Remote work, empathy, and adaptability: Staffing in 2021
We’ve all heard it before; we’ve learned a lot from 2020. Many staffing firms had no other choice than to have their employees work from home. They had to close their doors to in-person interviews, cancel all client visits and cold calls, discontinue plant tours and onboard carefully. But where do we go from here? What are the trends with employers and how they are handling a typical workday? Because once a company discovers where efficiencies lie and money is saved, a new road is paved and there’s no turning back.
If an employer doesn’t need to return to an environment where all business is conducted in-person because it’s not as efficient or cost effective, what do you think will happen moving forward? Most likely, it will end up being some of what we have been doing over the past year. A mix of working virtually but also meeting with candidates, employees, and clients in person when necessary.
Virtual and in-person hybrid hiring
Before 2020, interviews and candidate assessments were occasionally conducted remotely but after Covid-19 this increased exponentially. End-to end software virtual recruiting processes needed to be either bought or created. “So, in the same way that a hybrid workforce of onsite and remote employees will become the standard, a hybrid hiring process that combines virtual and in-person elements will become the norm.”
The process between remote and virtual will differ based on the type of staffing company your firm operates. Some note that high level candidates will require more in person interactions such as onsite visits and “one-on-ones” while lower level roles might consist of an all virtual procedure until onboarding is needed, if then. Electronic onboarding enables employers to get more done with less time and resources. COATS Staffing Software, for example, offers electronic onboarding that enables each new employee to complete their verification, compliance, and paperwork in a minimal amount of time. Recruiters can electronically collect each employee’s W-4, Form I-9, criminal record and drug screen authorization, direct deposit, employer safety & conduct acknowledgement form. That’s a lot of paperwork that can be completed, without touching paper.
Empathy in the Workplace
There has been much ado about remote work, but I’ve also read quite a bit about empathy. The need to focus and use empathy are critical when working with job candidates and employees. Communication and top-notch service have always been imperative, to be a highly respected and rated staffing company. But, it’s even more critical when working remotely with a lack of face to face interaction. It makes sense then, to take the advice that staffing firms should be constantly looking at ways to “add human touches back into their systems.”
Recruiting is definitely more of a number driven game, year over year, and especially in the staffing industry. Prospective clients have several factors that need to be evaluated before servicing can begin. Job candidates, same thing but even more extensive. Prospective employees are reviewed for decent work experience and job history, interview skills, they’re software tested, criminal record and drug screened all with a huge rush to not only find a candidate who can get through this multi-step process, but be a good fit.
Integrating and automating all this data has streamlined the process and made it much more efficient. The downside is the human factor and a successful staffing firm will not lose touch with realizing its importance. When using remote hiring tools in staffing, it should be integrated with what humans do best, relate to and understand each other.
Empathy directly correlates to profit
Buzz words such as human factor and empathy get thrown around and used as a feel-good way to run your company, but there’s much more to it than that. The top 5 most empathetic companies are also the most profitable, proving a direct link between empathy and commercial success. According to Harvard Business Review, “Businesses are more profitable and productive when they act ethically, treat their staff well, and communicate better with their customers.”
Adaptability – from Recruiters and Organizations
Staffing firm Recruiters have to be plain worn out and exhausted by all the ways they have had to refashion how and what they accomplish in a single work day. And, each staffing firm has differed completely in what business has done over the last year. Some have had tremendous slowdowns or complete shutdowns in certain industries while others have had “unprecedented spikes.” This is why many touts the valued new skill for recruiters this year as adaptability. A staffing industry Recruiter has rarely had the luxury of working strictly from their job description.
Linked In talent solutions shares that adaptability is critical as “Recruiters will increasingly serve as the bridge between a company’s hiring needs and other key HR initiatives. No surprise then that they’re rapidly adding skills like diversity and inclusion, decision-making, and HR strategy to their tool belts and resumes. They will bring clarity to talent data, reshape employer branding, and fine-tune the virtual hiring process — all in a continuous process of improvement.”
Not only for a Recruiter, but adaptability is critical for an organization’s long-term success. According to experts, employers need to not only maintain high performance, effectively work with diverse employees, expand labor and automation while being adaptable to workforce changes. Good news for the staffing industry is that “integrating contingent workers into a traditional workforce” was included in the most recent talent trends.
The need for adaptability was also shared by HR Dive in that “talent shortages are forcing employers to adapt their recruiting efforts, focusing on people with the skills they need or the potential to learn those skills. As an example, recruiters and hiring managers are rethinking the suitability of job requirements like degrees and other credentials and focusing more on whether candidates have the skills and knowledge to perform the required tasks.”
Build & Buy Talent
HR Dive also noted businesses that need to withstand economic vitality typically look to the workforce and adapt by either increasing or decreasing employees. A dual strategy could work well by both increasing current talent’s abilities and having a ready contingent workforce available.
It sounds to me as though a successful staffing firm in 2021 will look to a hybrid mode of operation, while ensuring their recruiters are empathetic to both employees and clients and will be adaptable when presented with changes in HR and in their company.