What does the future of recruitment look like? How can companies adapt their HR strategies to the current events and their consequences?
We’ve sat down (remotely) with several of our customers and partners to discuss and share their view on the post-COVID-19 world and hiring.
There are situations, however unexpected and overwhelming, that can become opportunities to reflect on our habits and how we view the world. We saw the confinement as an opportunity to discuss about the future of HR and recruiting with a few of our clients to imagine together what could be done to improve our current ways of working, and how we could move forward. We’re happy to share with you the highlights of those talks.
#1. Employer branding as a strategic focus
One thing that makes a strong employer brand so powerful is the impact it has through all the communication tools put in place by companies. As important as career sites are, meeting candidates and getting to know them face-to-face, especially young graduates, is a key step in the recruiting process. Recruiting is a profoundly human job by definition. However, COVID-19 has already majorly changed the situation. For HR managers, it is clear that job fairs and campus events will no longer be possible and digital forums and events will replace those happenings. Additionally, companies have a health and sanitary responsibility towards their employees and this may become a point talent pay attention to, the same way they can towards social and environmental responsibility.
#2. Recruitment has been disrupted but not reinvented
All the clients we discussed with during this focus group agree that recruitment processes will inevitably be more digitalized in the future. Indeed, an increasing number of time-consuming tasks are being automated through digital tools. However, very few believe that carrying out entire remote interviews on the long-term is viable. It remains a great solution to speed-up processes and improves the talent experience, but meeting candidates in real life is an experience that cannot be replaced.
When it comes to applications, the HR professionals we spoke to, expect a wave of applicants in the coming months caused by massive layoffs and furloughs. Finding top talent will therefore require more effort, highlighting the importance of efficient and effective CV parsing and pre-selection processes. Pre-selection criteria might also be narrowed to help with this new challenge. Following this logic, remote on-boarding will develop.
Finally, for companies unable to hire short-term, talent nurturing is turning out to be a solution to maintain a relationship with candidates and prepare for the upturn.
#3. Internal mobility on the front line
The COVID-19 crisis resulted in financial difficulties leading to hiring freeze for many companies. But how long will it last? The recruiters, HR managers and directors we spoke to believe looking for skills in-house is the solution to fill skills gap. Internal mobility was mentioned as one of the most important HR trends to follow and to come out of the pandemic. The participants said they plan to push internal applications more and will develop their internal mobility programs. However, few companies are really equipped, and internal mobility is still informal and not very well processed. As for the opening of external positions, it will be exclusively dedicated to finding talent with skills that cannot be found or upskilled within the company, and for which the training process would be too long or too costly.
#4. Adapting and anticipating the skills gap thanks to workforce planning
Workforce planning is a strategy that usually follows four main steps:
Identifying future skill requirements
Evaluating skills present and available in the company
Analyzing skills levels and gaps
Defining what action need to be taken: training/internal mobility/external hiring
Thus, in the face of the many transformations to come - changes in business priorities, skills gaps, flexibility and adaptability of the profiles required - the majority of our focus group participants mentioned prioritizing internal training to prepare teams for the future and anticipate the skills gap. This is the case for sales teams, particularly for the development of remote selling skills as well as on-site sales. But the most frequently mentioned training are for management teams, which are the pivotal point of a company's transformation. Indeed, the Covid-19 crisis has led to particularly strong difficulties in managing teams working remotely. Training managers to lead remotely will become a focus for the coming months for the companies we spoke to.
On the other hand, recruitment budgets will most certainly be revised downwards, leaving the main part to existing employees who will benefit from training to develop their skills. Upskilling and reskilling are two terms that will be increasingly used by HR managers. The former refers to training designed to increase and update skills in a context of evolving jobs, while the latter refers to the training of employees to help them acquire new skills, with a view to changing professions.
However, in order to implement relevant training strategies, it is essential to have good visibility on the skills available in the teams today. The clients present told us that few companies are able to identify precisely which skills are available and which ones they will need tomorrow.
The main takeaways we gather from this focus group are the growing role of HR in organizations and specifically Learning & Development departments, as well as managers and their effort to lead teams remotely and to adapt fast to unexpected change. As the world becomes even more digital, one thing doesn't change: human relationships remain at the center of everything.
We would like to thank our clients who participated in this exchange and shared their view on the future of HR, post-COVID-19.