Due to the global pandemic, we are currently facing, the commercial world has been turned upside down, in particular, staffing. Travel has been restricted, borders have been closed and airlines have ceased operations. The economy is experiencing an ongoing slump with little visibility as to when this will end. Having said this, some companies are flourishing in this climate, such as educational technology, e-commerce, and healthcare technology. Still, for the large part, most companies are engaging in crisis management and evaluating their human capital for opportunities to cut costs to survive.
In the short term, we need to see immediate tactics deployed and if the impact from COVID-19 is to continue, there will be a need to create long term strategy changes for hiring and ongoing operations. We hope to see a learning curve starting at fear, quickly moving into a learning zone where people and organizations will look for how to embrace the situation and adapt to it with digital tools that navigate around the challenge, ending in a growth zone where the new processes begin succeeding. Concerning talent specific to the GCC region, if the current climate is to continue, we will see a need for five significant changes.
- Acquiring talent will need to be initiated remotely by digital interviewing and remote onboarding.
- The digitalization of internal operations and external communication.
- Workstreams will become increasingly remote with a decentralized management structure.
- Internally there will be an increase in demand for overlapping skills due to reduced headcounts and budgets, in turn causing departments to become more cross-functional and a rise in internal talent mobility.
- Decreased regional talent.
These processes and work structures have already began to be accepted by younger generations and there will be little to no push back from this demographic, mainly due to the increased amount of time this demographic spends engaging with technology. Companies will need these early adopters to redefine digital roles, highlight success in new digital processes and encourage a quick buy-in from the late adopters, in this case, the older generations, typically the decision-makers at higher management. This group has spent the vast majority of their career dealing with interviews, meetings, management and performance reporting as an in-person process and typically do not spend as much time on technology as the millennials. “Another key to success is leadership commitment. When people in key roles (both senior leaders and those in transformation-specific roles) are more involved in a digital transformation than they were, a transformation’s success is more likely.” (McKinsey & Company, 2018).
As organizations reduce their headcount in a country where residency is directly linked to a working visa, the opportunity to remain in the ME is ultimately time-bound. Due to this living restriction for non-nationals, we will not experience a dormant pool of talent similar to Europe and the US when significant layoffs occur, resulting in a substantial contraction of the talent pool and local options.
We recommend that policymakers in companies, in the region, begin to embrace remote hiring, working and educating. This will increase the chance of success when reallocating workstreams from on-site to working from home in preparation for the future if this continues. TGRG’s technology landscape enables organizations to successfully engage in an end-to-end remote hiring process. Our team has put together our recommendations and our solutions for remote hiring, step by step, to ensure planning and selection success in the face of COVID-19.
Step 1. Decide what functions of the operation can be successfully executed remotely. Decide on the composition of the team and its structure. Remember to include a note in the contract or the policy change that the remote role may transition to an on-site or in-office position in the future, subject to change.
Step 2. Decide on the culture of that team, decide on what atmosphere will yield the best results for the objectives, i.e. Do you want a competitive team? Do you want an open team? What about risk orientation? This process can be done through the TGRG culture guide by deciding on the degree of relevance of 12 different culture classes.
Step 3. TGRG will complete remote interviews with sourced candidates. Live interviews can be conducted and recorded so that you can review the interview any time you wish or if you need to send the interview to your colleagues for input. One-way interviews are also a popular option. By pre-setting one-way interview questions with time-restricted answers, we allow the candidates to answer in their own time, saving your time, allowing you to allocate your resources into other requirements more efficiently. During this process, we recommend that our clients try to stand out from the pack. Companies that attract and retain talent have strong employer brands. Companies can create a strong employer brand by forming and communicating an appealing company culture. Job descriptions and compensation no longer cut it with respect to attracting talent. “An employee’s rating of ‘culture and values’ is 4.9 times more predictive of a company recommendation than salary and benefits” (Josh Bersin, 2016). This is also further reinforced in the next generation of leaders, the millennials, who, by 2020, will be representing over a third of the global workforce. “Nearly 80% of Millennials look for people and culture fit with employers, followed by career potential” (Zety, 2020). Our leadership can work closely with hiring managers to provide guidance and tips on how to strengthen their employer brand.
Step 4. Screen your candidate’s past with our screening options.
- Screen for criminal background, references or screen their digital footprint for toxic behavior.
- Assess your chosen candidates on their ability to execute on their hard skills.
- Asses the culture alignment of the individual or team with our AI-powered soft skills assessment.
Step 5. Establish and align your digital onboarding strategy. You can review the steps and guidance on this process via our onboarding guide.
Step 6. Moving forward to ensure your team’s remote working structure is centralized, in order to streamline internal communications and reduce operational dysfunction, our recommendation is Microsoft Teams.
If companies can adapt to remote hiring and working and embrace talent mobility, there are benefits to be had after the transition. Companies will experience a significant increase in talent pools and options due to no longer restricting their searches, within a single border. Companies will save on office leases, associated variable costs and will see a spike in diversity, combined with reduced commute times. Should this long term scenario not play out and business operations return to normal in Q3 these pipelines need to be filled immediately in anticipation of a return to regular work with the layoffs that have occurred as the “the average length of the job interview process stands at about 27.5 days”, (GoHire, 2020).
In summary, business leaders need to begin creating an adaptable workforce by exiting their comfort zone and leading by example to ensure the organization and its teams follow. Companies need to begin analyzing where the skill gaps are in the organization due to recent events and how to close those gaps. If it is internal, strategies for transitioning skills across business functions by building internal talent pipelines will need to be developed. If it is external, new digital processes can be developed by building strong relationships with capable consultancies. In a world where technology is constantly increasing connectivity, there is a great opportunity to succeed through digital tools. Companies must stay active and productive with a positive mind that will better prepare them for the future.
2020 HR Statistics: Job Search, Hiring, Recruiting & Interviews (March, 2020) Zety Available at: https://zety.com/blog/hr-statistics (Accessed 3.4.2020)
Data Proves that Culture, Values, and Career are Biggest Drivers of Employment Brand (July 2016) Josh Bersin Available at: https://joshbersin.com/2016/07/data-proves-that-culture-values-and-career-are-biggest-drivers-of-employment-brand/ (Accessed 3.4.2020)
Top 100 Hiring Statistics for 2020 (March 2020) GoHire Available at: https://blog.gohire.io/top-100-hiring-statistics-for-2020/ (Accessed 3.4.2020)
Unlocking Success in Digital Transformations (October 2018) McKinsey & Company Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/unlocking-success-in-digital-transformations (Accessed 3.4.2020)