During these tumultuous times, our team at The Talent Board has been focused on understanding and cataloguing the impact that COVID-19 is having on recruiting.
To do so, we’ve been administering bi-weekly surveys to learn how Talent Acquisition teams across the U.S. are being affected by COVID-19 and how they’re responding to the crisis.
This blog post will share some of the outcomes of our most recent survey. I’ll also share what we’ve seen Talent Acquisition teams focus on most when it comes to responding to the crisis from a Recruitment Marketing and employer brand perspective.
How COVID-19 has impacted hiring
What we found in our latest survey, which concluded on Friday, April 10, was that hiring has slowed down or paused altogether for many organizations. Seventy-four percent of our 140 respondents indicated that hiring is frozen or reduced in some way as a result of COVID-19.
We also had a small contingent of respondents (5%) report that their hiring was actually increasingly significantly. We suspect that this represents companies that are hiring for frontline and essential workers in healthcare, retail and supply chain roles.
In addition, 21% of companies are unfortunately moving in the opposite direction and rather than hiring are having to lay off or furlough employees. Another 16% haven’t had to reduce their employee base yet, but are considering if they will have to move in that direction.
Now that we understand what the hiring landscape looks like, let’s talk about how Talent Acquisition teams are responding to these hiring reductions.
How employers are responding to COVID-19 from a Recruitment Marketing standpoint
Communications and the candidate experience
The goal for many Talent Acquisition teams during this time is to create and deliver strategic communications to talent in order to continue to manage their employer brand and provide a positive experience during this crisis. I think companies that are doing this well are the ones that are focused on communicating consistently and transparently with candidates and employees alike.
One important candidate communications touchpoint that has emerged for Talent Acquisition teams is a COVID-19 statement on the careers site.
We asked our survey respondents if they had a statement on their sites and the responses were pretty evenly split. Half of the respondents indicated that they did have a statement on their site (or have potential plans to do so), and half indicated that they did not.
If you’re wondering what type of content goes in a careers site COVID-19 statement, here are some of the approaches that I think work well:
- Transparent communications describing how COVID-19 is impacting a company’s hiring efforts.
- Messaging that encourages candidates to join the organization’s talent community so they can learn about opportunities as hiring picks up again.
- Details about changes to a company’s hiring process in light of COVID-19, if you’re still hiring.
Even if a company isn’t actively hiring, your COVID-19 statement will help to explain why that’s the case and encourage candidates to still provide their information so you can connect with them when the timing is right. This provides a good candidate experience and leaves people with a positive brand perception despite the circumstances.
While only half of our respondents have COVID-19 messages on their careers sites, many others report that their organizations have developed communications plans for employees and for the public in response to the crisis.
This means that most companies are communicating regularly with customers and employees about how COVID-19 is impacting their business and work environment, which is great to see. From my perspective, the more open, helpful and regular we can be with our communications right now, the better off we’ll be from a talent standpoint during and after this crisis.
If your organization is helping to mitigate the healthcare crisis in any way, then that should also be shared in these communications — even if you’re also laying off and furloughing people at the same time. These stories will have a long term impact on the way people think about your employer brand (and corporate brand!) and will influence your recruiting success in the future.
Pipelining and candidate nurture
We’ve also been asking survey respondents whether they have a plan for after COVID-19. Two-thirds of respondents are already preparing for possible scenarios and how these potential outcomes might impact their recruiting and hiring plans.
Read more about whether or not your Recruitment Marketing should change in a crisis here.
While it’s overwhelming in the midst of this crisis to be thinking about “the other side” (particularly when we don’t really know what the other side will look like), thinking through and coming up with plans for a few different types of scenarios is a good exercise to ensure you’re well positioned to pick back up in the coming months.
Many savvy Talent Acquisition teams are also still actively focused on pipelining even if they’re not hiring. Unless your business is on the brink of shuttering altogether, this is a worthwhile initiative. Building and maintaining healthy talent pipelines now will help to ensure you’re ready to be proactive as hiring starts to resume and pick up again.
As you build, strengthen or maintain your pipeline of qualified candidates, you’ll also want to think about ways that you can nurture the individuals in your talent database. You can focus on developing a talent community, if you don’t have one already, and share relevant and content with them regularly using email, text and social media. This approach will help your organization to stay top of mind so candidates will be keen to act when the situation changes.
Read more about 8 companies sharing excellent content from their frontline workers.
All in all, even if hiring has slowed down for many employers, there are steps we can take now to ensure that we’re well positioned to support our businesses in the coming months as hiring needs change. Communicating clearly and building relationships with your candidate pipeline are good places to focus your efforts in the short term, to help support your hiring efforts in the long term. Because there will be a day when this is behind us and we need to pick back up where we left off — and we don’t want to be left behind the curve when that moment arrives.
If you’d like more information about our ongoing COVID-19 hiring surveys, and to subscribe to the CandE newsletter so you can respond to these surveys yourself, please visit The Talent Board website.