Many businesses worldwide are currently focused on dealing with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations.

In the HR department, managers are concentrating on the most pressing challenges of the current situation, such as facilitating a safe return to the workplace and plugging gaps in the labour force.

But looking beyond these short-term priorities, it's essential to consider how the pandemic could have a lasting impact on recruitment and other HR activities. What permanent changes can we expect to see as employers and the entire world slowly recover from this crisis?


5 steps to success in virtual & online recruitment.

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an increase in virtual recruitment.

Physical distancing and other restrictions created by COVID-19 have led to a lot of recruitment activity being moved into the virtual environment, primarily out of necessity. Even though the transition to virtual recruitment has been forced upon them, many employers could have found that these methods are practical and highly beneficial.

Modern technology opens up a wide range of possibilities to remotely engage with candidates, assess their suitability for the role in question and move them along the hiring process with maximum efficiency. 

Video interviewing, for example, can be quicker, simpler and more affordable than the in-person alternative, not only for the employer but for the applicant too. It also provides benefits such as recording functionality - so both interviewer and interviewee can look back and review the event - and options for applicants to provide their answers in various formats, like audio or video. 

Other tech-driven practices, like virtual recruitment events and automated reference checking, are also growing in significance right now. 

Personal interaction and face-to-face engagement will still be vital elements of the recruitment process. Still, businesses that have benefited from cutting-edge hiring technologies will be inclined to continue using them.

more remote working.

Remote working was becoming increasingly common even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Research by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics showed that, in the US, there was a 159% increase in remote working between 2005 and 2017. 

A separate study by the International Workplace Group found that more than half (53%) of respondents felt it was more important to have a choice of work location than to work for a prestigious company. 

And it's not just on the candidate side that opinions of remote working are changing. PwC's COVID-19 CFO Pulse survey showed that, in June, only 26% of finance leaders anticipated productivity loss due to the shift to remote working, compared to 45% two months earlier.

More than half (52%) of respondents said they would take steps to improve the experience of remote working and to make it a permanent option for employees.

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As a number of economies slowly start to reopen, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses have a key role to play in learning to operate alongside a virus that remains a  threat. Companies will need to implement the right measures to keep their employees safe and look at new ways of working to survive and thrive moving forward.

Melanie Butler
partner at PwC UK

Where recruitment is concerned, organisations that make remote working a crucial part of their employee value proposition (EVP) could attract much more interest from high-level candidates. 

reliance on contingent talent.

The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated one of the key benefits businesses can gain from the contingent workforce: having immediate access to experienced, proven talent when you need it the most. At times of fluctuating demand or when it's challenging to find the capacity you need in your permanent labour force (due to sickness absence or any other reason), temporary staffing can provide a solution.

A dedicated HR partner can help you find the people you need at short notice, thanks to local labour market knowledge and access to reliable talent pools.

You can also take advantage of workforce scheduling solutions that facilitate the hiring of temporary and project-based staff at short notice. This allows you to secure the workforce capacity you need without the cost and complexity of a permanent appointment.

These sorts of tools have proven particularly useful amid the unprecedented circumstances created by COVID-19. Still, they will continue to serve a vital purpose for many employers after the crisis has abated.

more care and communication.

The threat to people's physical well-being is not the only health concern that has emerged from the pandemic. Mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression are a significant consideration.

This is highly relevant for employers that want to look after their staff and help people protect their health in the long term.

Research led by the Open University of Catalonia showed that two-thirds of people in Spain (67%) and nearly six out of ten citizens of the UK (57%) and Italy (59%) have felt down, depressed or hopeless about the future at some point during this health crisis.

There are many steps employers can take to support mental well-being in the workforce, such as offering financial help through health benefits or simply providing a channel for people to ease the burden on their minds by talking to their colleagues or managers.

Much like remote working, making these offerings a part of your EVP at the recruitment stage will help you attract strong candidates and boost your employer's brand.

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about the author
Alex Carson
Alex Carson

Alex Carson

randstad general manager professionals victoria

Alex Carson has been part of the Randstad business for the last 14 years. Having initially joined the Randstad UK business in 2007 after graduating, after 7 successful years he relocated with his wife to Melbourne and joined the Australian business. Over the journey, Alex has recruited and managed teams across a diverse range of sectors and disciplines including both public and private sector clients. In his current position of General Manager in Victoria, Alex is responsible for Randstad's Victorian Professional businesses that incorporate our Construction, Property and Engineering, Public Sector that includes both Local, Federal and State Government, Banking and Financial Services, Accounting and Finance as well as our Manufacturing, Operations, Transport and Logistics Business across Victoria.

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