There's no question that 2020 brought us a full slate of unforecasted events and challenges to employers' status quo. However, while the impact of economic and social forces such as the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has been huge, for the most part they only accelerated existing trends, rather than creating completely new ones.
These trends will continue to develop in the coming year, requiring a need for speed in updating our systems rather than a complete break with the past. This gives recruiters and HR managers a reassuring continuity to build on as they make their plans for 2021. We believe the 2021 outlook is positive, for both businesses and their employees.
The ability to work from home or in a minimum-contact setting will be essential to the job description of every role where it can possibly be implemented. Both employees and customers will expect to be protected from group interactions and spreading infections. And top talent will demand more work flexibility than the traditional in-office 9-to-6.
In other words, the Zoom meetings will go on, at least for the first half of 2021. In many industries, such as the tech sector, processes are already under way to make remote work permanent. We must plan for the possibility that our company will never return to the pre-COVID "normal."
Virtual Recruiting & Onboarding
The trend toward online interviews and new hire training goes back several years, but the new health and safety requirements such as social distancing have pushed it forward dramatically. Now is the time to acquire or troubleshoot the remote technology, establish procedures and train users.
A variety of software choices are available, including live videoconference interviewing, automated asynchronous interviews (basically a chatbot with video) and applicant tracking systems.
Soft & Transferrable Skills
These hiring criteria will be at least as important as the capabilities listed on the job description. Again, this trend is not new — Integrity has been using psychometric testing for years — but has gained more importance after COVID-driven shifts in the job market.
One such driver is the migration of workers from industries with currently high unemployment, such as hospitality, to what they perceive to be more stable ones. Conversely, other industries are seeing a hiring spike with not enough technically qualified candidates to fill open positions.
Given this applicant pool, employers must look for usable skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and virtual competence, and be prepared to provide more training for specific roles. For the same reason, we expect to see more mobility within an organization, training existing employees for new roles rather than hiring from outside.
Here's another trend that's been amped up by 2020, in this case the BLM movement. With millennial and GenZ workers now the majority of the workforce, their expectations of diversity in the workplace must be taken into account if an employer is to attract top talent.
Recruiters will be checking their talent acquisition systems for unconscious biases against POC, LGBT, women and other minorities. In addition, HR managers must review and update company policies regarding discrimination on the job.
It must also be noted that women in particular are leaving the workforce in significant numbers, thanks to closed schools and childcare centers which require a parent to be at home full-time; and that parent is usually the mother. This situation will eventually ease post-pandemic, as children go back to their supervised daytime locations. But companies can act now to prevent losing valuable employees and/or get them back in the future.
Employer Branding & Candidate Experience
This trend has developed in tandem with the growth of online communities and a tight job market. It's now easy for candidates to research a company's quality as an employer (through websites such as GlassDoor), as well as report on any failures in the hiring process.
Employers must be proactive in creating a positive online brand. Tactics should include building their social media presence and improving their candidate application/hiring process. Companies that outsource recruiting should look at closer, clearer collaboration between the recruiting agency and relevant company staff, ranging from the role's direct supervisor to HR to the C-suite.
At Integrity, we were at the forefront of these trends long before 2020, and we worked even harder during the past year to ensure that our clients, associates and communities continued to enjoy success. We're ready to do it again in 2021!