From medical advancements to the digitisation of the workplace, the world has undergone an unforeseeable transformation.
The past couple of years have offered some distinct challenges for businesses. Though we are starting to see some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, this doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing. Indeed, 2021 is proving to be particularly difficult in a variety of ways, many of which business owners aren’t well prepared for.
Perhaps the most prevalent of these challenges are those surrounding employment.
While businesses are beginning to hire again following the pandemic, there has been a reluctance for candidates to engage with companies under the same terms they were often offered before COVID-19.
Businesses are having to reassess their approach to hiring, taking into account a greater emphasis on aspects such as worker health and wage equality.
If you’re going to achieve success in 2021, it’s worth taking the time to consider some of the elements that can bring you the right employees.
The big barriers to getting people to return to work following COVID-19 have been surrounding pay. Many of those who are actively looking for jobs have been keen to clarify that there is no labor shortage; there is a pay shortage.
Workers have had this time to reflect on how their labor is not being adequately met with fair pay and are rightly prioritizing businesses that offer appropriate compensation.
Incidentally, fair pay isn’t about maintaining rates at current industry standards. After all, for the most part, these are dictated by businesses generally happy to pay workers lower rates to boost profit margins.
In 2021, you need to offer compensation packages that go beyond the basics. Put some research into the cost of living in your area of the country and whether your rates not just allow workers to live within those boundaries but also empower them to invest in their future.
It’s not just about wage levels, either. You need to build packages with benefits that include the quality of workers’ lives — health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off among them.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant many companies were forced to switch to remote operations to maintain social distancing.
Yet, even beyond the rollout of the vaccine, workers are showing a strong preference for maintaining a remote approach to employment.
According to a recent report, some 41% of workers would like to remain fully remote. While it may not necessarily be your preferred way of working, attracting the right candidates in 2021 is likely to hinge upon whether you’re able to offer remote or hybrid working options.
However, just stating to candidates that remote work is a possibility isn’t enough. You need to consider how you can not just make remote work practical, but also support your employees along the way.
Remote employees will care about whether you’re providing the right tools to make their day-to-day tasks doable, and they’re also likely to expect regular video catch-ups with leadership.
You need to design and build protocols for an approach that keeps your workers happy, productive, and likely to stay with your company.
Some of the most important remote protocols you can design will be in respect of your onboarding procedures. Onboarding can be difficult enough in person, but when operating remotely, you need to be able to establish a process to makes new hires feel guided and welcome from the outset.
This might include setting up e-learning training modules, enabling new employees to shadow a colleague via video sharing, and establishing introductions to the whole team. This can be a challenging process, so it’s best to plan it as early as possible.
One of the hallmarks of hiring in 2021 is the presence of a skills gap. This is a prevalent challenge across a variety of sectors. Healthcare, construction, and logistics are just a few of those struggling to find workers with the appropriate skills to contribute to successful operations. As such, you need to consider how to approach hiring workers so you can meet your company’s needs.
This doesn’t just come down to formal qualifications. If you’re looking for an accountant, your focus shouldn’t be dependent on them having a relevant degree. You also need to be sure they have key soft skills to support their accountancy expertise.
The soft skills needed include interpersonal competencies, problem-solving abilities, and a solid approach to ethical conduct.
Take time to clarify the full set of skills you need from your new hire, no matter what position they’ll be filling. This allows you to better assess resumes and applications so you can meet your needs.
However, part of the problem of the skills gap is you may not be able to find someone with all the abilities or even professional qualifications you’re looking for. Indeed, there may be some talented people who — due to lack of opportunity or socioeconomic challenges — haven’t been able to gain a formal education in the field.
It can be worth considering candidates without the full qualifications but that you can develop into a valuable member of your team.
This year continues to be a challenging one for businesses, particularly when it comes to hiring staff. You must reassess your approach to salary levels and consider more flexible working arrangements so you can better meet the expectations of workers. While the skills gap can be a hurdle, it’s worth considering alternative solutions so your ambitions aren’t held back.
There’s no doubt the rest of the year will continue to be difficult, but a considerate approach to new workers can help you to thrive.
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