It’s hard to think of an industry that wasn’t affected by the pandemic. Whether that meant shifting business models, making difficult decisions about furloughs and layoffs, recalculating budgets, or trading in conference rooms for dining tables, we had to make adjustments that made sense for our business needs.
When planning ahead for the new year, budgets, business goals, and defining strategies are common considerations for most organizations.
As we look towards 2021, many hiring professionals and business leaders are wondering how the effects of the pandemic will influence their plans, while safely assuming that the next year will yield even more uncertainties.
Should employees return to the office full time? Will we be able to grow our teams? How much longer can we maintain virtual relationships with our colleagues?
While we don’t have all the answers, we can look at the patterns and trends in play before and during the pandemic to make assumptions about the recruitment and retainment landscape over the next year.
Below, I’ve shared a list of eight ways business leaders and HR departments can grow and build more resilient teams in 2021.
Carry Your Flexibility from 2020 into 2021
Flexible reactions to the pandemic have maintained business continuity during an uncertain time. We must make room for flexibility around returning to the office space while also weighing the benefits of remote working environments.
When looking at our current employees, we should consider the hours that work best for our working parents and those continuing their education. Can we expand our talent pool to include employees around the world?
If an employee tells us they work better at night, should we shift their hours? By adapting to our current remote working environment, we’ve proven flexibility can lead to success.
Automate Your HR Department
As we look for strong candidates, we need to look at ways we can use automation to reduce the manual labor of our teams. Especially for smaller businesses. Or, those currently operating with a lean HR department.
More and more companies are relying on applicant tracking systems from their human resources information systems (HRIS) to help them fill roles. The technology and workflows built into these automated systems are put in place to cut down on the amount of work a recruiter has to do to find and hire good employees.
From processing, staffing, and payroll, HR departments will begin to incorporate more technology in 2021. Those already leveraging this technology should look into maximizing its capabilities.
Install and Maintain a Resilient Culture
Whether or not we’ll see a return of the traditional office in 2021, workplace culture remains a vital element to maintaining company morale and boosting employee success. Whether it’s scheduling virtual happy hours or regularly checking in with team members, keeping the spirit of your company alive is essential.
Additionally, ensure you’re creating a culture where employees understand that they can get through these difficult times and still be successful in a changing environment. Maintain resilience by putting programs in place to upscale employees, cross-train where possible and reskill employees whose jobs may no longer fit company needs.
Shift Your Focus to Soft Skills
As we continue to operate in a hybrid or fully remote work model, employers will embrace other soft skills. Those that help colleagues engage in meaningful interactions, problem solve and manage their work in a productive manner.
A lot can be lost in translation over messaging platforms and without the face-to-face interactions we were accustomed to when working in an office. By fostering the development of soft skills and valuing them as highly as technical skills, organizations will overcome a variety of hurdles.
Invest in Your Employees’ Abilities
Carry the resilience of your existing company culture into the recruitment process. Historically, if you needed a developer to fill a role within a tech company, you only hired people with those skill sets.
Now, companies will start to hire people who are adaptable, resilient, and can be trained in many skill sets. These employees provide a huge mutual benefit to the organizations that aren’t pigeonholing them to fill one role.
When you help to develop your team’s skills, they will be more likely to learn new skills instead of moving on to work elsewhere.
Embrace Global Recruitment
As we continue to find success working from home, HR departments will look into casting a global recruitment net to fill skills gaps and build a more diverse workforce. Technology is just one industry facing a growing skills gap, especially in the realm of cybersecurity.
Once we move beyond physical borders and embrace our abilities to connect globally, we can recruit employees for positions that have historically been difficult to fill. Bringing the ideas and talents of employees from different regions will also further enrich your business by providing varied perspectives.
Maintain Your Brand
Job seekers are increasingly placing value on a company’s brand when applying for jobs. With the prevalence of the digital age, so much information about an organization can be gathered online. Job seekers are relying more on referrals in their application process. These referrals often come in the form of social media and review sites.
As employers understand the implications of what is being said about their brand and workplace culture on social media, they will better understand how to set themselves apart in a positive manner.
Lead with Benefits
Company information online has also provided applicants with the ability to compare benefits between organizations. As employers fight to hire talented applicants and recent grads who are less costly, being transparent about benefits is essential to the interview process.
Don’t wait for applicants to ask about company benefits. Rather lead with them, and consider adding to the traditional 401K and life insurance packages. Prior to the pandemic, the ability to work remotely was a growing trend. Now, it’s a requirement. Unlimited PTO, student loan repayment programs, flexible schedules, and supplemental training are also attractive benefits for recent graduates and should be considered where possible.