By Salina Williams, Senior Consultant
Recruitment, onboarding, return-to work, and re-integration are the next focal points for organizations as we continue to move through the pandemic climate. Last week, Feldman Daxon Partners hosted over 50 Canadian HR Leaders in a Virtual HR Think Tank, addressing these continuing developments and how companies are adapting to deliver during these unique times. Our participants represented HR for over 500,000 employees across Canada.
Here is a sample of the questions we posed and the themes of rapid organizational change that we heard from the HR leaders across all sectors, private and public.
How have hiring best practices changed and what changes do you foresee for hiring?
- Organizations across all sectors are continuing to hire despite the restrictions of COVID-19. Many are adapting practices to meet the needs of a virtual hiring process. Candidates are now taken through the entire life cycle of hiring, from interviewing, negotiation, offer completion to onboarding, in a completely virtual environment.
- Many stakeholders that would not normally be involved are being seconded to participate in the interview, onboarding, and integration processes.
- There is an increased frequency of interviews occurring outside of regular business hours to accommodate the pandemic environment, including employed candidates’ limited availability, childcare demands, and aging parental care requirements.
- A premium is being placed on leaders who can demonstrate success in managing teams in a virtual environment. Both hiring managers and candidates need to quantify and present accomplishments in this area to differentiate themselves from others.
Do you anticipate some employees may not be ready to re-enter the workplace? What practices are currently in place for managing employees?
- In the early phases of the pandemic, many initial employee surveys found that approximately 50% of employees were comfortable working from home. More recent surveys are showing a significant increase in this number, with the strong majority of employees now stating they are quite comfortable working from home.
- Some employees are requesting or expecting to continue working from home.
- The phrase “return to work” has been modified to “return to office.”
- With productivity remaining the same or even increasing in some cases (largely due to the blurring of lines between work and home), employers have been forced to question previous assumptions and reconsider continuing virtual working conditions.
- There has been and will continue to be a strong focus on health and safety, which includes both the physical and mental aspects for an employee’s well being.
- Keeping up to date with the rapidly changing public health and government guidelines, and adapting business to adhere to those requirements in real time, is a part of the constant theme of change
- Creativity is being used to educate and engage staff through the course of the pandemic.
- Leaders are required to consistently communicate with transparency on all changes.
- In some cases, training videos are being provided to employees to return to the office safely as physical spaces have changed.
What does virtual onboarding look like?
- Employee integration has become more personal and creative. Staff and new hires are conducting virtual tours of their homes, introducing pets, and sharing hobbies to connect and build trust at a distance.
- Leaders are currently being trained on how to have conversations with existing and onboarding employees that promote a culture of support while working over virtual platforms.
A common theme we heard from all sectors is that that the physical shift of working from home has resulted in a psychological shift in the employee with surprisingly positive results for the employer. The organizational changes brought about by COVID-19 have opened up a new conversation between the employee and employer, one that could result in lasting organizational change, benefitting both the employee and employer. The year 2020 could become historically known as the year of a seismic shift in the workplace.
- On June 24, 2020