I know. It is hard to imagine that there is anything positive coming from the increasing presence and impact of COVID-19. But as it has been said, “in the trying times and the good times, life is just doing what life does. How we use these moments is how we create or give up value.”
Knowing we will survive this pandemic because we are smart, resilient and tenacious, we should also be focused on what things will be like after we move past this challenge. What decisions should we be making now with an eye to the future? What new information do we have in this moment that can affect our future?
So as other organizations struggle to keep their teams employed, an opportunity presents itself. There are many talented people now unemployed because of COVID-19. How do you want to use this moment to expand your talent pipeline and locate talent that will help today or in the future?
Not all industries are furloughing or laying talent off. If your workplace could benefit from this surprise talent surplus, or if you see the rebound coming soon, it is important to approach this period wisely and methodically.
- Commit to building a talent pipeline. Talent acquisition and development should always be directed by a strategy. Review your current staff. Review your future talent needs. Ensure you have a plan that provides the organization with the right number and performance levels needed to provide the service vision and deliver the planned results.
- Create a performance profile on each role. A performance profile summarizes what the job does and the behaviors, skills, education and experience of someone who would do it well. Most organizations miss this step. Instead of crafting a performance profile, they use outdated job descriptions that don’t clearly identify the success attributes in the job. This makes it difficult to inform the world what you are looking for when hiring, and more difficult to successfully interview and assess candidates. Spend time clearly defining the role and its success attributes, and all other parts of the hiring process will be both easier and more effective. In today’s world, with a sudden greater amount of talent on the market, it is important that you are clear about what you want and need, or your hiring process will bring in the wrong people.
- Expand your website to include a career center and employment opportunities. Nearly 75% of today’s workforce job hunts online (and on their phones). To get the attention of today’s talent, every organization should have a mobile-friendly online career center that does the following:
- Attracts job seekers by getting their attention through videos, community presence, job fairs or other means.
- Informs job seekers what the organization believes and does, what each role does and how the jobs add value to the organization (i.e. purposeful work).
- Engages job seekers by providing something of value (white paper, information, fast track job consideration, access to a talent assessment, etc.) in exchange for their email to be able to stay in touch. Today’s layoffs have created far more intentional job seekers. Getting them to leave their name and contact information should be easier.
- Assesses job seekers who leave information by encouraging them to submit a resume and respond to key performance or skill questions so you have a preliminary idea of their skills and core abilities. This makes it easier to determine which candidates may be the best fit as roles become available.
- Redefine the interview process. We quickly left a period where organizations were desperate for talent, and were therefore willing to relax some of the role requirements to get talent to come on board. Now, it is important to refocus on hiring for fit – both for the role and the organizational cultural. Use this time of scrambling workplaces to rethink how you interview and who on your team is involved. Develop the prove-it-to-me approach in your interviews by including more activities and more proof of performance abilities, particularly in remote environments. Also, be aware that more of your interviews may need to be remote, which means you will have to redesign your interviews to ensure they allow you to continue to be effective at assessing and evaluating candidates.
A changed world means a change to some of the things we habitually do. Times like these provide an interruption, showcasing our outdated and ineffective habits when it comes to hiring. Consider the benefits to adopting more effective ways to define, source and interview talent in a way that identifies and connects with those who fit both the role and the culture.
Every organization should have an opportunity-focused mindset when it comes to talent. Since it is the driver of everything in the workplace, it is critical to continually review, assess and modify anything that will improve your ability to create and implement a process that consistently and successfully hires the right employees, even in the middle of COVID-19.
Create an objective to assess the increase in talent available in the workplace. What is the supply of available talent in your market? Review the roles where you require new talent or a change in talent. Even if you don’t actually hire at the moment, consider the improvements you can make to your process of defining, sourcing and interviewing. Doing so now will put you a step ahead of the competition; when the workplace and world rebounds, you will be ready to take advantage of the available great talent that was laid off during the pandemic.
The best people released to the workplace with be snatched up in a hurry. Be sure you know what you are looking for and you are ready to get it when things turn around.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading You Can’t Manage the People You Don’t Know