C-Suite Agenda

Thinking Two Steps Ahead: How to Grow Strategically During Turbulent Times

While remote work has been on the rise, the Coronavirus outbreak pushed companies even more to find a way for employees to work from home. By now, many of us have adjusted to this new normal, setting up a workspace or home office and discovering how to stay connected to our teams virtually. Growing companies, however, have had the added challenge of making all HR tasks virtual.

If your company is in the growth phase, the recruiting and hiring process may look very different now than it did before the pandemic. Typically, the majority of the recruitment and hiring process takes place in-person. According to data from a remote work survey from Doodle, almost half of HR professionals prefer to conduct onboarding sessions face-to-face. However, social distancing guidelines no longer allow for these in-person sessions.

Companies are still hiring and need to find a way to recruit and hire candidates virtually during this unprecedented time strategically. Doodle also found that only 16% of HR professionals feel prepared to go entirely virtual with hiring practices.

You can take steps to support your HR team navigating these new obstacles. Finding and retaining top talent can be done virtually, but with more preparation, technical support, and procedures in place. Doing the entire recruitment and onboarding process remotely during a crisis is its own challenge, so here are strategies for you to stay two steps ahead during this process.

Shift to video chat

Many of us have already shifted to video chat to replace in-person meetings. Some struggles still remain when using this technology, mainly when you use this in conjunction with other project management and scheduling software. Two significant recruitment hurdles for HR include scheduling meetings with multiple team members who are in different time zones (22% noted this struggle) and juggling multiple tools to schedule and conduct interviews (15% highlighted this pain point), according to Doodle’s survey.

With in-person interviews or conversations needing to shift to video chat, it’s valuable you begin to train your team to understand best practices on Zoom and how to troubleshoot if they are having technical issues with a candidate. Technical issues happen, so what should your HR team do when they occur? You don’t want to risk losing a top candidate because you can’t get scheduling or video software to function correctly. Testing tools is an essential step, as is having a backup plan for when technical difficulties arise.

As we get more comfortable working at home, many small businesses are opting for dedicated business phone systems for their team. We work in the space as we live, but prefer to keep our phone lines separate.

Recruit virtually

Your team will also need to pivot recruiting practices to keep the pipeline of relevant candidates as full as possible. This shift can prove more difficult for your team, as you will need to utilize software that helps with virtual recruitment events.

Webinars and virtual Q&As are relatively easy to manage, as they can be done with video sharing tools. However, your virtual college fair or virtual recruitment event should allow candidates to upload their resumes during the session. Tools available can sort candidates based on position criteria and list the top candidates that your HR team should contact after the event.

Open positions typically get hundreds of applicants, so having a way to check which candidates attended your virtual events will help sort the pile and filter qualified candidates.

You will also want to keep your candidate pipeline full. During growth, your company may need to hire quickly, so having a robust list of qualified candidates will help facilitate this process.

Small businesses can also utilize text marketing to connect with candidates. As we look to new ways to market ourselves, texting provides an updated, useful way to communicate your pipeline of potential hires.

Document the recruitment process

Turnover is a problem for all companies, and early turnover especially hurts. Studies show that 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days, which can be quite expensive to replace. While there is not much you can do if those employees don’t feel like the position is a good fit, you can make sure no one leaves because of an unorganized onboarding process.

Begin to put together a detailed employee recruitment procedure. Having a go-to process or set of practices for your team to reference during the growth phase will set them up for success from day one.

Onboarding remotely is not necessarily easy, but it is becoming the new normal. HR professionals said the two biggest challenges with onboarding remotely were ‘making [the employees] feel like part of the team’ (17%) and ‘providing clarity and context about role expectations and career growth’ (17%), according to Doodle.

Recruitment and onboarding practices will have to shift to virtual formats, which can take some time to put together. Having these processes documented will ensure a smoother process for your new employees.

Staying ahead during growth

Many of us hope that the workforce changes due to the pandemic are temporary. If you establish procedures and best practices for a remote workforce now, you will stay ahead of the competition, no matter how long it takes to get back to in-person workdays. I have seen ups and downs in the market over the last 20 years, but by shifting with market changes, I have been able to produce 21X ROI to investors.

Strategic growth during turbulent times is possible. If you take time to ease employees into new technologies and embrace virtual recruitment and onboarding, you will find success.


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Cleve Adams
Throughout his tenure in the technology sector, Cleve Adams, Chief Executive of Voxox, has built and sold numerous companies, he has also helped a variety of entrepreneurs to achieve funding He has previously championed a successful sales channel of 1100 resellers and distributors in 82 countries. Most notably, he was the driving force behind the creation of security titan Websense (now Forcepoint) - spearheading their growth of the company from pre-revenue to a $1 Billion IPO in less than three years. On average he presents an impressive 21X ROI to investors and has achieved six exits. Cleve Adams is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.