Attracting, keeping, and unlocking talent in unpredictable times…should you put building your talent pipeline on hold?
As we enter another month of the ongoing global pandemic, we must assess if the opportunity for building one’s talent pipeline and progressing talent through the recruiting process should be accelerated? It is critically important that companies are ready to move ahead as the economy pivots. Developing a talent pipeline and recruiting is imperative in the current global economic climate. Candidates understand that there may be a delayed start date; but for many of the most qualified candidates, they have spent much of the past few months evaluating what is important to them and who they really want to work with and for.
The most strategic companies are moving forward, responsibly and deliberately, with a clear intention not to simply survive, but thrive. These companies have spent time assessing their leadership talent and put a deliberate focus to ensure that recruiting and developing a talent pipeline does not suffer the same contraction that other parts of their business are experiencing by leveraging technology and time.
Below are some suggested best practices by organizations are operating with a strategic focus to continue to move forward:
Responsible leaders and the businesses they lead have been first to acknowledge the very real health, welfare, and economic consequences created by this global pandemic. They have been following the recommendations and requirements issued by the government while consulting with public health and medical experts in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable who are particularly at risk. We all have a shared obligation to apply social distancing and appropriate quarantine protocols.
Focus on the present while planning for the future
Effective leaders and candidates are focused on what they can control and effect. The pandemic has created a rapid-fire environment where decision-makers are constantly exposed to new developments, public policy changes, legislative interventions, and statistics that need to be evaluated to guide their decisions. They are leading from the front with calm encouragement and direction to their teams while exhibiting a pragmatic focus on cash flow management and on the well-being of staff, suppliers, and customers as they grow or pivot their businesses. Even in the midst of the uncertainty that requires daily adjustments, they are already beginning to project their vision of the opportunities that lie ahead. The most successful businesses are focused on nimble working teams to continue their growth while others are planning for a fast re-start, once it is appropriate. They are reviewing all aspects of their business models, including staffing, supply chain, and go-to-market strategies to prepare for growth and expansion post-pandemic.
Timing is everything.
With today’s restrictions on travel and work from home models, many desirable target candidates are now more accessible. Do not forget that most often the best candidates are passive; they always have options, and this may be the best time to reach them. It is easier to schedule discreet video-based interviews with highly desired candidates who are more likely to have the time and the ability to consider new opportunities.
The challenge of postponing recruitment
In the current operating environment, many companies are finding it a challenge to start or onboard new employees, but the current and anticipated needs for some firms are urgent. And innovative companies are finding ways to start new employees utilizing technology or new innovative ways to practice social distancing in the workplace. It is very important to search for talent now rather than waiting for the hiring pause to be lifted post-pandemic and find out it’s too late to access the best candidates because they have already been closed and are ready to begin a new position.
Now is the time to solidify your recruiting partnership.
Now is the time to be working with your recruiting partner to develop and curate a pipeline of prospective candidates, especially for critical jobs including executive roles; specialized functional roles such as food and personal safety and sales and marketing; and operational leadership –essential roles for companies that do not want to fall behind in the war for talent. The partnership between your business and your recruiting partner must remain focused on creating differentiation between the position at your firm and your competitors to allow you to access the best talent for any given role. It is critical your search partner knows your business culture and your business sector, so they are able to present your company in the best light to the most qualified candidates and ensure that your company is the smart choice for the discerning candidate.
If professionals are taking time to calibrate their enthusiasm and commitment to current work and employers, then no leader can neglect their responsibility to maintain and develop the trust and loyalty of their existing teams. Unwanted attrition, especially of your most talented and critical resources, is the costliest to offset. The expense to backfill high performing employees can often cost more than 50% – 75% of the employee’s base salary. At this point, the distinction between hiring and recruiting should be clear. If you’ve made the decision to seize this moment and perform a talent health check on your existing team and resources, then upgrading talent or planning to fill open positions can overshadow the responsibility to care, coach and demonstrate your gratitude for the existing team that is in place diligently serving your customers and business. No amount of focus on recruiting or advantage created over your competitors can offset unwanted attrition, especially of your most talented and critical resources.