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Hiring, Onboarding and Accessing Talent in the midst of the Covid-19 Crisis

26 March 2020

The current business environment caused by the spread of Covid-19 has created numerous difficulties for businesses, however, there are still areas where business hires need to be made and new challenges have arisen in relation to recruitment, hiring and on-boarding. 

Managing this requires realignment on established processes and a fresh way of thinking.

For many companies this means redesigning their recruitment process and being innovative with their on-boarding of new hires. We are seeing clients utilising video interviewing tools for first round screening and moving all face to face interviews to Skype/Zoom/Teams etc. It is still possible to conduct group interviews, have applicants complete online assessments and still be able to assess cultural fit etc albeit done in front of a screen rather than in person.

In these challenging times cultural fit is more important than ever and allowing new hires a window into what their working day will look like will help aid the induction and bedding-in period and ultimately impact the success rates of any new starters. Facilitating informal online conversations with other team members will ensure that prospective employees can hear directly how the company culture is being brought to life and how team meetings/task setting and overall collaboration is being handled.

Virtual induction is absolutely possible but the risk of failure is also higher given the fact that even long-standing employees are still coming to grips with the changes that working from home  can bring. The over-riding advice regarding remote working is even more relevant for new starters to allow them the opportunity to feel part of a team and to offer transparency in terms of expectations, accountabilities and responsibilities. The key factors include:

  • Communication – Ensure team meetings are regular and that the cameras are on! Keeping face to face communication ongoing is vital and even more so for new hires. The key rule here is to over-communicate, schedule more frequent meetings than you would normally have to allow for the loss of informal conversations that happen in a more traditional office environment. Include time for non-work related conversations, create a daily coffee break / water cooler team meeting where colleagues can catch up and share stories. This is what will allow your culture to continue to live on regardless of working arrangements.
  • Collaboration – Ensure that new hires are fully trained on all of your internal systems and processes. The quick hacks and tips that someone can share when you are physically sitting beside them should not be lost because of remote working. Setting up a buddy system can benefit new starters, allowing them to ask non- essential questions in a safe/informal setting. Scheduling time to allow shadow learning is also a great way to facilitate informal learning that may not be covered in a structured induction training programme.
  • Clarity – Ensure that new hires are given clear deliverables and check in frequently to ensure they are on track to achieve these and more importantly work through any obstacles to success. For both employers and employees this is a challenging time so ensure everyone is clear on the plan and has the opportunity to highlight any issues, concerns or barriers.

We are encouraging clients to continue to hire for their business essential roles but also to build their talent pipeline for roles that may not have immediate start dates. The pool of available talent is growing as unfortunately staff are being laid off or have had travel plans cancelled. This is the time to source, interview, screen and engage with available talent to ensure that you are ahead of the tide when the current crisis subsides. Potential candidates are aware that they may be interviewed but not immediately hired and there is an understanding of the business uncertainty that we are all facing but companies that put a hard hold on their recruitment may be in a tougher position when the market bounces back and they are facing real competition in finding talent. The war for talent has not come to an end and now is the time to strengthen your pool of future candidates.

At BDO Talent Management we can offer advisory services for companies that are realigning their existing recruitment processes. In addition, we have a team of experienced and qualified accounting professionals who are available for short and long term projects to facilitate companies who need immediate additional resources.