We are moving through unforeseen but interesting times.
The business world is fragmenting and reshaping itself under our feet as the pandemic accelerates existing trends like the rise of remote working and the slow death of traditional retail.
Whole new markets now exist, with new industries to serve them, while other companies have gone to the wall or drastically downsized.
However, those businesses that have prospered face a dilemma. Because of redundancies from other organisations there is potentially a large pool of available talent to draw on. Yet because the situation is so volatile it may be difficult to decide what roles are needed and which applicants will be the right choice.
Amid all this confusion it is useful to remember that some things have not changed. To achieve success it is still important to carefully establish exactly what roles are needed and which personal attributes are needed to perform them well. Then to use objective assessment methods to select the right person.
Successful HR teams often take the following five steps to cut through the confusion:
1) Understand yourself. Who are your customers? What will they look like in a year or two years’ time? What is your strategy and will it meet these needs? What is the culture of the business? Company culture and purpose are more important than ever. With the distraction of social lives and recreation stripped away and work becoming the central focus of our lives for the past year, many people have had plenty of time to reflect on whether they are satisfied with the work they are doing - and whether they share the same values as the people they work for and with. Companies need to assess whether their leadership models reflect business strategies and the kind of culture they want to foster.
2) What is the brand image of your organisation? How are you rated on platforms like Glassdoor, and what do people say about you on Twitter? If the answer to any of these questions is not as positive as you want are you willing to change the image of your company? Working from home has not only changed the way in which we interact, it has also caused many people to re-evaluate what they want from work, and what they are willing to accept.
3) Review roles. Do you really know what each job entails now, and have you thought about what will be needed in the future? Avoid making assumptions as what was needed and recruited for in the past may no longer be relevant. Similarly, speed up the recruitment process. You may want to decrease the number of stages or the time it takes to come to a decision. This can also help to retain good candidates.
4) Use modern methods. Attract candidates from as wide a pool as possible, using social media and other channels. Don’t just rely on subjective interviews. Use psychometric tests, personality questionnaires, structured interviews or other proven objective techniques which assess the qualities you want. Don’t be dazzled by the technology. Ask for the evidence that a new technique works. Ensure fairness and promote diversity - using objective selection tools will help. Ask a diverse range of people to evaluate your process.
5) Create a positive experience for unsuccessful applicants. In the short term, applicants can spread positive or negative views of your organisation to other candidates through areas such as social media. In the longer term they could be your customer or client, or a prospective candidate for another role. Treat them like human beings, keep them informed and offer feedback. And, above all, keep your selection process under review and open to change. Adapt the process as conditions and techniques move on – which they will.
Much of this is not new advice. Today’s fast-changing environment may make recruitment more complex but doing the groundwork, establishing what is needed and then using the best tools to measure these attributes will still pay dividends despite the pace of change.