The global pandemic has put employee matters at the forefront of decision-making across all segments of occupational influence (Government, employers and social partners). Businesses are doing all they can to leverage Government measures in order to safeguard the livelihoods and safety of their employees, and consequently the value of their business. At board-level, decision-makers have been rigorously performing financial planning reviews whilst revisiting their workforce plans in order to attempt to secure business continuity post crisis.

Forward-looking recruitment and workforce planning

This drive for business continuity has also accelerated the businesses’ digital agenda. Employers have for example expedited their move to working remotely wherever possible. Nonetheless, business leaders across all the sectors of the Maltese economy have surely been dedicating serious thinking time to the rightsizing of their workforce. This is not only about numbers, but also about knowledge, skills and attributes required to maximise business success.

The recruitment process, a key component of workforce planning, should be strategic, with business scenario forecasting at the heart of it all. Further to the events brought about by this pandemic, hiring managers need to determine what knowledge and skills are needed before they actually need them, and attempt to anticipate their workforce needs for the period post crisis.

Hiring managers should also intensify their search for stand-out-attributes, such as self-confidence, flexibility and adaptability, essential attributes in circumstances brought about by rapid change, uncertainty and disruption. Furthermore, optimism, emotional intelligence and resilience also allow for better adaptability in times of ongoing change. Interestingly, hiring processes conducted during this period, should better position the Hiring Manager to learn more about candidates’ levels of flexibility, grit, adaptability to change, resilience and positivity.

Enhancing recruitment effectiveness

Recruitment processes are required to evolve into more streamlined and accessible virtual experiences for candidates; successful candidates should progress through the hiring phases with more agility. Furthermore, virtual recruitment processes are much easier to manage simply because candidates are better placed to attend interviews. This agility should become the norm, with the beneficial effects of increasing the speed-to-hire and reducing the cost-to-hire.


Optimising the candidates’ experience

Organisations should also focus on improving their HR communications strategy, employer visibility by boosting their LinkedIn branding, as well as overall digital presence. Companies that keep candidates informed in empathetic ways throughout the entire recruitment cycle for example, will be more memorable and appreciated. Avoiding typical auto-responses and being more personal will go a long way in strengthening the employer’s brand. How a company adapts its hiring process can be very telling of its workplace culture and will sequentially promote higher levels of organisational citizenship behaviour amongst its new hires.

It is expected that navigating through a major transition is overwhelming and at times exhausting; however, there is no better teacher than adversity, and we will come out stronger, more so if employers adopt foresight, build endurance and have the courage to propel their recalibrated people agenda through this period of change. The ways businesses lead in these times, will serve as a test and later a certificate of excellence, credibility and trust. Candidates will be on the lookout for this.

This article was written by Malcolm Pace Debono, Steven Williams and Louise Camilleri.

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