UK residents have now been told they should “work from home if they can" as part of a new package of measures to fight Covid-19. But what does it actually mean? And specifically, what does it mean for recruitment agencies? Should staffing firms across the country abandon their offices, go back into the laundry cupboard and get the ol’ ironing board desk out (remember that phase)?
What "work from home if you can" means for the recruitment industry?
In a world of uncertainties, one thing is clear. We have never before experienced global economic shutdown, and we therefore have no blueprint for the best way to kick-start it again. Will many of us continue to work from home until a vaccine is discovered? Or are we just waiting for the next government announcement to decide when we return to the office? According to Gartner 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to just 30% pre-pandemic.
This shift will affect both recruiters’ own staff, and how their clients operate, meaning the entire recruitment cycle will be fundamentally impacted - from candidate attraction (opening up a global talent pool), through the interview process to onboarding and paying workers and billing clients.
What we can certainly say is that operating online, and for ease and security via the cloud, is not a short-term fix, rather a long-term business necessity. We believe every recruitment agency has the opportunity to work remotely. It might not be as easy for some, but your consultants can still use their phones and laptops, the two greatest tools in a consultants’ arsenal.
Recruiters may have to get used to video-interviewing for the foreseeable as well, using platforms such as Odro and Hinterview. But is this a bad thing? Or have the numerous team meetings we experience allayed fears of being in front of the camera for both recruiters and their candidates, resulting in more productivity and less anxiety?
Recruitment leaders who embrace technology to trim down their costs and retain their personal touch are those best placed to weather the downturn. Even those with fewer jobs to fill are probably handling increased application volumes, while those hiring in large numbers are seeing an exponential rise.
What "work from home if you can" mean for individual recruiter?
According to the second Recruitment Pulse survey undertaken by Talent Nexus in conjunction with Volcanic 38% of recruiters had already returned to the office by the end of August. For those that opted to return and have enjoyed the office camaraderie it’s likely to be an unwelcome blow to be told to work from home again.
While it’s probably fair to say that the recruitment industry has moved beyond the initial adjustments to remote working, it’s the additional challenges brought about by Coronavirus and the lockdown that threaten to impact day-to-day working life once again. We can’t ignore the threat of a second lockdown and what it could entail - whether it’s job security concerns, balancing parenting with potential home-schooling and full-time work, dealing with bereavements or loneliness.
We need to make sure we are mentally prepared for less physical interaction with people. OneUp Sales’ Derry Holt offers some useful advice on how to keep staff motivated and maximise your business whilst remote working:
Salespeople inherently need (and want) to sell. It’s a tough game when no one wants to spend cash on anything outside of loo roll and hand sanitiser but keeping spirits high is essential. To every business leader or manager, you aren’t alone – behind the words on a screen or the voice on the phone, we’re all human.
If you’re following the Government’s advice and working from home “if you can”, then use this as an opportunity to learn and develop from previous experience:
- Share your best practices with your colleagues – they might have some tips that could enhance your remote-working life also!
- Take home the equipment you need to operate efficiently. But don’t just assume it’s okay, ask permission. We’re not to be held responsible for any stripped offices.
- Consider what technology could help your business to thrive. We don’t know how long the in-out-in-out of various lockdown scenarios could go on for!
How can you safeguard your recruitment business?
It’s no surprise that over the last months we’ve had an influx from recruitment who are wanting to move their on premise software to the cloud. Speaking to customers, the COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp perspective how essential it is to have the right tech in place, with robust support and security.
Back when the UK went into lockdown, we spoke to Morgan Hunt, a long-standing client who moved their entire workforce online after migrating all of their on-premise hardware into our cloud, who commented: “we were fully mobilised within 36 hours. I dread to think what the situation would have been last March as we were not on the Access Cloud platform.”
Whilst you might have been putting it off, now is clearly the time to get your business set up and fully operational on the cloud. Whilst technology could well be the deciding factor when assessing which companies survive the pandemic, it doesn’t have to be a massive change to your processes.
So whatever recruitment software you are using we can help you switch to a cloud-based recruitment CRM that's easy to use, offering:
- Set up in just 5 days
- Remote training and onboarding
- Minimal downtime and disruption
- Additional collaboration and engagement apps included
Get in touch to find out about safeguarding your recruitment business, read about moving to the cloud with Access or download a free Step by Step Guide to Switch your Recruitment CRM.