To say that it’s been a surreal spring feels like an understatement. It’s almost as if we all went to bed one night in March and woke up in a different world. In February, Recruiters and hiring managers were navigating slim margins for talent and a record low unemployment rate, but by April, large portions of the economy were frozen by shelter in place orders as unemployment soared.
Hiring managers and company leaders are holding their collective breaths for a turnaround, and many have had to implement hiring freezes, furlough talent or even resort to layoffs. But many are still optimistic about their ability to manage through and thrive on the other side of COVID-19. With this in mind, I’ve been encouraging my clients to make the most of this time. As Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
As companies tighten their budgets and their belts, talent management and succession planning are more important than ever. And the companies that are going to grow beyond this trying time are carefully evaluating their teams to ensure roles are filled with the right talent.
Do you have people who can lead in times of uncertainty?
A crisis can bring out the best in our teams. It should be a prerequisite that those at the top of your org chart know how to rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall. They’re not easily rattled by ambiguity. They’re practiced at multitasking. People can trust them to pull through. But you probably noticed very quickly which leaders among your teams could find comfort and be productive even in the face of uncertainty.
The abrupt shifts in operations companies had to make almost overnight in March illuminated for many companies where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Were you able to respond quickly with innovative, strategic and scalable solutions? If COVID-19 has you evaluating how prepared you are to respond to a fast-paced and ever-changing landscape, now’s the time to assess your talent and your hiring strategies.
Are there strategic innovators in your org chart?
You’ve heard the saying, “What got you here won’t get you there.” It’s truer than ever in a post-COVID-19 world. Entire industries were disrupted by the abrupt changes this pandemic introduced, and it’s going to take creative thinking to update strategic plans.
Now more than ever, every seat in your org chart needs to count, and a workforce that answers crises with innovation will be your company’s competitive edge today and in the long term. You’ve probably heard the saying “change is the only constant.” Disruptive innovation was shaking up industry trends long before COVID-19 came along, and it’s going to continue to keep many of our tried and true business models on their heels long after COVID-19 subsides.
But the significance of strategic innovation can’t be overlooked. Companies don’t have the time or the resources to waste right now. Strategic-thinking team members that can leverage data and industry trends to make the right plays are imperative in this time of lean teams and lower profit margins. Gone are the days of throwing spaghetti against the wall. You need team members who can make every operational dollar count.
Don’t wait for the market to recover to fill the gaps on what’s missing
Hiring might be the last thing on your mind right now, but it shouldn’t be. Yes, this is one of the most challenging economic times that we’ve ever seen in this century. But following the pandemic of 1918 was a huge economic boom.
So if some of the questions posed in this blog have you shaking your head, make the most of this time. Maybe you can’t start snapping up talent or growing your headcount today. But you can develop a strategy for identifying what you’re lacking and where you want to go in the future. Thinking precisely, careful and strategically about your talent gaps during COVID-19 will help you respond not just to the current struggles you’re facing, but it will also well-position your teams when the markets recover.