Covid Impact Hiring and Retention Strategies for 2021 and Beyond

by Tony Waterson, Executive Director, Southern Indiana Works & WorkOne Southern Indiana

Candidates seeking employment in today’s workforce want more than just a paycheck. Their experiences during the application and interview process can impact their decisions to accept or reject an offer with a company.

A recent Job Seeker Survey by Engage-to-Excel found that candidates are seeking an easy, straightforward application process, timely responses from recruiters and a career site that answers questions, with a high preference for a mobile process. Within the next five years, a high majority of internet users will access the web exclusively by smartphone. Therefore, a mobile application process and mobile career sites should be a top priority. Mobile career sites and applications will be key to connecting with the next generation of workers. “More than 90% of candidates indicate that a positive interview experience has the power to influence their decision regarding a job.” Developing an engaging candidate experience can provide a competitive edge when recruiting top talent.[1]

Jobseekers consider the reputation of a company as an employer prior to applying for a job and are interested in company culture, environment and values. Your ability to recruit for skilled talent will depend highly on the ability to communicate and promote your company culture.

Companies are now referring to abilities such as critical thinking, leadership, problem solving, communication and teamwork as essential skills, which sometimes take precedence over hard skills that can be learned on-the-job. New technology trends are anticipated to permanently alter the workforce. Workers with teamwork and critical thinking skills that can swiftly adapt to change will advance in their industries, while individuals rooted deeply in traditional methods and technologies are anticipated to fall behind. These essential skillsets are assets that differentiate human workers from artificial intelligence.

Advancements in technology and artificial intelligence will be significant in recruiting processes, but companies must remain aware of the human factors involved for engagement and retention success.

Manufacturers are indicating coronavirus has impacted how they will seek to operate for the future. Businesses are reporting the pandemic has accelerated industry trends such as evaluation and increasing automation, assessments of supply chains, conversion of additional manual-to-digital processes and evaluation of the workforce skills. Covid-19 has also increased the focus on how important business emergency and disruption planning is to a business operation.

This acceleration will require strong talent and will make it imperative to have employees aligned with the right roles. It will be more important to encourage engagement between younger talent and seasoned professionals with industry knowledge. Younger individuals will have a deeper understanding of technology, which blended with industry knowledge, can help to drive new innovation and ideas.

Key areas to focus on are the importance of upskilling current workforce in technology skills and using work-based learning models to help new talent get more industry knowledge, enhancing their effectiveness. Many companies are finding it easier to grow top talent rather than to rely on outside recruitment. Focusing on developing your workforce and creating clear career pathways will ensure you have resources to diversify talent, build stronger leadership and be better positioned for the future.

For more information on work-based-learning, apprenticeships, and career pathway models, contact Southern Indiana Works Business Services Division at 812-941-6436.

Southern Indiana Works is the Regional Workforce Development Board that manages the Talent Development System in Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Scott, Washington and Crawford Counties in Indiana. WorkOne Southern Indiana provides services to enhance the skills of job seekers and help to connect them with employers in the region that need great employees.

[1] Engage2Excel 2020 Recruiting Trends

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