As companies and candidates find their feet and focus in the next normal, challenges and opportunities abound. It’s a prime time for proactive HR managers to build teams that support companies through reconstruction and growth – the key lies in adaptability and the courage to change mind-set, course and culture.
Companies and HR leaders must rethink what they expect and reflect. From hybrid work models and employee wellness programmes to ramping up diversity and inclusion, the goalposts have shifted. As digital transformation accelerates, people-centric values like trust, transparency and purpose top candidates’ checklists, often trumping salary and benefits. In this ever-evolving reality, attracting top talent has become more complex, but can also be exponentially more rewarding – for all sides.
Raise the bar and lower the ceiling
In January 2020, none of us could have guessed the right answer to “Where do you see yourself a year or two from now?” But here we are. Brave business leaders and employees around the globe adapted swiftly and decisively to the pandemic, proving their capacity to make the seismic shift towards remote work. But now there’s another giant leap to make – from survival mode to restoration and growth. Within this new paradigm, a gap often emerges between the expectations of business leaders and those of candidates.
Digital transformation has intensified at warp speed and leaders are finding a spectrum of solutions at their fingertips. Automation and AI offer tantalizing opportunities for growth, but workers often fear that tech will trump their security and skills. It’s vital that companies – and recruiters – explain their digital strategy (even if it’s still experimental), position themselves as “people-first” and clarify the role of tech as an enabler, not a replacement for talent. Offering training is a keyway to show candidates that a company believes in balance and care enough to invest in people.
Create a virtuous circle of trust
Attracting outstanding candidates starts with clearly stating expectations and goals – from the moment the job ad goes live. Cultivating long-term relationships relies on building a virtuous circle of trust and transparency from first impression. We often hear employers make promises during interviews that they can't keep.
It’s also important for leaders and HR managers to learn why employees left, or want to leave their last post and to make a “note to selves” to avoid the same scenario. Jumping ship is often related to sense of purpose and value. For 96.5% of employees surveyed by Page Personnel, the relationship with superiors and colleagues is the key driver when considering a move, followed by recognition for their work (95.9%) and work life balance (87.4%).
Flexibility, the newest trend everyone talks about
During the pandemic, remote work yielded surprising productivity and engagement for many organizations. But many workers felt the side effects. More than 8 in 10 (83.4%) of employees interviewed by Page Personnel in 2020 insisted on their need for greater work-life balance.
Companies who respond to their employees’ concerns are likely to achieve stronger productivity performance. Change is inevitable according to 70% of employees surveyed by Page Personnel, who believe that the COVID-19 crisis will impact their career expectations and options. Showing candidates that a company will respond to their needs – through wellness or financial support programmes, confidential counselling services or empathic leadership – is a huge draw.
Hiring without borders
If there’s a silver lining of the next normal, it’s that it enables companies to practice greater diversity and inclusion. Leaders and hiring managers can enrich the talent, perspectives and capacity of their teams – and firmly tick their CSR boxes – by being open to candidates from other backgrounds, generations or sectors that they might not previously have considered.
Faced with ongoing uncertainty, hiring managers must also think several moves ahead and predict the skills they may need in the future. Companies and candidates often hone in on high-end digital skills, but soft skills are proving to be the Swiss army knife of the next normal, EQ is as vital as IQ, and smart leaders are also hiring candidates who excel in problem-solving, coordination, conflict resolution and resilience – skills we’ll all need in our back pocket as we move from this normal to the next.
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