Hiring post-pandemic: What are the current challenges in recruitment?

The pandemic forced people in so many organisations to change the way they work overnight. It also changed the way recruitment works. Not only is the majority of the process now remote for most people, but there are shrinking talent pools, an emerging capabilities gap, and a great resignation impending.

But, if your HR team can get past the challenges, you’ll end up with an excellent group of people in your organisation. Having excellent people, which are arguably an organisation’s most important resource, will help separate you from the competition.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to post-pandemic recruitment, we can help. Read on for advice on hiring, employee retention and what the future of recruitment might look like.

The impact of the pandemic on employment

The biggest change to recruitment since the pandemic is that move to a mostly virtual process. But, it’s also changed hiring priorities for many. Now, instead of just focusing on candidates with the right skills, hiring managers are also looking for people with the skills needed for how roles will progress in the future, and the candidate’s ability to learn new skills. Finding someone with that openness to learning is important because, not only does it demonstrate ambition, it also shows that a candidate is agile and prepared to adapt.

Attracting talent from a company culture perspective has also changed. HR departments need to demonstrate that they are focused on people’s lives, not just their working lives. That means your employee value proposition needs to show prospective hires how you can improve their lives and how working for your organisation will positively impact them. Before the pandemic, company culture meant the culture of the physical workplace. But now, it’s about work-life balance, well-being, flexibility, trust and fairness.

Talent management challenges

As with recruiting, it’s important for managers to be sensitive to people’s needs and show an understanding of the challenges everyone is facing. An ongoing focus on flexibility and allowing people the time to take care of their personal commitments is key. Your employees have likely shown you flexibility during these challenging times, so this is about reciprocation.

Employee well-being should also be a priority, and well-being programmes are a must-have for any employer. Just because we’re all adapting to post-pandemic life, and some of the challenges have waned, it doesn’t mean HR departments and managers can take a step back from this. The pandemic will have a long-term impact on people’s lives, and organisations should be prepared to support employees through that.

While the lines between work life and home life are continuously blurred as many employees work at least part time from home, working too many hours and burnout also need to be managed. Leaders and managers should be checking in with their teams regularly, and monitoring overtime. Breaks should be encouraged, holiday time should absolutely be taken, and coaching should be provided. Above all, the most important things when it comes to managing your people are compassion and sympathy.

Talent retention best practices

Talent retention isn’t easy, and the pandemic has only made it harder. But, there are steps you can take to ensure the people you hire are happy and want to stay with your organisation long term.

Find the right candidates

Finding candidates who will stay with your organisation relatively long term is ideal. A great indicator of that is how long they’ve stayed at their previous roles. But, ask questions about their time at each role. Maybe they were only there for two years, but they transitioned through a hiring freeze or other big changes with a company, and persevered.

As well, look for people who were involved in extracurriculars within their organisations or teams, like sport or event committees. Equally as important is finding candidates whose values are aligned with your organisation’s. Not only will this help progress your mission, but it will make that person feel more connected to the company and thus want to stay longer.

Invest in learning and development

Employee development and learning are essential. As well as promoting people from within and providing a path to more responsibility and compensation, it encourages people and helps them feel like they’re making a difference. This could include assessments, feedback and coaching. If your people need to develop their skills before they’re ready to progress, that’s where learning comes in.

Your organisation should have a culture of continuous learning, and you should be offering ample opportunities for your people to upskill. For example, within your People team, you should be providing them with access to programmes like the CIPD Level 3 Certificate in People Practice, or the CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Organisational Learning and Development. Investing in your employees this way will not only satisfy your organisation’s likely need for new skill sets, but also give your people room to grow and a reason to stay.

Offer competitive compensation

This might seem obvious, but if you aren’t offering potential employees and current employees competitive salaries, they will find them elsewhere. You should be regularly reviewing everyone’s pay to ensure you’re matching the industry standard, and that your salaries are equitable. Along with a competitive salary, you’ll also want to package in things like benefits, those aforementioned opportunities for development and any other additional perks you can. It isn’t always about a higher salary for everyone.

Ask your employees for feedback

This should involve a combination of many things, like conversations with HR, surveys, exit interviews and line manager feedback. When you ask your employees for feedback, you’ll not only get a better picture of what they expect and what’s going on with them, but you’ll also make it known that you value their opinions. In turn, you should openly and honestly communicate with your employees. Regular company-wide meetings with updates on successes (and failures) will remind everyone that they’re all on the same team, working towards the same goals.

Collect and use data

From that feedback, you’ll be left with a bunch of invaluable data. That data can help you get a wider view of your organisational culture, why people choose to stay and leave, and what you could be doing better as an HR function. You’ll be able to recognise patterns that you might not have expected, and even predict attrition and turnover. That’s essential knowledge if you’re trying to retain talent.

Future workforce trends

As we learn to live with the implications of the pandemic, a lot of organisations will shift their focus away from it and look towards the future. While the goal in the past was to just survive, now it will be on thriving. A big part of that is uniting your people and keeping everyone’s sights set on the future. Underlining the organisation’s values and sticking to them will be essential, and bringing people into the organisation who understand that will be key.

Companies will have to consider talent in a different way, looking beyond hard skills to softer ones, like agility and adaptability. Remember, choice isn’t limited for prospective employees, so you need to give them a reason to choose you.

About Avado

At Avado, we believe in unlocking potential and changing lives. Learning with us makes real, lasting change happen for individuals, and entire organisations. Through our connected learning experiences in Data, Marketing, People, and Agility, we can help you drive real change.

Going beyond just technical skills, our award-winning programmes help teams find success in an ever-evolving world. With a strong emphasis on the behavioural and mindset shifts needed to embed new capabilities, we’ll work together to develop leaders, teams and individuals through interactive learning experiences.

Tara MacInnis

Posted November 16, 2021