“Time can sometimes reveal a very different story. Things that we thought were terrible, turn out to be blessings in disguise”, shared Kevin Delaney, VP, Learning and Development, LinkedIn, as he spoke about the “5 essentials for bouncing back” at Impact, a virtual conference hosted by LinkedIn.
Enabling the attendees to keep perspective on the big picture and on the possibilities as the global community of work navigates the new now of work, Delaney highlighted that this is the time to build skills so we are ready to succeed when opportunity comes knocking at the door. And to be able to do that, he recommended five rules to keep in mind:
- Keep getting up
- Keep moving
- Keep learning
- Keep trying
- Keep perspective
He went on to share an inspiring quote by a military veteran, SSgt Johnny Joey Jones, who lost his legs in an IED explosion and got back to living life with all the courage and optimism, “People ask how I stay so positive after losing my legs..I simply ask how they stay so negative with theirs.”
As business and HR leaders when you begin to find pieces of the puzzle, the complete picture of which you haven’t seen yet and probably cannot visualize by yourself, it is important to keep the above rules in mind. Several organizations have made life-altering decisions for their workforce in recent times. Some were forced, some in panic, and some simply to sustain and save what they can, with a majority of them still acknowledging that when they begin to recover, talent is what they will need to scale and thrive.
So how are organizations preparing for the recovery phase? What plans are they implementing? What focus areas are they prioritizing as they move forward to reboot talent for tomorrow? What does the workforce planning look like? With talent constituting an important element of sustenance and recovery, how does it impact recruitments? How do these rules apply to talent? Let’s find out.
The need to reboot as a recruiter
In a session at the virtual conference Impact on “Rebounding and rebooting as a recruiter”, Carmen Hudson, Principal Consultant, Recruiting Toolbox, said, “It’s important to acknowledge what’s taken place in the last few months, and that what’s happened will likely change the way we recruit, the people we recruit, the mix of employees we have in our organization. All of that has likely been changed forever.” And she couldn’t have been more right.
Speaking of the need for recruiters to step up, Carmen says that recruiters should be talent advisors, not just order takers.
“It’s important for us to step up and actually contribute to those conversations, to actually bring the data that’s needed to make decisions, to actually lead those conversations and help our organizations think this through.”
There is no doubt that the circumstances make it imperative to have all hands on-board. You have been making decisions all through 2020 to keep your company in business and optimize costs, and now it’s time to begin thinking about the next phase, if you haven’t already. This next phase will rely significantly on your talent strategies - acquisition, management, retention, as well as attraction, or in other words, your employer branding.
“This is a great opportunity to leave behind old-fashioned practices that aren’t serving us well and won’t serve us well in the future environment. This is a great opportunity to lead the conversation, introduce new methods, new efficiencies, throw out what’s not working and redesign the entire process,” suggests Carmen. Sharing how some people are concerned about how to recover from significant business losses, she recommends a few focus areas to build the right talent experience to push through the current times:
- Redesigning the hiring process with data: Hiring remained frozen for a majority of organizations since COVID took over. However, we can now see organizations stabilizing and looking to hire again, even if at a gradual speed. Talent acquisition teams must make use of this time to build effective strategies from the scratch, supported and built with the help of data. Right from screening to interviews to attribute assessment and competency tests, recruiters must ensure to minimize any overlap between different stages of the hiring process. This will help cut down on man hours invested by both candidates and recruiters in the entire process.
- Candidate Experience: With the change in landscape for the job market and massive layoffs, there will likely be an increase in the number of applications for open positions with greater accessibility to talent, given expansion of the talent pool owing to remote working will. This adds responsibility on recruiters to ensure a seamless experience for both existing and potential talent pipelines.
“You want to ensure that everyone you interact with understands who you are as an employer, and thinks of you as a company”. This is where recruiters step in and step up.
- Candidate communication: Candidate communication is key in current times, as critical as internal communication in organizations. With all hiring taking place virtually, job seekers are bound to have questions about what specific policies organizations have with respect to health, benefits and infrastructure, on account of COVID-19. Health benefits are increasingly becoming a deal-breaker for talent today as they compare different employers. It is key to communicate what your organization is doing to cater to these aspects, and not just communicate but check if they understand what you mean.
- Ensure you communicate the most accurate information to candidates, rethink and rewrite JDs evolving with changing times, explain timeliness and communication and provide them with resources to understand your company. Additionally, provide job search resources that might not relate with your company. Seek feedback, stick to committed timelines, keep communication channels open and build a rapport with the market, not just the candidates who clear the screening stage. With evolving job roles, you never know the skills you might hire for a week, two weeks or a month down the line.
- Build a culture of recruiting: To be able to build this culture it is essential to shift the mindset from meeting numbers to addressing talent needs effectively. “What are some of the metrics that you need as a recruiter to show up as an advisor to the organization? What should the future workforce look like? What should the mix look like - internal and external?,” - these questions Carmen suggests will help scale and align the organization to the overarching talent vision and goals.
With transparency and efficiency in the hiring process, recruiters can enable an internal culture of recruiting, by being talent advisors not just to the leadership, but to individual department heads and functional heads.
- Talent sharing networks: Popular in the part-time employee segment, talent sharing networks are basically softwares to enable companies in close geographic proximity to share their labor, especially those looking to pick extra work. With a vast population of the workforce now exploring the gig working model and seeking extra work for extra income, such networks work well both for employers as well as employees. Leverage latest tools and technologies to share your talent pool with other organizations, thereby improving the situation for the labor market, as well as getting access to a bigger talent pool.
Why employer branding matters now more than ever
So you reworked on your talent strategy, but is that enough? You have a decent pipeline and are working on the identified talent pool. What about the talent that remains untapped still? What about the external communication that goes out to potential talent about your organization? Is your communication and that of your organization’s social media presence in sync?
In another session of Impact, Amir Moini, Manager, Employer Branding, Netflix and Marquise McCoy, Program Manager, Employer Branding, Netflix share their insights on how they are constantly evolving employer branding at Netflix to stay relevant, authentic and considerate of the multifaceted challenges we co-exist with.
Branding in essence is content and communication. This content needs to be tailor-made to suit the needs of the potential talent pool, with takeaways and meaningful associations. Moini and McCoy talk about why it is essential to revisit employer branding strategy in a virtual world.
“There is a need to shift your approach. A shift that is relevant in the current context and focuses on factors like authenticity, courage, community, unity and joy. Quality over quantity. Prioritize content that gives back,” shared the speakers as they highlighted that while we are in the same storm, we are not in the same boat.
“Be mindful of everything you are posting and how it resonates with each person and their different experiences.”
COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the globe in similar yet distinct ways. While the essence of being confined to their homes holds true for all, some are experiencing this confinement with families, some with flatmates, and some all by themselves. Some are able to leverage the saved commute time for baking and exploring hobbies, while others struggle to find time as they invest the extra hours in looking after their kids and attending to chores. While some access social media to find out how their peers and network are navigating the new reality, the rest just need a break from theirs.
With such contrasting existence, it is crucial to be sensitive and considerate in the messaging one puts out.
“Approach with empathy and inspiration, but not naive positivity. Not everything has to be about new reality. Sometimes people just want a break.”
All in all, talent management isn’t just how you manage the workforce on your payroll, it encompasses the entire talent ecosystem that has access to information and possible career opportunities at your organization. It is time to reboot your talent strategies, align them with the driving forces of today, step up and step in conversations through meaningful contribution, and ensure you communicate it all in an authentic and compassionate manner to let the world know what your brand stands for.
Get your all-access pass here to view the panel discussions and more that were a part of the virtual conference ‘LinkedIn Impact 2020’.