Recruiting After the Storm Subsides

Besides work and the economy, have you ever thought about how many other ways COVID-19 has impacted us?  It’s changed the way we do business, communicate, worship, shop, and even the way we greet one another.  When is the last time you actually shook someone’s hand? How long do you think it will take before people are even comfortable resuming more normal activities?

The way it has impacted business has been discussed ad nauseum, but there are some seldom discussed ramifications that will affect businesses significantly in the coming months and possibly years.  Many organizations have had to make difficult decisions and drastically reduce labor costs.  These decisions will have a long-lasting impact on employees’ trust and confidence in a company.  People losing their jobs may be bitter and the folks that remain employed may be wondering if they’ll be in the next round of cuts.  Even top talent may be questioning their job stability and begin a new career search.

Three Phases of a Storm

Sailing the stormy seas in an economic downturn is tough, but there are typically three phases to a storm.  The first phase is “preparation”.  This is when businesses start battening down the hatches.  Companies are often forced to plan and make arrangements to reduce cost during this phase.  This is where the toughest decisions are made. The second phase is “survival”, where everyone is focused on riding out the storm.  This is when plans are executed, and the remaining crew is just focused on getting through the darkest hours. The third phase begins after the first rays of sunshine break through the clouds.  This final phase is “recovery” and it’s when repairs are made, things are put back in place, and there is an attempt to resume normal operations.  Everyone is waiting for the recovery phase, but for many organizations, it will be the most difficult.

Ship Emerging From Storm

Why do companies struggle after they’ve made it through the storm and calmer seas lie ahead?  A lot of talent is lost during the preparation and survival phases, due to both downsizing and resignations.  Have you seen this before?  During the survival phase, so many companies are focused on getting through the storm and neglect planning to replenish their talent pool.  Many will be caught unprepared when customers finally return.  This can result in poor quality, late delivery, lost revenues and even worse… lost customers!

Preparing for Recovery

COVID-19 has many businesses in SURVIVE-20 mode, but they may be poorly prepared for the recovery phase.  There are a lot of unemployed people, so it should be easy to find talent… Right?  It’s important to realize what level of talent was furloughed or downsized.  Was it your top or bottom performers?  Who is going to be applying?  Brad Stemmler wrote a great piece on how applicant quantity doesn’t solve deficiencies by itself.  While there will certainly be some great talent available, most top performers will remained employed.  A large quantity of those people will have employment concerns, or be unhappy, and willing to entertain career opportunities with other companies.   Also, the “recovery” phase will bring a lot of competition for available talent as we’ve all weathered the same storm.

A large percentage of companies have not planned or aren’t set up to find and connect with the hidden top-talent.  This is when having a relationship with a retained search firm will be imperative to an organization’s recovery phase.  Executive search firms, like Executek Recruiting Partners, have the network and ability to find, engage, and attract top performers.  Planning correctly may mean you can actually emerge from the storm with a better crew than when you left port.

After SURVIVE-20, you can either REBUILD-21 or GROW-21.  If you want to GROW-21, include talent acquisition in your recovery planning now.  Better yet, engage with Executek before the recovery phase… You’ll be harnessing the wind in your sails while other companies are stuck in the doldrums still trying to patch-up with makeshift talent.

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