The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a lot of you to rethink and reshape your company, industry and even our society. You are probably faced with unthinkable issues, not to mention the economic fallout that is coming our way.
There are many legit reasons to be in panic modus. It can therefore be very tempting to focus on the short term of crisis management. When we emerge from this very particular period, it will be the long-term thinkers who not only survive but thrive.
At a time where a lot of talented people have trouble finding or keeping jobs elsewhere, hiring them must be seen as a major chance. If your organization is well-capitalized and visionary enough to hire for lasting greatness, now is the time.
There are many reasons to opt for a hiring freeze and they all sound logic. However, I’ll give you 6 reasons why it is a good idea to keep on hiring during Covid-19.
1. Available top talent during Covid-19
Now, many companies are downsizing and laying off employees. If you look around you, certain sectors who were able to attract top performers in the past, are now collapsing.
It seems like an unprecedented number of people, from new graduates to seasoned veterans, will be looking for jobs. And the best ones will be hired first, of course. You do want the best ones to join your company, don’t you?
It is true that a lot of people will value security over uncertainty (what a job change is) during the crisis. On the other hand, top talents who fear their current employers’ potential layoffs may be now more open towards new career opportunities. Thus, the pool of available talent is suddenly both changing and expanding, and visionary leaders can make the most of it.
2. Changing job criteria
As companies revisit their international expansion strategies and cross-border business practices. The employees are rethinking their personal purpose and individual and family priorities, with serious implications for their work preferences (ambitions, dreams, values…) and work-life habits.
Covid-19 is for a lot of employees – being stuck at home – a long moment of self-reflection and more than before, people are willing to make a change for a project that they truly believe in. Salary can be important, but research shows that what truly motivates knowledge workers is a high level of autonomy (think about flexible work arrangements), mastery, and purpose.
Covid-19 challenged organizations to give and show both autonomy and purpose. Who didn’t handle the situation well, ends up with disappointed and deceived employees. Since they know better what they really want when choosing for you, their commitment will be stronger.
3. The power of (team) innovation
Needless to tell you that the world is changing in a rapid way, taking unpredictable twists. To be able to face new challenges and think about how to overcome them in a creative way, it’s a valuable strategy to attract regularly new blood in the company. Coming from distinct organizations and different sectors, those newbies might trigger you with their original points of views that will enhance creative and innovative thinking.
4. History shows us
Throughout history, During economic hardships a lot of successful business did arise, because they created windows in which exceptional employees and leaders were widely available for a limited period of time.
During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, a lot of now successful fintech players planted their first seeds. Companies like AirBnb and Uber were born, because the crisis obliged people to search of an extra income by renting rooms or driving other people around. Also Hewlett-Packard tells us that their willingness and conscious decision to invest in talent no matter the external economic climate of the late 1940s was the biggest contributor to their success over the years.
5. Creating trust
While most business drivers become short-sighted and irrational during crises, the best leaders and organizations stay calm and use them for their own benefit, setting out the future in disadvantage of your competitors. At this moment, you should be surrounded by firefighters (team members, interim managers) that are trying to save the old building in your place, so you can bring the clever architects in, who will design the (re)construction of the new building.
Hiring shows that you have thought about and strongly believe in the future of your company and it creates trust. To reassure your (future) employees, your customers and your investors the trust is needed. So the fact that you are hiring during a crisis period is not only a powerful marketing tool, it also contributes directly to a strong employer branding.
6. Ensuring growth
The fact that during a crisis period employees are a bit more risk averse, doesn’t mean your natural outflow of talent will flatten down. A hiring freeze might then mean you have to turn down new projects. Or you might not be able to answer new sources of potential revenue streams. Both can have a detrimental snowball effect on your business. Customers will go to your competitors and form relationships with them instead.
Also, the quality of your products and services can suffer and your prospects and customers might start complaining. You can count on their understanding during these exceptional times, but that understanding only last for a while.
Moreover, transferring the work of employees that left the company to those who are still there, might create frustrations in your current team when lasting too long.
Since you are constantly pushing your boundaries and trying to maximize your performance. This slowing down measure called ‘hiring freeze’ is nothing in line with your modus operandi. It might have the reverse effect of what you first wanted.
Unfortunately, most companies make the mistake of uniformly freezing hiring in downturns. During the 2008 global financial crisis, BCG and the European Association for People Management surveyed 3,400 executives. Including the 90 senior human resources leaders in more than 30 countries, to understand business attitudes. The most frequent action (or reaction) was to scale back recruiting. At the same time, survey participants rated the selective hiring of high-performing employees from competitors as one of the three most effective responses to the previous crisis and the one with the best impact on employee commitment. This irrationality is widespread. Those who stay rational can capitalize on it.
So, before jumping toward hiring freeze conclusions, think twice… 😉