Hiring in times of uncertainty


The COVID-19 crisis turned our world upside down and made governments and businesses adjust to the new reality at record speed. Things that were previously unimaginable by many companies have been made possible. Rapid digital transformation and entire teams working completely remotely are some examples. As the crisis transitions, companies will continue to face unexpected challenges.

Pandemic stages and business adjustment

Harver identifies several stages nations go through during the pandemic crisis and how businesses adapt. The Netherlands is currently at the 2nd phase, Accepting & Adapting, and will soon enter into a 3rd stage, Preparing. After the initial confusion where everyone tried to grasp the severity of the problem, businesses adjusted to the new – temporary – reality and people have now been working from home for weeks. Panic has been replaced with openness to new ideas as long as they correspond to the circumstances.

We are slowly seeing the long-term consequences and trying to imagine a post COVID-19 world which will be significantly different than the pre corona one. Businesses are moving from addressing immediate problems to establishing new norms. The key concepts are flexibility, adaptability and being agile in every business aspect.

HR in a new reality

Corona crisis led many businesses to freeze their recruitment processes. Health and economic uncertainties are too great. Companies are cutting costs and focusing on core processes. Some are even forced to lay off their staff.

As unemployment grows HR professionals may end up with large numbers of CVs for every job opening. This can be overwhelming making it easy to miss truly relevant resumes. At the same time, candidate availability is lower. People are not very open to change jobs in times of uncertainty. They tend to focus on stability rather than on other benefits that a new job can offer.

On the other hand, the existing employees may face an unprecedented increase in work load, longer work hours and frequent shifts of priorities and all of this whilst being physically isolated from colleagues. Some may also face personal issues related to the stay-at-home situation: loneliness, restlessness, taking care of children or elderly 24/7. All this combined sounds like a recipe for a burn out, something any company wants to avoid at all costs, especially now.

Temporary employees

Flexibility is the key to optimal performance in times of a rapid change. Maybe you need an expert for setting up the systems necessary for a remote work. Or your customer services team is overburdened by an increase in the amount of customer queries. These are the situations where a temporary employee can save the day.

Temporary staff hired via an agency is a cost efficient option and offers less risk in turbulent times, two important considerations at the moment. Temporary employees offer flexibility as they are employed and paid by an agency. Since the agency will prescreen and interview all candidates up front and provide you with the final selection, your HR specialists save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on searching and sourcing.

The biggest challenge with temporary employees is how to incorporate them properly in the already existing team and ensuring that there is a ‘fit’ with the company culture. The solution is to set clear expectations of how long the project will last and what is expected from an employee. Send them a welcome package if it’s possible and have a detailed virtual onboarding program.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted all of us in many previously unimagined ways. In order to continue your business, you need to be agile and adapt your HR capacities to swift changes. Temporary employees hired through an agency can provide you that versatility. They are experts with specific knowledge, cost less, provide less risk than directly hired staff and will prevent overburdening of your current employees.

If you are worried about the flexibility of your future employees, don’t worry, we got you covered. Get in touch with us to discuss what is the best option for your company in times of uncertainty.

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