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Adapting Your Recruitment Process for a Post-COVID World

Wed, November 30, 2022

How to adapt your recruitment for a post-COVID world

If there has been one lasting impact from the last few years, and to be fair COVID-19 has provided many, it’s that the working population have reevaluated their approach to work. Lockdowns across the UK and globally brought forward remote working by several years. Many predicted the trend for work-from-home (WFH) would rise throughout the 2020s, but the pandemic accelerated this and showed many that there is a different way to work.

To adapt, employers have had to make drastic changes, some more temporary than others, and either adopt a hybrid model, go fully remote, or convince employees to return to the workplace full-time. At the same time the job market is extremely tight with far fewer people looking for work than usual, which is why 93% of employers are currently hiring in some capacity this year, up from 82% the year before.

So, how do you recruit and onboard new employees in a post-COVID world? What is it that industry talent wants and what can companies do to ensure they are retaining the best talent and provide the best EX? To adapt your recruitment process needs a careful strategy.

Challenges of attracting the right talent

Many people have had a taste of what their work/life balance can be during a period of remote working through the pandemic. This meant that those who worked for companies that offered this only as a temporary solution due to ongoing restrictions had to face the reality of returning to the physical workplace.

There are of course many job roles that simply work better in face-to-face environments, such as those in retail stores, but for many that work from a desk and internet-enabled computer, they’ve experienced an alternative. Whilst some were happy and even glad to be returning to normality, others dreaded the thought of commuting and having to wear office attire again. For employers, that means being able to offer choice and flexibility to ensure they are still attracting the talent they need.

However, it’s not just the remote working demand that’s changed, but a general lack of the right skills in the market. 63% of recruiters say a shortage of talent is the biggest challenge currently, whilst 76% of hiring managers say attracting talent is the biggest challenge. This combination has presented an issue for companies looking to hire; where is the talent you need and how can your company be an attractive place to work once you’ve found them?

The recruitment and onboarding process needs to be strategised and clearly defined for many companies demonstrated in the Employee Value Proposition. (EVP) Posting a job role and hoping for the best is no longer cutting it, so taking a more considered and analysed approach is required by hiring managers. Taking into account what candidates are looking for post-COVID and what you have to offer them in return should yield a better outcome.

  • Company culture – your company culture defines the employee experience, so having a clear brand identity that your potential new and existing employees can get behind is crucial. Established brands attract the top talent for a reason, so you need to be able to showcase the company culture. This includes your social media presence and your website as candidates will research you.
  • Defined job ads that stand out – having the right job ads clearly presented and providing an insight into the role, along with the desired skills and experience, as well as what you can offer, is vital. It should reflect your company identity and culture, ideally brimming with personality rather than just a large list. Remember, you could have many of your competitors also looking for the same role, so standing out is key.
  • Identify the skills gap you have – do you know exactly what skills you currently lack in the company? Whilst you can advertise a job looking for broad skills like customer service etc. what core disciplines and exact skills do you need that you don’t already have? This will help identify candidates who can meet those exact skills rather than a general skillset.
  • What makes your company different? – how can you offer something different to a competitor hiring for the same role? Why should a candidate choose you? These are all questions to consider and ones that candidates will be thinking too. Showing them exactly what your company can offer that goes above and beyond the compensation package will help. If you can provide remote or hybrid working models that competitors cannot, you will have the advantage too.
  • Better assessment – A key part of the onboarding process in recruitment is the assessment of candidates. Being able to tell if someone has the exact skills you require, especially if it isn’t clear on their application, requires better questioning during the interview. You may want to include a skills assessment as part of the process to ensure candidates aren’t just saying they can do something but showing they can.

Retaining your existing talent

Your existing workforce will also have one eye on what’s going on around them. Whilst they may not all be actively seeking other roles, they too could be considering their options. Bringing in talent is one thing, but if employers are currently struggling to retain them long-term, they could be in an endless onboarding recruitment process. So, what can employers do to improve the employee experience (EX) and break the cycle?

  • Listen to your staff – it’s a core skill that many employers want from their employees, but are you actively listening to your staff? Getting feedback from your workforce is essential to be able to understand how they are feeling. Whilst some are more open with their feelings, others may not want to give feedback in a conversation, so having ways to provide an open forum is effective. Organise feedback sessions or create surveys they can complete for valuable insights.
  • Consider job flexibility – how flexible is their current job role? Consider if moving to a hybrid model may suit them, or whether the role can be worked remotely. If you have the resources to provide this way of working, and you have feedback that this flexibility would be welcomed by some of your staff, it’s worth considering.
  • How engaged are your teams? – engagement and productivity go hand in hand, so if you have an underperforming team or workforce, getting to the core of this is crucial. You could create a People Champion, someone who can actively gather feedback and gauge engagement levels within your team. This way, employees may find providing feedback more approachable and personable, having someone they can talk to.
  • Work/life balance – many workers want a good balance between work commitments and their personal life, so assessing how they feel and providing incentives to ensure they get a good work/life balance, working on wellness and general well-being, can be beneficial.
  • Clear Progression – one of the big reasons staff may want to leave is not having a clear progression path. If employees feel they have reached a dead-end in their current role, what opportunities are there for them to progress? This is key for your biggest talents as otherwise they will look elsewhere for the opportunity instead.

Challenges & benefits of a hybrid model

The hybrid model has come to prominence in recent years, more rapidly so post-COVID. Many employers are having to find solutions for roles that were once fully workplace-based before the pandemic, however they now have a workforce that wants to retain some form of remote work or at least the option to. As many as 38% of fully remote workers would prefer a hybrid role with some in-person office experiences.

There are various challenges including having an office space that is now empty but still has huge costs involved, to expensive equipment that is going unused. The hybrid approach provides the best of both worlds for employers and employees so that the workspace is still being used and available, and employees don’t need to visit every day.

Saved resources – the hybrid model allows for smaller office spaces and smaller operating costs. Employers can look to downsize existing space if it’s now not a requirement for the whole workforce to be in every day at the same time. This also means saved money for your employees in commuting costs and that daily takeaway coffee.

Flexibility for staff – many candidates want flexible work lives, and the hybrid model is all about this. Not everyone in your workforce wants the same thing, so for those that want to spend more time in the workplace than others, you can provide this. For those who want to work two or three days a week at home, it can work. The hybrid model allows more flexibility when recruiting and can satisfy the needs of existing employees.

Productivity & focus – some employers may struggle to ensure productivity and focus are constant in a fully remote environment, so the hybrid approach means you can ensure this is maintained. Employees will be happier by being able to choose flexible hours, have a change of scenery during the week, and feel more part of the wider team to avoid feeling isolated, all contributing to better focus.

Better collaboration – the one thing the remote model can struggle with is collaboration. Meeting over video calls is not the same as in person, and if you have teams that rely on collaboration to work efficiently, the hybrid model will ensure you can have real meetings and work together less virtually. This will help to improve interpersonal relationships between team members too that can be difficult to replicate from home.

Finding solutions to recruitment pain points

Here at Ventrica, we understand the challenges of managing a large workforce across the UK, many of whom are remote working, whilst still providing office facilities for those who want to work in that environment. We’ve made it work for us thanks to our incredibly talented and dedicated team of Ventricans, but how can other companies find the recruitment and onboarding sweet spot whilst keeping existing staff happy? There are no guarantees, however, there are plenty of methods to improve your situation.

We help global brands ensure they can meet peak demand even if they are struggling with recruitment and retention. By outsourcing customer services and processes, brands can ensure the customer experience isn’t impacted by any internal challenges they face. To learn more about how we can make a difference, contact us today.

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