After almost three months of the UK’s lockdown to fight the COVID-19 Coronavirus, many businesses are continuing to prioritise their survival with approximately 8.9 million people from 1.1 million different employers furloughed as part of the governments job retention scheme. Even as some restrictions are beginning to relax, we are still a million miles away from normality, and the necessity of social distancing is bound to have a big impact on businesses for the rest of 2020 and beyond. Whilst organisations may have certain areas of the business on hold (and therefore have selected employees on the furlough scheme still), to survive through the pandemic their wider business cannot grind to a halt entirely. Instead many businesses are changing their focus and investing into the job functions that are able to operate through these restrictions and can generate much needed income in order to get through the pandemic.
For example, the hospitality industry has been hit hard with the lockdown restrictions, and without being able to serve customers in a physical restaurant many businesses have been forced to furlough their bar and waiting staff. However those same businesses may have adapted to offer take-away services and “prepare at home recipe boxes”, which may have lead to an increased demand for new hires of chefs and delivery drivers. All of a sudden, the business owner is tasked to recruit new staff, at a time where their furloughed employees may be beginning to feel disengaged and anxious about their future with your company. It’s a difficult balance to strike, so we have rounded up a short guide to hiring for your urgent roles at a time where your employees are still furloughed.
Consider how your employer brand and EVP has evolved
At Hirecracker we champion employer branding and believe the way you communicate this is important no matter what job function you are hiring for. Prior to COVID-19 you may have had a clear employer brand architecture, a glossy careers website and strong EVP pillars that truly represented you as an employer, but with an ever changing landscape it’s important to look at how this has evolved too. You may find that existing content does not truly reflect the employer you are today or find that the tone of language is inappropriate for hiring in the current climate. Before you go to market, discuss this with leaders in your organisation and consider what changes need to be made to stay authentic.
Consider your furloughed employees and communicate clearly
Putting yourselves in the shoes of your furloughed employees is important, because while some employees may be happy to sit on the bench and enjoy some guilt free time away from work, for others this can have a hugely detrimental impact on their confidence and trust with you as an employer. For these individuals, the news that your company is now actively hiring, despite the fact that they remain on the furlough scheme, can be a tough pill to swallow. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to communicate regularly with your employees and be transparent about the reasons for recruitment. You may also want to use this opportunity to offer furloughed employees the chance to return to work in a temporary new capacity. For example if you are a restaurant owner who is seeing a surge in takeaway orders, you may ask some of your furloughed waiting staff to return initially as a delivery driver or customer service representative. If the urgent hires you need to make require skillsets that don’t exist amongst your furloughed team, then simply communicate this to your people in regular company updates, so that there us a full understanding behind the purpose of your recruitment campaigns.
Consider the tone of voice in your adverts
Your existing job advert templates may need updating to reflect the changes you may have found with your employer brand, and the tone of voice you use is also really important too. Previously you may have shouted about your amazing culture and benefits in a bold and outgoing manner, whereas now you may want to emphasise how you are prioritising employee safety and offering flexibility to improve people’s work life balance, in a tone that relates to the concerns many individuals have about returning to work. The important thing is to be honest and open about the role you are recruiting for, but still use the detail within the advert to sell all the great things about the job role.
Market the job role in the right places
With more candidates actively looking for roles, and some companies still holding off on recruitment, you may see better success than usual in advertising your job vacancies on traditional platforms such as the job boards. For many volume roles however you may find that there is a large pool of candidates who could be suitable for your vacancies but may not necessarily be searching for those specific roles on sites like Indeed. For example someone who has been made redundant in a sales role, may not actively be searching for roles such as “Delivery Driver”, however they could consider this change in role based upon the current climate. Our LinkedIn feed has been full of stories of people who have been furloughed or made redundant during the pandemic, and chose to find a rewarding opportunity such as delivering prescriptions to people when their usual day job would have been working in an office! This potential flexibility in what a candidate is looking for means that a visible employer brand is more important than ever, so be sure to populate social media and share content regularly to get your company and your urgent vacancies noticed.
Use an applicant tracking system
If you have furloughed some of your employees you may find that members of your team that would normally assist during the hiring process (e.g. administrative staff, HR teams, hiring managers, recruiters) are away from the company, and without enough hands on deck you run the risk of delivering a negative candidate experience. If the demand for these people is high then of course consider bringing employees back to work, however one thing that can help you manage the process whether you are operating as a skeleton team or a full team is a good applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS can help you manage candidate applications, deliver feedback, schedule interviews and collaborate with colleagues remotely, things that are crucial you stay on top of when it comes to hiring. For high-volume roles you could expect high-volume of applications (we had one role receive 548 applications in just 13 hours earlier this week!), and without technology to help you work your way through this the process can become very chaotic.
Above: The JobHoller ATS that all Hirecracker clients have access to.
Engage a recruitment agency
Engaging a trusted recruitment agency can be a huge help in times like these, as they will manage the whole process for you saving you time to focus on the important areas of your business at this critical time. They can also help you recruit under the radar if you are concerned about the impression it may have externally to be actively hiring whilst you have employees in other parts of the business on furlough. This shouldn’t replace the element of transparency and communication with your employees however, but it can allow you to line up a shortlist of suitable candidates in a more considerate approach.
If you have urgent roles you need to fill and are unsure about how to approach this then get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org / 01244 567 567, we can give you free insights around active candidates to help you decide how to get started.