It is clear that the hiring landscape has shifted immensely in a matter of months. According to data from the Pew Research Center, the rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than that of the Great Recession. As some businesses look to expand and others simply attempt to rebuild their workforce, employers may find the inflated hiring pool overwhelming. The combination of an everchanging business environment and the influx of candidates available for hire forces organizations to reevaluate their best practices for identifying talent.
As business leaders sort through resumes and look to the future, it is important to prioritize the skills which have proven especially valuable in the last few months. Below are a few examples of what businesses should look for when developing a talent strategy to meet COVID-era challenges.
Diversified Skill Set
While the impact of the pandemic differed for each industry and organization this year, leadership and staff, regardless of department or function, likely completed tasks that fell outside of their typical job description. The goal of business success, or in some cases, survival, has challenged many employees to move beyond the comfort of their traditional role. As teams shifted responsibilities within a virtual work world to accommodate staffing shortages and market closures, those who were cross-trained or carried a diverse skill set proved especially valuable. It is important to identify candidates with varied work experiences and credentials, which can help company leaders position the organization for future adaptability.
While the connection between business success and hiring and recruiting methods has long been a topic of discussion among business leaders, talent retention may be equally as important. It is critical for owners not to lose sight of long-term leadership development and goals, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. It is also important to view new employees as a company investment, and the investment should not be taken lightly within a season of forecasting and potential budget cuts. Identifying individuals who will provide the largest return over time for employers will prove most valuable. Businesses can build a coachable and loyal workforce foundation that lasts when leadership potential is considered as part of the initial hiring process.
As we look to the future of business, employers should also consider the incorporation of soft skills into their standard recruitment criteria. While the ongoing pandemic has disrupted many business operations, disruption is commonplace when there is leadership change, merger and acquisition activity, and industry instability. Communication, emotional intelligence, perseverance and resiliency are all skills which can help determine the potential of an employee to remain successful through the peaks and valleys of business. Because soft skills are often innate, rather than taught, business leaders may be able to identify these attributes early within the interview process. Hiring talented individuals who exhibit strong soft skills may solidify a trusting and dependable team, which can, in turn, help build an organization that is able to handle the toughest of storms.
The qualities a company leader desires in the hiring process often evolves as business priorities shift. Recruiting today may look different than it did a few months ago, but businesses can continue to seek and hire top talent when they concentrate on new team members and leaders who demonstrate the ability to handle whatever the future may bring.