Many maintained that changes to the way we work – like remote working – would never happen. But this year, significant changes have indeed happened. And recent research suggests they will have long-term impacts.

We surveyed over 140 Global HR, talent acquisition and business leaders across multiple industries. Their responses create an accurate view of the most significant challenges to businesses and predict the changes and positive outcomes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Here we reveal the most pertinent issues highlighted by the global pandemic and how those issues will impact the future of work.

The New Work Environment

Overall, respondents to our survey expect there to be a drastic reduction of office space as organizations extend working from home or shift roles to become full-time remote positions. A definitive 94% of respondents asserted that their companies would incorporate remote working post-COVID-19. Unsurprisingly and as a direct result of this shift, 83% of those surveyed said their organizations will consider reducing the amount of office space required for their operations.

While an increase in permanent remote working looks inevitable, companies cited several areas that need work before they will be set up to run a predominantly remote operation. These include training for managers of remote teams (77%) and the introduction of remote working policies (68%). Others were establishing some remaining physical interaction (64%), new ways of delivering development programs (55%) and investment in new software (52%) and hardware (27%).

This shake-up of the workforce carries significant benefits for employees. Flexible working (91%), reduced travel costs (92%) and a better work/life balance (78%) all scored highly in the survey. Negatives cited were isolation (93%), reduced team management and support (61%), reduced communication (48%) and worries about career progression (37%) and learning and development (24%).

Remote working proved to be a double-edged sword for employers as well. Respondents enjoy reduced overheads (67%), increased productivity (65%) and reduced absenteeism (58%). But they’re less keen on difficulties arising around team building (85%), maintenance of equipment (45%) and maintaining oversight of the workforce (44%).

Virtual Recruitment is Here to Stay

Talent acquisition (TA) teams have embraced new recruitment practices in recent months. 59% of respondents have been interviewing candidates over video, with 65% extending offers without having met their candidate in person. 67% are utilizing a virtual onboarding program.

Respondents indicated that virtual recruitment processes have been successful with many tactics set to stay post-crisis. The majority (82%) of hiring managers will continue interviewing candidates by video. 41% are happy to onboard starters virtually and 32% are confident making offers without first meeting face to face.

Respondents also felt that the combined impact of increased technology and remote working will result in quicker and more streamlined, effective recruitment (59%) and cost effective (60%) processes. The success of remote working has also opened up previously unavailable talent pools to TA teams with 64% of hiring managers now more willing to consider remote workers. However, 21% worried that drop off rates will increase at the earlier stages of hiring. And 62% believed companies will need to work harder to stand out from competition.

And The Technology To Do This?

More than two thirds (69%) of respondents felt that TA dependence on advanced technology will remain after it was no longer necessary. 48% believe it will increase the ability to accommodate remote onboarding. 59% believe it will expedite talent acquisition and 29% of hiring managers will choose to recruit and onboard remotely. And just 3% see an increased reliance on technology as negative, with 7% believing it will make onboarding harder.

While 25% of respondents have the appropriate systems for virtual onboarding in place, others anticipate needing to prepare for a more technology-based recruitment system. Training for hiring managers (67%), new induction/onboarding programs (56%), HR team training (39%) and increasing privacy and security systems (40%) were all cited as areas for consideration.

Changing Candidate Behaviors

The survey revealed a belief that permanent changes to support remote working will result in companies focusing more on internal talent from reskilling or promotion (42%). Combined with a market where companies struggle to remain attractive to prospective candidates, this could cause the jobs market to shrink. Many candidates would likely choose to remain with their current employers rather than looking at new opportunities.

However, almost all survey respondents (97%) believed that as the economy finds its feet, new jobs and roles will be created that do not currently exist. This is sure to shake up the jobs market again and give it a boost.

Preparing for Success

It’s vital that organizations listen to their employees. Making investments now can help to achieve a working model that is fully functional by the time complete freedom is granted. The pandemic has catapulted organizations years ahead technologically in mere weeks and there are significant benefits to both employers and employees.

The increased reliance on technology opens more doors for those looking for new talent. Hiring managers will now be able to consider people located further away – even in different countries. They will also have cause to look more carefully at their existing talent for upskilling and promotion.

Many organizations are now finding that they need to investigate and invest to support these new ways of working, since they may not have the inhouse knowledge or capacity needed. One solution is to partner with a Recruitment Process Outsourcing provider. The partner can keep abreast of new technological innovations to make relevant recommendations. They can also provide the resources needed to flex and scale recruitment in response to significant changes.

Adapting to virtual interviews, offers and onboarding has streamlined recruitment and cut costs. TA and HR leaders will, once new programs and systems are in place, benefit from the radical advancement in technology. With the right resources and approach, companies can use these recent changes as a springboard to a successful future and improved recruiting outcomes.

From market planning and candidate generation to technology adoption and data analytics, we can help you get the most from every aspect of your talent acquisition strategy.


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