Virus-Resistant Human Resources Management: Post-Shutdown Talent Sourcing

Millions of Americans are out of work. The unemployment rate has gone from 3.5 to 14.7% in two months, and the numbers for May will likely look worse. Even as we slowly re-open and bring people back, all economic indicators point to longer-term higher unemployment rates and quite likely, some measure of economic recession.  

It may seem counter-intuitive to be talking about recruitment under these circumstances, but here are a few reasons why talent sourcing may need to be brought back to the front burner:  

  1. Forced change breaks inertia. Sometimes we stay in one place because making a change just seems like too much trouble. Having a forced furlough or a change like working from home has given some employees a chance to pause and evaluate whether their job is still a good fit for them. You could get that surprise resignation, and it could be a key player.  
  1. Unresolved performance issues. In my work, among the most common issues I see is a leader who will not address poorly performing employees. Now that the alternative candidate pool has gotten a lot deeper, any excuse to continue to hang on to marginal performers is gone.  
  1. Your needs have changed. I continue to be impressed with how adaptive our entrepreneurial community is. Affected businesses that are not only able to pivot, but innovate, may quickly realize they need to add some new skill sets to the team.   

It will be more important than ever that you find the best job-person fit, but your pre-shutdown recruiting strategy is now obsolete. Prepare your business for recruiting in this post-shutdown environment. It may be more of a buyer’s market, but you are still going to have to fight for the great talent.  

  1. Are you able to articulate the direction your company is going? Whether you’re struggling to get restarted or enjoying record growth, the pandemic likely changed your trajectory. You should be able to summarize your current state and what your short-term objectives are. The good candidates will want to know.  
  1. How have changes in your business impacted the way your employees do their work, and what additional competencies will candidates need to be successful?  
  1. “Benefits” takes on greater meaning. Look for more candidates to have priorities that supersede salary. Many people are expressing a new-found appreciation for slowing things down and spending time with family. They don’t miss rush hour traffic. They may be hoping for a great “next-phase” growth opportunity. Take some time to evaluate what you can offer. 
  1. How have changes in your business impacted your on-boarding process? Many businesses still do new hire training by sitting alongside someone else as they do the job. It is time to develop an on-boarding plan to accommodate those who may starting jobs that involve working remotely or enables social distancing for on-site jobs.  

Regardless of whether you are hiring to replace a departing employee or to support wild-fire growth, successful recruitment, like everything else will need to evolve with the times.  

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