A cease-fire in the war for talent

Two sets of hands pulling a rope from either side

Is your business taking a wait-and-see approach to hiring during Covid-19? If so, you’re not alone. Currently, around 60% of companies are in a holding pattern. It’s understandable—many companies right now are focused on survival. However, while the world has slowed down, there is an upside for progressive planners. This economic atmosphere has resulted in a rare break in the decades-long war for talent, creating new opportunities to hire dream recruits. 

In the same way that forward-thinking investors are “buying the dip” and purchasing assets at declining prices, now is a great time to land your dream team while they’re on the market or looking to move. As your competitors are scaling back their recruiting efforts, you have a unique opportunity to go against the grain. 

Just a couple months ago, we were in a candidate’s market. Talent held all the cards. Today, this environment has been flipped on its head. With some companies unfortunately entering their third or fourth round of layoffs, talented workers who weren’t available over the past three or four years are seeking new homes. Of course, the economy will pick back up eventually, but here are some ways you can make the most of this unique moment in time.   

Embrace opportunistic recruiting 

When it comes to hiring and firing, most companies take an “either/or” approach—you’re either growing or you’re downsizing. But your strategy doesn’t need to be so black and white. Opportunistically recruiting high-performing talent is not only a highly effective way to respond to this economic downturn, it also signals that you are truly invested in the future of your business. 

While it can be tempting to focus on short-term crisis management, it’s smarter to embrace this opportunity to hire exceptional talent at a time when they’re available and open to new opportunities. Even candidates who weren’t interested in the past or demanded too much may now be open to an offer. Ready to start mining talent? Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and competitors. 

Pipeline top talent (if you can’t hire now) 

Without the right plan in place, your talent will be underutilized. Fortune favors the prepared. Consider what initiatives you want to take on and build your dream team (on paper) to accomplish them. Reach out to talent to start building the relationship, while being transparent about your timelineThink about any backups you might want to hire should your first picks land new job before you can bring them on. Now is time to dream big and imagine how your business can transform post-pandemic.  

Prepare post-pandemic hiring plans 

Have you been forced to lay off employees? As you plan for life after Covid, you need to consider your rehiring strategyyou don’t want to be caught flat-footed once the economy picks up again. By investing in talent while your competitors remain static, you’ll set yourself up for a successful re-entry. 

Double down on digital 

As the business landscape evolves, one thing is abundantly clear—digital interaction is going to increase. From manufacturing to hospitality, we’ll all depend on digital experiences more than ever before. Yes, we were already moving this direction, but the pandemic has put this shift into hyperdrive. This is great news for risk-takers and early adopters who are planning post-pandemic projects and investing in the right talent now versus later.  

Speak the language of top talent 

In the race for talent, the best fuel is exciting, meaningful work. Competitive wages are table stakes, but what truly motivates top talent is a high level of autonomy, mastery and purpose. If two firms offer a candidate the same compensation, the prospect of rewarding work and flexible arrangements are factors that can tip the balance in your favor.    

Ultimately, no one can predict the future and I can’t tell you what’s exactly right for your business, but one thing I know for sure—being prepared with the right people and strategies can only help in the long run. If you want to discuss your strategy and approach to tackling this unique opportunity, please reach out. My team and I are here to help.