Workforce planning in 2020: How has COVID-19 shaped the “new normal” of hiring?

06/09/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has many wondering what our work environments and workforces will look like in the “new normal.” And for those of us in hiring and recruiting, we’ve been left with an even bigger question about how this new normal will impact the hiring process. 

National stay-at-home orders disrupted traditional hiring practices and forced necessary adjustments to the hiring process. Hiring managers are attempting to strike a delicate balance — shifting their workflows to a fully remote setup while continuing to support their organizations and teams with strategic hires.

In April 2020, we surveyed 500 hiring managers across the U.S., asking questions about this balance and the hiring adjustments they’ve made since the pandemic started. 

We discovered 89% of respondents have adjusted their hiring strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And alongside these major changes, the future of hiring began to take shape. Organizational changes initially made out of necessity have proved beneficial and could become permanent additions to corporate life going forward. 

Key findings and insights the study revealed include:

  • Hiring managers have adjusted — quickly and successfully. The majority of hiring managers surveyed made dramatic changes to their hiring strategies — such as hiring freezes, budget cuts and reduced staff. But their hiring processes are evolving quickly. Existing video conferencing technology and virtual communication skills helped support a quick transition to remote hiring. In fact, 51% of respondents have interviewed a candidate remotely and 42% have extended a job offer since stay-at-home orders took effect. Despite setbacks both economically and perhaps technologically, 25% of the hiring managers we surveyed actually expedited hiring. 

But the hiring process doesn’t end with an offer: Respondents struggle with remote onboarding, facing challenges with skills training, team introductions and technology onboarding. 

  • The workplace has changed. Workplace culture was already in the midst of significant change, but the global crisis accelerated the process. Many organizations have been forced to apply flexible work-from-home policies and expanded parental leave benefits far sooner than planned. However, the changes have been easier and more successful than anticipated, which sets them up as permanent additions. For example, 33% of respondents consider fully remote working options to be the most significant benefit implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 48% see virtual interviews as the top benefit. And 20% of hiring managers surveyed believe these two additions will be permanent to the workplace going forward.

The success of these changes has major implications for hiring. Candidates now know that these employee-friendly policies are possible, and will expect organizations to offer flexible work hours and better parental leave going forward. The bottom line: If organizations revert back to traditional nine-to-five policies, candidates will move on and find a better, more flexible opportunity elsewhere.  

  • What does the future hold for hiring? Our new normal will likely be characterized by flexible working hours and more people-centric policies — but what does this mean for hiring? First and foremost, a growing number of organizations are considering alternative hiring options: 24% say they are focused on part-time, contract-tohire and freelance hiring. But with new hiring considerations also comes a new set of valued skills. Over a quarter of hiring managers are now prioritizing remote technology skills in new candidates, and 23% are looking for candidates with the ability to work in a self-directed environment. 

With new priorities, benefits and changes to come, hiring managers will face unprecedented challenges as they hire in the “new normal.” Hiring managers will need to watch out for new red flags exclusive to video interviewing, evaluate what it means to onboard a hire remotely and learn how to mix traditional and virtual practices as they move back into physical offices. 

However, beneath all this change is a foundation that hasn’t cracked: Finding top talent is essential, and in trying times, best performed with a partner like Addison Group, whose mission is to select quality candidates for your organization based on a consultative approach. 

Interested in learning more about the future of hiring, how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed organizations and where hiring managers should go from here? Check out Addison Group’s latest study, Is Remote Hiring the New Normal? A look at how the coronavirus pandemic is changing the nature of hiring, available for download here

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