It’s hard to predict when the economy will bounce back again, but at some point, businesses will need to hire for positions that were let go during the pandemic, or for new positions as a result of pivots that were made during the pandemic. Only this time, the talent pools have now shifted from talent scarcity to one with potentially high unemployment and a remote working environment

So, how can we plan for recruitment post-COVID-19? The good news is there are some things you can start doing now to prepare:

Implement a succession plan

COVID-19 has negatively impacted small businesses across most industries, what we have found is that a crucial element of running a successful business has not been implemented by most SMEs – that is, succession planning. Businesses should have a succession plan in place in order to manage and plan for those future unknowns, for example if a key leader was to resign or if the “hands on” Owner was to become sick. Larger organisations tend to have succession plans in place, so why are smaller businesses not documenting these? What happens when there is an emergency? Or a pandemic? Who will make the decisions? It’s vital to have these contingency plans clearly set out and articulated in order to achieve the long-term objectives of the business. 

Streamline with technology

In the post-COVID world remote recruiting (or e-recruiting) will be here to stay.  Video interviews will allow business owners to screen more candidates in less time, quickly showing it is the preferred viable, and more efficient option. Remote recruiting via Zoom allows for flexibility around yours and the candidate schedules, especially if they are still employed. Most candidates would have become accustomed to remote work, and they will be looking for businesses that have stepped up and are incorporating new technology like Zoom, OfficeVibe for regular employee feedback, for project management or us at Positive HR for your online on-boarding and performance management 

Build your talent pipeline

With Australia’s unemployment rate at its highest, and the recent announcement of a recession, it is a great opportunity to build your talent pipeline and even start hiring now. In some of our recent conversations with small business owners we have heard the line “but I can’t recruit yet because I don’t know what is going to happen” – yes there is still uncertainty but if you don’t start building that pipeline now, it may be too late by the time your business re-opens and rebuilds to fill those key positions with top talent. By having proactive conversations with talent now, you will be in a position to put out offers the moment you receive the news that you can re-open. You will then have your workforce ready to return to work whilst your competitors are just beginning their hiring process. 

Alongside building your pipeline it is important to focus on your business branding and how this is being portrayed to future employees. We recommend focusing on your marketing initiatives and social media activity. You want to be generating a “buzz” on your business, promote your core values, showcase your employees and voice the workplace benefits.

Be known as an employer of choice

The pandemic has increased open and transparent communication with employees, and has shed light on the business owners, managers and leaders that have adopted the important role of providing continuous support and guidance. Employees have become more mindful of employer benefits and a culture of strong leadership. When it comes to looking for a great place to work or an employer of choice, people will now have structured ideas about the sorts of benefits and support they want and need. 

COVID-19 has impacted all facets of society and people in varying ways. It has been understandable during times like this, people have felt afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing climate and business operations. This has found business owners in a crucial position where you need to pay close attention to mental health and anxiety in the workplace. We recommend ensuring your policies are up-to-date, conducting regular employee check-ins and creating an R U OK? Culture to break the stigma of mental illness.

Trust your employees to work remotely

For a number of business owners and managers moving to remote work meant giving up control and this was an uncomfortable challenge they continued to resist. With the majority of employees now Government instructed to work remotely, COVID-19 has proven to many businesses that employees that are trusted can be more productive at home than in the workplace. When employees feel trusted they conform to the values and desired practices of the business and tend to exhibit the actions you want to see. This positive behaviour will lead to a culture of high performance and to your business outcomes being achieved faster. 

The businesses that will be best-equipped for hiring are the ones that master the art of remote work and trusting your employees. Organisations can be proactive by developing training methods to translate their in-person skills to the online world and investing in building trust.

Revisit your HR policies, contracts and documents

It’s time to revisit your HR policies, contracts and documents. For example, do you have a  remote work agreement? If not, it’s time to implement one. After consulting with your employees, your HR documents are crucial to document the mutual agreement on expectations that are required to be delivered when working remotely. You should run mini workshops to your employees re highlighting your code of conduct and enforcing its purpose even in a remote working environment. Involve your employees and ask for their input in developing a communications strategy, how will remote teams stay connected? What software or platforms (like slack) will be used? 

With employees having to adjust to individual and family circumstances, and the typical 9am-5pm working day no longer the “norm”, these documents will provide clarity on when the employee is working and when they are in family or personal time. Without clarity you may be left asking yourself “why are they not responding” at 10am when that is actually “non-work time”. 

Use the quiet periods like now to streamline your HR operations and documents.   

Need HR assistance? We’re here to help 

Don’t have on-site HR assistance but have a burning question? Positive HR can help. We provide HR advice tailored to your business, so you can focus on the big picture and grow your business. Visit our outsourced HR page for more information.