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How COVID-19 Will Impact HR/Talent Acquisition and What You Need to be Thinking About Now!

If you are an HR or Talent Acquisition professional, the COVID-19 crisis has either made you dispensable due to hiring freezes/layoffs, unsure of where your path will lead, or for companies who are thriving, the most important part of the organization.

HR and Talent Acquisition professionals are going to be the ones called upon to be the people’s voice in the company, to help leaders navigate these uncharted territories as to how to move forward and set new policies for when we return to a “new normal.” And for those of you who have been laid off, if you’re interviewing, be prepared to speak to how you will be an asset to an organization in these challenging times, bringing fresh ideas to the table given the circumstances.

Some topics HR/Talent Acquisition professionals should be thinking about and be prepared to speak to in an interview or at their firm:

  1. Talent Acquisition and Talent Brand: Recruitment will forever be changed by this crisis – how will you as a professional make it the best possible experience with internal stakeholders and candidates is key. What will the candidate experience and onboarding process look like? What will hiring processes look like? During the shelter in place orders no one is meeting in person, those orders will eventually be lifted, yet the discomfort of getting close to people will likely still be there for a while – how do you adjust? What will replace the handshake that has forever been (to many people) the first impression of someone’s candidacy? Talent brand will need to be updated – what will set your company’s culture apart and excite candidates to want to work at your firm? There is no one right answer, but these are questions to start thinking about so that you are prepared to demonstrate your adaptability and your ability to be forward-thinking.
  2. Talent Retention & Development: Beyond finding great people, how will you now keep these people engaged? Some companies have strong and robust online learning tools, others may want to think about investing in them given the sensitivity around being in large groups, at least in the short term. How will strong performance be recognized even from a distance? With people home, there is more time and flexibility to update a resume/take calls (although less of an opportunity to meet companies in person) – you don’t want to lose your best people because you don’t have a plan on how to grow your people.
  3. Safety: Ideas on how to speak to new safety protocols will be critical. Once we “go back to work” it will be important for employees to feel safe. There are ideas floating around about creating A&B employee groups so there are fewer people in the office or reconfiguring offices to spread people out. Also, creating light switches and doors that don’t require touch but have motion sensors. It will be imperative for these details to be thought out.
  4. Health/Benefits: Companies will need to demonstrate that health is a #1 priority for its workers if it will want to attract top talent and comply legally. The COVID-19 crisis has reminded everyone that we can’t take our health for granted and in order to stay healthy it’s imperative to put effort into keeping ourselves mentally and physically healthy. I could see HR professionals having a focus on creating or building on company programs/benefits that demonstrate an investment in its employees’ health such as offering paid memberships to at-home fitness apps or meditation apps as well as company programming sharing insights from health professionals. Pre-COVID crisis it wasn’t unusual to work long hours, however, this may have become a reality check – without health, nothing else matters and the culture of long hours may no longer be acceptable to talented professionals.
  5. Policies: Company handbooks and policies will need to be rewritten. Companies are getting to see how their workforce works from home, some professionals love it, some hate it, and some find themselves in between. What’s clear is that it will be hard to tell someone they can’t work from home in the future once we are back in our offices. What will the WFH policy look like? Will the vacation policy change? What about sick days and the stigma around “calling out sick.” Will there be policies around what information should be in writing versus over the phone while we are still WFH. This is just the tip of the iceberg but all areas that HR/Talent professionals need to think about.

The Point: While the COVID-19 crisis has presented brutal challenges and horrible situations, it has become an opportunity for all business professionals, especially HR/Talent Acquisition professionals to hit a bit of a reset button and reprioritize for what will be a new normal. It’s important to think about the above topics whether you are looking for a new job or tasked with being a people champion in your current role.

We want to hear from you – if you are an HR or Talent Acquisition professional, what unique challenges are you being faced with during the COVID-19 crisis?

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