Human Resources Directors are currently facing an uphill battle when it comes to staffing. In this “post-COVID” world, many companies struggle to maintain their workforce. HR directors have been quoted as saying that the current pandemic has made the job market even more competitive than it was before.
“We have found that we must move a lot faster in our recruiting and selection process, or we will lose a qualified candidate to another company.” – Marcheta Turner, Community Housing Partners
Here, we’ll provide you with candid insight into the situation given to us by two Human Resources professionals, detailing the state of their companies since COVID-19, ways their companies have changed (or not), how they monitor remote workers, as well as what it now takes to obtain new employees and retain existing ones.
Has their company culture changed?
With COVID-19 forcing most businesses to go virtual, company cultures took a hit. Many companies relied heavily on in-person socialization to work well cohesively as a team, so working remotely was a literal culture shock. Others, however, have been somewhat used to the work-from-home life for several years prior to the pandemic.
“Many of our offices quickly moved from vibrant in-person hustle and bustle to the sound of single individual footsteps in a hallway… One area of culture adjustment has been individual accountability and autonomy. Managers learned to entrust remote employees to perform at the same level as if in the office and to do so without their physical oversight.” – Marcheta Turner, Community Housing Partners
Alice Lee from Millennium Enterprise Corporation said, “we kept our employees abreast of company news via a team collaboration tool we rolled out soon after so that they continued to be fully engaged with each other.”
Both companies had to learn to adjust in their own way that made the most sense for them.
How are they monitoring remote workers?
The HR professionals we spoke to are managing remote workers in different ways, but are each making it work for the individual needs of their company.
Community Housing Partners was never used to having any sort of remote workers prior to the pandemic.
“Some of our positions allow for working from home but with the caveat that they are within driving distance of headquarters. At the same time, we have identified several positions that can function 100% remote which allows us to expand our candidate pool to all 50 states.” – Marcheta Turner, Community Housing Partners
Millennium Enterprise corporation has been offering work-from-home positions for quite a while before the pandemic, so they had an easier time being able to quickly adapt to the changes and challenges of the world.
“Millennium Enterprise Corporation (MEC) offered a flexible and work-from-home option prior to COVID. With the various team collaboration tools, it made communication easier and instant which ensured that employees are not working in a silo or in a vacuum. As a result, employees were empowered to meet the deadlines and goals independently or as a team.” – Alice Lee, Millennium Enterprise Corporation
Where do their employees like to work from best?
As the pandemic has progressed and far fewer restrictions are in place, Community Housing Partners is still allowing employees that are used to and want a more traditional work environment to have that experience.
“Our offices are still open and available to employees who find working outside of their homes more productive. We have teams that choose a day to come into the office to catch up with one another and get some work done as a team.” – Marcheta Turner, Community Housing Partners
MEC has had the opposite reaction from employees since their employees love and are used to the work-from-home way of life.
“We have found that employees are a lot happier and more committed to producing and delivering above 100% in the comfort of home. Providing work-life balance is a key component in growing our business together as a team.” – Alice Lee, Millennium Enterprise Corporation
What does it take to obtain new employees now?
One thing both HR professionals we spoke with definitely can agree on is how important competitive salaries and benefits are to offer. In a tight job market, employees will have more options available to them, and businesses need to be prepared to offer what it takes to keep their workers happy. However, because of this, sometimes employers are stuck in a tough spot.
“Candidates have greater expectations and less patience than during pre-pandemic days. Staffing shortages, economists, and job advisers have encouraged candidates to make salary and benefit demands that at times, we cannot accommodate.” – Marcheta Turner, Community Housing Partners
Some employers feel that in order to get the quality employee they desire, they have to bend to the will of the candidate.
“Candidates are well educated in knowing the value they are bringing to the organization. You must have an open mind and accept their demands if you feel the candidate checks all the boxes.” – Alice Lee, Millennium Enterprise Corporation
However, although strong candidates can be more difficult to acquire these days, you need to make sure you’re still thoroughly vetting all candidates. One of the best ways to do so is by hiring a professional background screening company — such as us here at FirstPoint Background Screening Resources — who has all the necessary tools to make sure you know exactly who you’re bringing onto your team.
How can employers retain employees once they get them?
Not only is it tougher to obtain desired employees, but it’s more important than ever for businesses to find ways to retain their employees. There are a few key ways that companies can retain their employees in this current climate.
First, it is important to be understanding and flexible with employees’ schedules. Many people are dealing with childcare or eldercare issues that they did not have to deal with before the pandemic.
It is also important to be understanding of any mental health issues that may have arisen during this time, as we know the pandemic has had a significant impact on countless people. According to the CDC, “stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include changes in sleep or eating patterns, increased alcohol or tobacco use, and difficulty concentrating.”
If you are noticing any of these changes in your employees, it is important to be understanding and provide resources if possible.
Finally, it is important to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. This can be done through things like regular check-ins, showing appreciation for a job well done, and offering opportunities for career growth.
It is more important than ever for businesses to find ways to keep their employees happy and engaged. By following the tips above, HR directors can help ensure that their companies are able to weather the storm of the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.