Now that we’re in phase 2 of the recovery and getting back to work, when it comes to talent, you may feel like you’ve shifted from looking for water in a desert to finding a needle in a haystack. Both are time consuming and require the right resources. Both also offer the opportunity to reevaluate how you operate and come up with better strategies to find and keep good people.
Even if hiring is at a full stop for you at the moment, your recruiting efforts should continue as always. Hiring and recruiting are not at all the same thing. Don’t let high unemployment fool you into thinking your perfect candidate will be easy to find. We still see skill gaps and talent scarcity in many industries and geographic areas. In addition, Covid is likely shining a light on any gaps you have in talent, and perhaps in leadership, as we see how people behave and perform under stress. Successful recovery from the diverse challenges this pandemic has created will be largely based on the people you have on your team. It is mission critical that you continuously recruit people with both skills and cultural fit so you can hire them immediately when the time is right.
Deloitte put it well in a recent article published in Harvard Business Review: “The biggest challenge organizations will likely face in recovery is the tension between getting back to work and rethinking work as they embrace a new reality.” Phase 1 was about safety and responsibility, which may even have meant shutting down temporarily. In phase 2, businesses face uncertainties in every direction: the economy, the markets, and workplaces themselves. What you do or don’t do, and the people making decisions and carrying them out, will affect your productivity and profits long into the future. Top talent has always defined business success, and companies that continuously recruit are a step ahead of everyone else. Business continuity has always been dependent on people continuity, in good times and challenging ones.
Use Both Head and Heart
Because one size does not fit all, every business must figure out its unique way through phase 2 recovery, using both head and heart. Focusing on these three areas will give you a good start from a head perspective:
- Stabilize. What’s your break-even number? What are your inputs and outputs? What are your financial resources and how much cash is available now?
- Grow. How, when, where, and why? Which employees and clients are your best resources? What will inspire them?
- Reset. Reforecast to the present and consider both worst and best scenarios. Be brave enough to look at the good, bad, and ugly of today’s reality. What is best for you, your employees, and your clients?
Empathy, being able to step into another’s shoes, is the essence of “heart.” It means listening for the unspoken, making certain everyone feels heard, and being transparent. In making workplace changes, remember that every employee comes to work as a whole person who needs understanding and renewed hope now more than ever. Employees are counting on the wisdom and expertise of leadership to reestablish a sense of security and normalcy.
Vibhas Ratanjee, a lead consultant for Gallup, says healthcare workers need to know leaders have their back. They should cultivate holistic employee wellbeing to shield workers from burnout and promote exceptional performance during the Covid-19. Good advice for all of us.
Phase 2 is a time for courage and change. The decisions you make can make it easier to attract and retain the top talent you need to fully recover.