How to Retain and Attract Top Talent During Covid-19?
Attracting and retaining top talent requires constant work and getting more inventive with recruitment strategies. This is even more true for some careers that have suddenly gone up in demand with the pandemic. Here are some strategies you can apply to retain and attract the best candidates and meet your needs.
Short Hiring Process
Because of the pandemic, the economy is going through a rough patch, and it has affected every aspect of our society. Some companies have gone into bankruptcy, and others have grown like never before. This has made the hiring market volatile and difficult to predict.
Depending on the position, you could have hundreds of qualified applicants or none at all. Plus, potential employees can become skittish with the uncertainty and change their minds in the blink of an eye. So, to attract top talent, you should shorten the hiring process as much as you can.
For example, Amazon has shortened its hiring process to a week. They are desperately trying to fill open positions, and it reflects on how they do it. So, while you have a hiring process of one month, Amazon could already have hired the top talent you were considering.
Because many people lost their job and are probably going through difficult times, at least financially, giving sign-on bonuses may attract a lot of candidates. These are one-time bonuses that the company provides each employee with after signing their contract. Some companies also offer bonuses when the employee finish their training period.
This strategy will help you reduce employee turnover, which generally occurs in the first few months. Sign-on bonuses require to spend a lot of money, but if they bring you top talent, it will pay off in the long run. What you can do is to offer this benefit for the positions where professionals are in high demand, like computer science. Tech professions are generally always in high demand, and offering these bonuses could be a great way to attract top talent.
Contact Companies that Shut Down
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies shut down or have gone into bankruptcy. This means a lot of top talent being unemployed. So, you can contact these companies and ask them to give you a list of employees that have outstanding performances and have the qualifications you look for. They will probably help because the partnership can reduce unemployment insurance claims.
This will give you an advantage by contacting them before any other company, maybe even before they start sending applications. And you will be interviewing candidates that you already know by reference will give good performances.
Because of the pandemic, many events in the industry were canceled. And participating in events is one of the main strategies when recruiting top talent in any industry. So, instead of waiting for events to move to virtual settings or things going back to normal, you can host your own.
You can organize career fairs, meetups, or webinars to attract professionals to your company. The good news is that all these events can be done virtually. You will still connect with many potential candidates and before other companies are waiting for the pandemic to be over.
Be More Flexible
Because these are hard times, you should be more flexible with the company’s rules. For example, if the company already started working in the physical office again, you can allow employees to choose if they want to go back or continue working from home.
Some employees may have difficult situations at home, like a sick family member or elderly parent, and they don’t want to risk infecting them. Everyone is going through their own problems, so the company should be understanding and flexible to retain its top employees.
Revisit your Benefits
In the US, unemployment rates were really low last year at 3,6 percent. This meant a lot of competition to retain top talent. It was different for each industry. For example, tech has had a high demand for qualified professionals in the last few years, and companies have been really creative in offering benefits to compete.
However, the benefits that became common and that many employees look for, like gym memberships or happy hour Fridays, aren’t so attractive anymore. The Covid-19 pandemic makes it difficult to enjoy some of these benefits, so employees may be interested in other things.
So, revisit your benefits packages and consider what you can change. Maybe they are more interested in mental health benefits like free therapy sessions than a pet-friendly office. Also, offering growth opportunities like online courses may be the way to make them stay.
Now that people have spent months in lockdown and having a lot of free time, employee turnover may be higher. This could be because many people experienced life-changing situations and had the opportunity to think about what they really want from life. They may suddenly decide to change careers or finally follow their dream of opening their own business.
So, organize a meeting with all your employees to ask for feedback on their experience and to inquire about what their career goals are. Offer to help them reach those goals and to show that you care about their opinion. Also, sometimes employees feel like they lack purpose, so find out how you can keep them engaged.
Maybe you could give them projects that align better with their purpose and values. Giving them opportunities to work on their development is valid as well as any other thing that will allow you to retain your best employees.
Covid-19 has made our lives harder, especially when recruiting because meetings in person have to be reduced to a minimum. Also, the current uncertainty makes your employees want to have back-up plans and maybe look for other jobs.
But there are plenty of strategies you can apply to attract and retain top talent. You can shorten the hiring process, offer sign-on bonuses, contact companies that shut down, host events, be more flexible, revisit your benefits, and listen to your employees’ demands.
Please give a warm welcome to Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
Attracting and retaining top talent requires constant work and getting more inventive with recruitment strategies.
There are plenty of strategies you can apply to attract and retain top talent. You can shorten the hiring process, offer sign-on bonuses, contact companies that shut down, host events, be more flexible, revisit your benefits, and listen to your employees’ demands.