The recent shift to a more distributed workforce for many industries left a permanent impact on hiring practices.
Even when COVID itself is no longer a major public health threat, it is likely that organizations and employees will have different priorities in the “after” times. Here are some tips for how to prepare for the post-COVID hiring trends.
1. Develop a robust framework for hiring independent contractors.
Gartner’s research indicates that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contracted workers. Contingent employees offer numerous benefits in the uncertain economy, and cost savings will continue even in post-COVID hiring landscape.
Organizations need to prepare for this change. Decide what channels you would like to use to hire contracted employees, and what tools you will use to manage employee performance and communications. The tools you use for full-time employees may not be appropriate for contracted employees.
You will also need to make decisions about contracted employees’ eligibility for benefits and how their benefits will be designed.
2. Maximize resources to conduct virtual recruitment effectively.
For the foreseeable future, we can expect the entire recruitment process to move online. Organizations need to develop a standardized system for conducting virtual interviews. Standard video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts are not always ideal for job interviews. You may also need to deploy other digital tools to screen applicants.
Some hiring managers may worry that virtual interviews are insufficient for determining whether a candidate is a fit. Through careful planning, you can increase your chances of making quality hires through virtual recruitment. You will need to adjust your methods for evaluating job candidates and train hiring managers in how to conduct an effective virtual interview.
3. Create a solid framework for online onboarding procedures.
Many new employees will experience the entire onboarding process digitally in a post-COVID hiring landscape. To prepare for this, make sure that you have the tools to deliver a quality onboarding experience. Recording video content is a great way to make digital onboarding feel more personalized.
To the extent that it’s possible, you want your digital onboarding to replicate in-person onboarding in terms of communicating your organization’s values and welcoming new employees into the fold. Try to create virtual social experiences for new employees to engage with their new colleagues and each other.
4. Strengthen the safety net you offer your employees.
The pandemic has demonstrated to many employees that they are more economically vulnerable than they previously believed. Post-COVID hiring would mean employees and job applicants will be more cognizant of risks to their employment. They will want more in terms of unemployment insurance and health insurance.
Prepare for this shift by creating a detailed plan for how your organization will respond to another major crisis. What protections can you ensure to your employees? In the event of mass layoffs, what safety net can you provide?
Consider investing more in benefits as compared to salary. This will matter to many job applicants.
5. Refine your applicant screening process.
With so many people out of work, the number of job applicants will increase for every position. This has the potential to be a boon for your organization as the talent pool expands. But more job applicants can create a bottleneck in the hiring process.
Adjust your hiring guidelines to prepare for an influx of job applicants.
You should also clearly define the profile for every open role. It is likely that you will be able to exercise more choice in terms of hiring, so you need to be prepared to evaluate candidates differently. Refine your job ads to be more specialized to the role. Optimized job ads will attract a higher-quality pool of applicants.
6. Emphasize job security to your applicants.
In the wake of COVID, job applicants will worry more about the impact of another pandemic on their employment. You need to proactively assure candidates that you want to provide job security to the extent that it is possible.
If you are in an industry that was not impacted heavily by COVID, communicate that in your recruitment process. If your industry was hit hard, explain your plan for mitigating the impact of future pandemics. How will you ensure that you can retain as many employees as possible in the event of a crisis? What supports can you offer to laid-off employees?
You should not attempt to sugar-coat the problem. Job applicants will see through any attempt to minimize the problem. But they need to see that you care and have a plan.
7. Move to embrace flexibility and video solutions.
As more employees work from home, policies will necessarily change. It does not necessarily make sense for a remote workforce to adhere to a strict 9-5 work schedule. Employers will need to establish guidelines for flexible work.
It will also be important to formalize the tools employees use for video conferencing and other communications. Over the past few months, many organizations have made use of ad hoc Zoom meetings. Going forward, they will need to establish standardized procedures.
8. Develop a WFH model that allows work autonomy and supports collaboration
In pre-COVID times, many employees shared an office. A more geographically distributed workforce will necessarily demand changes to how people work, especially if employees are spread across different time zones.
Employers will need to devise systems for enabling collaboration between employees while still recognizing employee autonomy. Managers providing supervision and remote coaching is another important consideration.