Survival mode is what most business leaders are thinking right now.
But guess what? Leaders need to think BEYOND survival to the opportunities this crisis is creating in organizations and our communities. And the best thing we can do for both right now is to hire talented people at a time when they might have trouble finding or keeping jobs elsewhere.
According to The Economist, 4/5 of all CEO's are concerned about skill shortages, which is up 50% over the past 7 years. Any organization should be concerned about skills of their employees!
Now that millions of people are looking for jobs in order to support themselves and their families....and all at the same time....there is a war for talent across the entire globe. As companies revisit their international expansion strategies and cross-border business practices, workers are shifting their individual and family priorities, resulting in serious implications for their geographic and work preferences.
So what does this all mean? Visionary leaders need to make the most of available talent as we will be entering post-crisis and recovery. We need to get the right people on the bus, and it's not by being average. This will take leaders being GREAT and hiring GREAT talent.
1. Ask your company's leaders to list 2-3 great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years.
2. Source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
Jeff Bezos has stated many times that a company’s high hiring bar is a critical factor in its success. I would have to 100% agree. Amazon is dedicated to bringing in the most promising new hires from target sectors and companies. For example, the military is one of the BEST sources of talent in the United States - do you know why? Military personnel have an extreme level of focus and discipline - something every business needs, yet few have.
Insist that your HR leaders step-up their efforts and intentionally scout for outstanding people in key functions, particularly ones coming from hard-hit sectors such as airlines, hotels, and recreation, or start-ups that might already be faltering in the face of this recession.
3. Interview remotely with the same rigor you would in person.
We have AMAZING technology these days - use video interviewing and online portals in your hiring process. I always recommend having a strategy and plan before diving into ANYTHING, and this process is no exception.
Outline the qualities and competencies you’re looking for in a new hire before you start; at this time of flux, I would give heavy weight to soft skills, including inspirational leadership, change management, collaboration, emotional intelligence and influencing, as well as the tenacity to keep growing, learning and adapting to new circumstances. Such potential will stem from their curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination, on top of the right motivation.
Something we don't do enough of in the hiring process is to ask behavior-based questions. One of those questions, especially for leadership roles should include: “Tell me about a time you led your team through a big transition?” Record your thoughts and observations about how the person walks you through the process of their answer - this gives you insight to their problem-solving skills.
4. Go out of your way.
Once you, as the HR manager or hiring manager, are convinced that you have someone you really want, arrange to have this TOP candidate speak to senior leaders. Your senior leaders should share their love and passion for the company and describe the value they hope to build with the potential employee.
By doing this, you'll uncover what truly motivates a worker - typically a high level of mastery, autonomy and purpose. Yes, pay is usually a high motivating factor (as well as flexible work arrangements these days), but the chance to learn and grow while building something bigger than ourselves is typically what keeps people engaged and motivated.
5. Don't ignore in-house talent!
You have current workers employed for a reason, right? This is a GREAT time to review existing key players, stay close to them (you don't want to lose good people NOW), assess their skills, and help them move forward with specific development plans. It's likely that your company now has other opportunities that have arose from the crisis that need to be addressed.
Think about it: it's much easier to utilize people who already know your company, the culture and processes. Re-evaluating them may take some creativity and additional time, but it beats hiring someone new.
This pandemic and the economic recession has definitely upturned our the world. I want to encourage you to not just focus on the short term of crisis management, but to think long-term, as the long-term thinkers and strategic planners are the ones who not only survive but thrive.
If your organization is well-organized and has a strong vision to hire for lasting greatness, do it and do it NOW.