Leaders need to adapt to rapidly changing workforce priorities

Leaders need to adapt to the new world of work quickly if they are to keep pace with the rapid changes of the new remote workforce.
By: | May 15, 2020

The workforce will never be the same again. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked the birth of a new remote workforce as millions of employees worldwide find themselves working from their homes rather than their physical offices.

Leaders need to adapt to the new world of work quickly if they are to keep pace with the rapid changes of the new remote workforce. With that, their priorities and strategies for recruitment and engagement will also have to shift, as the demand for talent and the skill sets that are required in this increasingly agile and digitalised workforce continue to evolve.

And if technology was not already playing an integral part in businesses pre COVID-19, it is set to play an even more important role in helping employers meet their talent needs in the new era of work.

“This is 100% the spark of a new way of working and it’s a positive thing for the world,” said Mike Haywood, Founder and Growth Director of LiveHire. “Similar to the way airports were never the same again after 2001, the same can be said of the workforce now. Even for LiveHire, we can already see at the board level that we’re questioning commercial real estate spend and how we can be putting the money that we save every year to hiring more people and adopting more technology.

“We’re at a critical juncture as a workforce, but people are incredibly good at evolving and adapting to change. I think that we’re putting our foot down now and adopting the technologies that were already available to us. It’s just about rolling them out at scale and at pace right now,” he added.

In the current environment, workforce priorities are shifting quickly. Companies are operating in rapidly changing and ambiguous circumstances. Business models and roles are also evolving rapidly, creating volatility for recruitment teams around the world.

In fact, recruiters are struggling to keep pace with an unprecedented applicant volume even before COVID-19, which increased by almost 40% from 2012 to 2018, according to a Gartner report. As a result, they are spending more time wading through applications to find the right talent. Thus, technology will play an important part in helping employers improve their recruitment processes and priorities in this increasingly agile workforce.

LiveHire, an award winning cloud-based talent acquisition and engagement platform, which helps organisations improve the hiring experience for both job candidates and recruiters, outlines five talent priorities that leaders need to pivot in order to keep up with changing workforce priorities in the face of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty.

  1. Rapid Scale-up

Essential industries are experiencing acute staff shortages and require rapid support to efficiently source, screen and hire thousands of candidates.

  1. Direct Sourcing

HR and Procurement teams are looking to reduce spend on contingent workforce programs whilst maintaining productivity and workforce flexibility.

  1. Emergency Communications

Many organisations are looking for ways to rapidly communicate critical information to employees via multiple channels. (SMS, email, etc.)

  1. Redeployment

Leadership teams need visibility over existing workforce skills to effectively redeploy employees across their organisation or in partnership with essential industries.

  1. Outplacement

With rising unemployment, innovative leaders are planning to maintain contact with departing staff and offer solutions to accelerate their job search.

How will the role of HR change?

The rapidly evolving and agile talent force have led to a shift in demand from on-premise talent database to a cloud-based one, which will enable employers to recruit, communicate, engage and even redeploy them according to the ever-changing business and talent needs.

“The technology traditionally used for databasing talent and talent pooling is very static,” explained Haywood. “The data is on-premise and not in the cloud. The communication with these databases is often one-way such as email notifications rather than two-way text messaging.

“Companies are now looking to store their talent assets in the cloud where they can build alumni talent clouds so that they can maintain that relationship and bring them back into the business when they need to.

“We’re also seeing these talent clouds being a blend of contractors, permanent staff, alumni and internal workforces as they can become much more agile. For the companies that are doing this, their CHROs will be maintaining a custodian role over the whole talent function. It’s a super exciting time for HR now, but they’ve got to digitalise fast,” he added.

With talent management and recruitment at the forefront of the new agile workforce, the role of HR will evolve as well. In fact, it will become a more important and strategic function for businesses to recruit the right people for its needs.

“What the HR role will become is to define the key competencies that the business requires for certain roles and to be able to recycle talent,” said Claire Badger, Talent Practice Director, Rizing HCM APAC.

“If they are moving to a workforce that is predominantly contractors, workforce planning becomes very important in terms of defining the job descriptions and having a central repository of talent so that they can recycle these people.

“They will be able to access their talent pool at any point in time when they are looking for a certain person with a certain skillset that they may have engaged with before.

“So HR can really add value with its ability to pull up on the talent pool that they’ve put together as well as defining the correct description for the people they’re actually looking for, which businesses often struggle to articulate,” she added.

To learn more about how HR can adapt to the changing workforce priorities in a webinar by Rizing on May 27, 2pm to 3pm (AEST) that will provide exclusive insights on:

  • Strategies for business continuity in talent management recruitment, onboarding and offboarding
  • Understanding employee and role competencies, and how to build drive programs with scalable processes 
  • The role technology plays in enabling organizations to scale up and down, in a way that is best for performance and people.

Register for the webinar here.