COVID 19 has changed the business landscape overnight shuttling businesses, furloughing employees, and making us all consider a new social distance normal. The crisis is so immediate and far reaching that it can be hard to focus on the longer term effects. Everyone, including our company, are trying to weather this immediate storm and get back to a semblance of normal.
The question is when we are on the other side of the total shutdowns and public panic what is business as usual and when do we need to be ready?
handling furloughed employees
Everyone across the country has laid off workers, and reduced costs to ride out the lack of consumer spending. You have an obligation as a business leader to ensure that your company survives the current crisis. How you handle this will decide if those furloughed employees return when you want them.
Communicate thoroughly, regular updates on when you intend to have hours for them. Your furloughed employees are seeing all the news about the Payroll Protection Program. Their lives are up in the air hoping that the funding comes into your business and everyone is immediately brought back. Send them reassuring messages that you have applied, how much you want to get back to business, and your intention to have them be a part of a bright future. Most people leave jobs when they feel the future outlook at their current company is worse than the potential for success at other places willing to hire. If you want to retain your furloughed employees you need to be messaging now to them before they make up their mind to take some other opportunity that opens. Businesses are not obligated to hire back the same people with the PPP funds, only carry the same amount of staff. It is going to become very competitive for the cream of the crop in every industry, with businesses looking to upgrade their team instead of just bringing back all the same people. Don't let your best employees get poached.
build your pipeline
Now is the time to build your hiring pipeline. Take the time as a management team and map out who is in reserve on furlough, and potential needs if you are fully operational. Hiring needs are going to flip from desperately shedding payroll to needing people to serve customers overnight.
You are in the middle of laying off employees and it seems counter-intuitive, but now is the time to think about hiring. The market for people is going to turn quickly, with pent up demand as people go back to work for a variety of services. We are never going to get back all the sales we losing now, but there will be a sharp increase in the aftermath as funds loosen and manufacturers put out large incentives to reduce backlogged inventory. Plan now, or you will get caught short of people and lose out on the market correction. The best way is to continue interviewing, do phone interviews and tell the applicants you want to continue communicating and have them on a short list for as soon as you can hire. Try to preemptively pull them from the employment market before your competitors do.
create a remote hiring plan
Everyone is avoiding unnecessary contact, and this trend is going to continue as permanent in both sales and hiring. Plus we have been hiring in a candidates' market for almost a decade with extremely low unemployment and businesses fighting for every last applicant. The market is going to about face in the span of a couple months. Many people laid off now will never return to their prior employer. You need a new strategy to match the current climate.
Identifying the best candidates remotely is going to be paramount when you go from getting a few quality applicants to scores of candidates. Phone interviews and quality software are the key.
Having a tight designed process that doesn't rely on asking high volumes of people to visit to assess and filter applicants is the first step. Do you have a written phone interview, and applicant software that allows you easily evaluate candidates? Is there a simple scoring system in place to quickly compare dozens of applicants and make the process fast and efficient? The managers that you will be counting on to handle the business increase when you open also need time to be a part of the hiring process. A fast efficient method of talking to and measuring candidates is the only way they will accomplish handling their daily functions and hiring.
Does your company have an electronic onboarding system? Prior to this outbreak many business were still relying on paper applications, and wet signature documents. The new norm is total electronic.
Take the time now to add jobs into your applicant system, review how they are written, and where you will want to post them. Mass message candidates in your current pipeline, try to reach and complete phone interviews now. Have them scored and just a call away from hiring so you can react on a dime to needing people, and well before your competitors. Engage an HR firm, like our company, to assist with phone interviews and onboarding if you are not going to have the capacity immediately.
If you need more help putting together a plan to handle these volatile times just reach out. We love to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.