The level of interest from our network wanting to discuss career options during the pandemic has come as a surprise.
We receive calls on a daily basis from our contacts, wanting to start research or recruitment projects, and to consider new opportunities – if not now, then soon after the lockdown is over, and despite current economic indicators.
We anticipate that there will be lots of movement once the economy opens again.
When it does, there are a number of factors that businesses will need to take into account to attract the best talent.
Refocusing values and benefits
Businesses that place their ESG goals at the heart of their strategy will be attractive to some of the leading talent in the industry..
So many people I speak to want to move to a new position that will enable them to deliver greater impact, and in some cases, are open to consider a lower salary to make the right move.
For others, working from home has brought unexpected joys. It has transformed their expectations of what they want from their career and what can be achieved without the stress of a daily commute.
Some businesses are already examining how the positives of working from home can be extended long term and assessing which and how many employees may want to work more flexibly and remotely after the pandemic.
If your most valuable employees have a long commute, they are very likely to look for flexibility as teams return to work. Do you have a strategy in place for how you will accommodate their requirements?
Providing support to enable employees to make a success of working from home engenders loyalty and facilitates the transition. This can range from basic advice on time management especially when distractions include offspring and pets to budgets for equipment and advice on how to run a home office.
Businesses are planning how they enable valued employees to input to company strategy as well as addressing how personal development and career progression plans can continue uninterrupted even when they work from home.
This operational pause can also provide an opportunity to refocus the attributes of the employment brand.
Examining how to sharpen salary/benefits, job specifications, flexible working, company culture, personal and career development opportunities in line with emerging demands and changing work habits will demonstrate the business is thinking progressively.
While furloughs and job cuts are painful, they lead to a deeper understanding of how businesses can be more resilient in the future, more supportive of their employee base.
It helps them to identify essential employees who must therefore at all costs be retained or quickly replaced.
Talent mapping and succession planning
Many businesses have already started succession and recruitment planning, even if recruitment is technically ‘frozen’ until there is greater clarity on the impact of the government’s return to work plan.
External and internal ’talent mapping’ enables businesses to identify risk areas as well as skills gaps which may widen if a prolonged lockdown results in fundamental changes to business and the creation of a new economy that is both global and virtual.
Are the skills in place to enable a more permanent shift to home working for certain employees, roles or departments? Do you have the digital resource to respond to a change in business direction when teams are not located in one place? Or will you need to recruit new sector knowledge and experience as the business pivots to take advantage of emerging opportunities?
Prior to the lockdown we were already experiencing a skills shortage. The expectation is that once the lockdown eases a talent war will begin and that businesses will be competing for the best talent once again. .
This will be a time when candidates and employees will want to see businesses leading confidently, and with a sense of purpose, even as many factors may still be unclear.
How a business handles attrition and succession planning can become a litmus test of corporate calibre.
Planning now means businesses can take action more quickly once ‘normal’ resumes, with a strong and effective team, ready to navigate whatever comes next after the pandemic is done.