential new hires. And, just as important, the candidate experience will remain a priority once things go back to a relative state of "normal".
If we look at online stores and delivery services, they have a higher customer volume than normal right now. But, the higher volume doesn't excuse poor customer experiences. The same rules apply when we're talking about higher candidate availability and their experiences.
It's important that organizations are taking this time to continuously evolve and improve their approach. Most can agree that it's good business sense. To be sure you get the right people, you have to give them the best possible experience. There's no reason this should change because things are unpredictable at the moment.
To attract the best talent, we need to create the best experiences for them and make sure they want to join our organization, regardless of the circumstances. Buyer's market or seller's market; the candidate experience should be the same (and by the same I mean top-notch).
Don't Stagnate – Prepare for the Future
Perhaps one of the most important parts of our conversation revolved around looking forward. Some organizations, such as delivery services and grocery stores, have gone into hiring overdrive to keep up with COVID-19. But the majority have had to freeze recruiting for now and will have to mass-hire to get back up to speed.
Employers in the latter category should take this downtime to prepare for future hiring. There are many things you can do, namely:
- Streamline your processes so you can hire and onboard more great candidates in less time.
- Use data to identify areas of the candidate experience requiring improvement.
- Identify the traits your highest performers share so you'll know what to look for in top talent.
- Get your technology to peak performance.
Making better use of this downtime could be the difference between being successful and falling behind in the new reality of work. Take time to look at data, pull reports and evaluate your processes to be hire-ready when the time comes.
Strengthen Your Internal Hiring Strategy
While many TA teams have had to freeze their recruiting processes during COVID-19, one area that doesn't need to slow down is internal hiring! Internal hiring makes a lot of sense, especially now when we're working so hard to retain talent and keep costs low.
I've talked extensively about hiring internal talent to fill open positions and the plethora of benefits that come from it, and there may be no better time to adopt this approach. Employees who feel enabled to grow professionally are more likely to become champions for your organization. This works in favor of your employer brand, setting you up for success when hiring ramps back up.
So, how can organizations strengthen their internal hiring strategy? Start with a strong understanding of the skills your organization needs and the skills your people have (or wish to develop!). Then, make it easy for your people to apply to roles. Often we spend way too much time making it easy for external candidates to find an open position and apply.
Reshaping Your TA Approach for a New Hiring Reality
No one can be sure what the future truly holds for HR teams. We've seen many changes already—some temporary and some permanent. But one thing that we can be completely sure of is the importance of the candidate experience.
Learn how to deliver a market-leading candidate experience that helps you stay competitive in the future, no matter what that looks like!