Guest post by Kate Russell.
As rate of new novel coronavirus infections declines and we learn more about how to limit the spread of COVID-19, economies are beginning to reopen. This may enable businesses to begin a transition to a new normal.
While the rates of infection may fall, the global pandemic is expected to have lasting effects on businesses. More than four our of five firms—(81%) of businesses—believe that COVID-19 will change their operations for the long term.
In response to the pandemic, 87% of businesses have changed their recruiting and talent onboarding processes. These changes are likely to persist beyond a reopened economy, given the heightened concerns for health and safety.
Businesses should consider the following tips to prepare to hire after the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Limit Talent Pools
Businesses should limit their talent searches geographically following the pandemic to adapt financial restraints and candidates’ residual apprehensions towards airline travel.
Before the global pandemic, companies focused on filling their recruiting funnel with as many external candidates as possible. Less than a third (28%) of talent professionals say that internal candidates are an important source for filling vacancies.
A recruitment strategy that focuses on external hires is costlier and riskier than an internally-focused initiative.
This strategy is especially costly if a candidate requires air travel. The average business trip cost $1,293 in 2019.
It’s also a more difficult strategy to pursue as airlines have significantly curtailed operations. Airlines around the world grounded more than 16,000 commercial aircraft and reduced the number of scheduled flights 63%.
These significant cutbacks are in response to the steep decline in demand for travel as health organizations urged travelers to remain at home to reduce the spread of the virus. And even for job seekers, the prospect of spending several hours around large numbers of people in long lines at airports and then the enclosed space of an aircraft is less than appealing right now.
To limit the costs and risks associated with travel, businesses may want to focus their searches on local or internal talent to fill vacancies. This has an overall positive impact on businesses.
Businesses promote productivity by filling roles internally. Outside hires can take up to three years to perform as well as internal hires in the same role.
Further, internal promotion builds loyalty and satisfaction. Employees are more likely to remain with an organization that rewards achievement with recognition, increased responsibility, and career growth. A more stable workforce also provides greater financial stability through reductions in turnover.
Businesses should shift their talent searches to local sources to not only mitigate health concerns but also increase employee satisfaction and reduce costs.
2. Rely More on Remote Interviews
Most businesses already use video screens and phone interviews in the early stages of hiring. But they should replace in-person interviews with virtual conversations deeper into the process in these days of global pandemic.
A majority of Americans are either somewhat (83%) or extremely (54%) concerned that lifting restrictions will result in a spike in COVID-19 cases. Unsurprisingly, nearly half (45%) of businesses struggle with employees who are hesitant to return to their places of work for fear of illness.
To ease concerns, businesses are adopting video software to conduct virtual interviews. Platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, and BlueJeans enable businesses to conduct interviews safely and professionally.
This new method may encourage you to update your recruitment strategies to optimize these virtual engagements. As it’s harder to build trust online, you may have to be more intentional in your recruiting process.
Video interviews may require a greater amount of preparedness in different areas, including the candidate experience. Inform candidates in advance that their interviews will be held via videoconference.
As you would with an on-site interview, provide candidates with an outline for the interview process and tips for success:
- Tell candidates which platform will be used to hold the interview. Ensure they know how to access and use the software.
- Establish procedures for interviews and share this information with candidates.
- Provide a timeline for the interview such as when it will start and end. Share the names of all individuals who will be on the call.
- To reduce technical mishaps, test the technologies before an interview and ask candidates to do the same.
When in doubt, it’s better to over communicate with candidates. This may help to streamline the interview process and promote a positive candidate experience.
There are also additional considerations with virtual interviews. Video involves legal considerations that aren’t associated with in-person interviews.
For example, you may want to record an interview in order to review the candidate later. However, you may need to obtain consent before you can record in many states.
3. Consider Expanding Your Benefits Packages
Businesses can supplement their benefits packages with services relevant to the pandemic and remote work to support recruitment efforts.
To help your business attract top talent, consider the advantages of telemedicine benefits.
Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to deliver services, both physical and psychological, to patients in remote locations through video conferencing and texting services. In response to the pandemic and increased employee interest, a majority of businesses (86%) encourage employees to engage in telehealth services.
Businesses reduce their employees’ risk of infection by enabling them to receive remote treatment. A majority of workers (53%) fear the spread of the coronavirus. This benefit allows employees to stay home while seeking medical care, which may reduce their anxieties.
Telemedicine increases access to more affordable healthcare services and reduces premium costs by providing alternatives to in-person care. With greater access to screenings, employees can be healthier and more productive, which can lead to meaningful savings for the business.
Another way to establish a competitive advantage is to offer benefits that promote employee wellness.
Burnout is on the rise as employees must navigate a global pandemic and an entirely remote environment. Burnout takes not only an individual toll on employees but also presents organizational consequences. Disengaged employees have 18% lower productivity and contribute to an 15% loss in profitability.
One solution to increased employee burnout is to increase leave benefits. According to SHRM, 25% of companies plan to increase unpaid leave and 18% of businesses plan to offer more paid leave.
By increasing opportunities for leave, you enable employees to take time to de-stress and manage personal responsibilities. This helps them to return to work refreshed and more engaged.
Additional options can include wellness videos, financial classes, mental health assistance, and access to meditation platforms. These benefits demonstrate to candidates that the company values and appreciates its employees.
Businesses may expand employee benefits to support hiring efforts after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Adapt New Methods to Hire Post-COVID-19
Businesses should consider embracing alternative strategies for hiring during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. As the economy gradually reopens, job candidates,. like employees working from home, are eager to return to office settings–but only with proper precautions that ensure confidence in safety.
In response to fears of infection and travel restrictions, businesses should prioritize local and internal talent to fill vacancies.
In lieu of in person interviews, adopt video interviews to pursue qualified candidates safely. Be communicative to streamline the candidate experience.
Expand benefits to ease employees’ anxieties as well as sharpen your edge in the competition for top talent.
Kate Russell is an Editorial Associate for Clutch — an Inc. 1000 private company that helps decision-makers determine the best B2B service providers to solve business challenges. She is also an HR research and content lead.