With the COVID provoked economic shutdown, companies have hunkered down, reduced expenses or outright closed operations resulting in high levels of unemployment. But these are times unlike others. As the curve finally flattens and states fully reopen, there will be an unprecedented surge in hiring and a rush to the best talent. Are you prepared for the Great Rehire?
The Rainbow of Hope: A Strong People Strategy
While running global talent for the world’s largest staffing firm, I lived in Switzerland where you often heard a saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” It is not about the storm itself. It is about how we prepare and function within the storm that becomes important.
There really has not been much of a let up during the current storm. Most of the pandemic has been a steady downpour with very little respite from issues facing organizations on multiple fronts. But while there is still lightning and thunder everywhere, people are choosing their best rain gear and going out in the storm. Companies are going back to work in full force or are planning to return soon.
I believe the best way to weather the current situation is by investing in people. A solid people strategy lets you depend on your strongest human resources in the present and positions you to begin the hiring process of the top people to add to your team in the future.
For some companies, holding on to their best people may be a challenge because they are protecting money that is in short supply and have been forced to let people go. But if you have a rainy-day fund, use it to keep your top talent.
Why is retention of your top people so important – especially if you have the option of hiring new people once the market improves? When you are looking at tight budgets and determining where to trim, talent needs to be the last to go whenever possible. In these challenging times, your people strategy should primarily focus on retaining your strongest people, but it is also important to identify your weak areas and prepare to fill those positions. This is when you can turn to the outside to take advantage of those highly skilled and valuable passive candidates open to a move. I always think it is smart to have a small part of your people strategy involve bringing in a few new people from the outside to offer a fresh perspective and transfer best practices from other organizations.
Obviously, talented people are proficient at their jobs and bring value to the company in terms of their performance, but their role in your future success is important for a number of other reasons beyond simply producing. Good people make it easier for your company to grow as the market recovers and their value extends to other areas:
I always preach to hire for attitude and train for skill. If you have good people on your team, they build and solidify your culture. And your culture becomes your hiring brand. Especially in today’s digital environment, word travels fast about the culture of your organization. 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase. (Betterteam Blog 2017). Good talent that enhances the culture of your organization will enhance your hiring brand.
Increases Training and Development
Good talent offers opportunities for growth. If you have a strong people strategy in place, you have employees that you can develop into bigger roles. Additionally, you have people in place to offer modeling for new hires. Success is demonstrated to others. And being productive and successful doesn’t simply contribute to your bottom line, it adds energy to the entire team.
Makes Companies Nimble
Having a strong people strategy makes your organization more nimble. It allows you to grow quickly to capitalize on opportunities or adapt in leaner times. It gives you license to be creative and try new things because you have the talent to adjust to changes.
Helps Attract Top Talent
Good people want to work with good people. If you have retained good talent on your team throughout the pandemic, they will be beacons to others looking for jobs. When the rush for talent happens during the next few months, the best talent will seek out their own kind.
As we have stated throughout the series The Great Rehire, there is going to be a rush to talent in the near future as the market recovers. In our own survey, 67% of respondents said their companies are showing signs of recovery. That outlook translates into new jobs.
I speak with companies every day that are betting on talent. They are evaluating their current teams and developing a people strategy that positions them for growth. Over the last month, we have seen a spike in hiring. And even if they are not hiring now, companies are making plans to hire in Q1 or Q2. Two factors – COVID-19 and the election – and their impact on the economy, are the big influencers on hiring and its timing. While COVID-19 has obvious implications for businesses, our recent survey said that 25% believed that the election has a bigger impact on the economy than the pandemic. 50% of respondents said they are hiring now, while 50% are waiting until after the election to see the results and better gauge the impact to the economy.
Our prediction is that Q1 and Q2 are going to be huge rebound periods. In preparation, outfit your organization now with the best talent so that you are ahead of the rush to rehire. Because when the rain stops – and it will – you will have secured the people needed to help take you to the next level.
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The Great Rehire Series is written by talent expert, Rich Thompson, CEO of XPG Recruit, a recruiting firm for the staffing industry. He is also part of Xtra Point Group which offers consulting services focused on People Solutions that identify, secure, develop and retain the best talent.