Hiring during COVID-19 is an anxiety-filled endeavor, with worries over business closures, slumped economic markets, public health, and more. And if we’ve learned anything about employment and hiring in 2020, it’s that you have to be ready to adapt as conditions continue to change—because they probably will.
In this article, we’ll go over hiring tips in 2020 so far and how to prepare for what might come next, giving you hiring tips for COVID-19.
1 - Prioritize the Health and Safety of Candidates and Employees
This tip may feel like we’re beating a dead horse. Obviously, health and safety is a critical issue right now. Not to mention, your organization may already be juggling local and state mandates to stay compliant and keep everyone safe at work. But this really bears repeating.
As Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao explains, “If reopening prematurely leads to growing outbreaks, economic gains will be fleeting at best, leaving the economy stuck in the doldrums. At worst, rising cases risk imperiling the already frail economy and sending us back into a double-dip recession”.
There are many steps you can take to reduce the pandemic’s impact on your organization and vice versa. These start with are some practical ways to reduce exposure during the hiring process:
- Interview, onboard, and train new hires virtually. Even if you end up having them work in the office or on location, this will give you the time and space to properly vet applicants without worrying about exposing yourself and other members of your team. You can use this time to have new hires self-quarantine if they’ve been exposed to the virus recently. Most importantly, you can make sure that they’re ready to follow proper safety protocols before they start their first day, which helps protect both your new and existing employees and reduces stress all around.
- If you have to onboard or train onsite, provide masks and adhere to social distancing. While not all states require employers to provide or pay for masks, you may want to provide masks for new hires or candidates on their first days. This will encourage them to abide by safety recommendations and also make them feel like you’re ready and able to support them in their new job.
- Have a plan for what to do or say if a candidate or new hire refuses to abide by safety protocols. The Society for Human Resource Management (HRMS) makes it clear that employers absolutely have the right to require masks and hand washing. You are also within your rights to screen for COVID-19 (as long as it is only aimed at assessing COVID-19). But what do you say if an interviewee tells you they’ll refuse to follow safety protocols if they’re hired? What do you do if a new hire shows up and refuses to answer your health screening questionnaire? SHRM recommends first explaining the purpose for such requirements, but if the employee still refuses, you can suspend or fire them.
2 - Double Down on Your Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Diversity is good for business at the best of times, driving up financial returns by 35 percent for companies with high ethnic diversity and 25 percent when gender and ethnic diversity is combined. Additionally, teams that are more diverse are more innovative and solve problems faster. And if you ever needed an edge, now is the time.
Another important reason for boosting diversity is one we mentioned above in our discussion of hiring trends in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a more pronounced effect on marginalized groups, like minorities and women. Hiring more diversely and helping employees feel included in your workplace helps to mitigate that inequity.
It’s also a chance for your organization to show employees and customers that you care about diversity and inclusion enough to put your money where your mouth is. The recent resurgent calls for social justice have made for a lot of solidarity posts on Twitter, but what customers want is action. Hiring is a powerful way to act.
3 - Offer Remote Work as Much as Possible
Hiring during COVID-19 doesn’t automatically mean that you can offer the same kind of pay or positions as you used to. The BLS July jobs report makes it clear that many employers are in that same boat. So think about your total compensation package instead, and if the position can be done remotely, make it part of the deal.
Even under normal circumstances, employees who work from home report feeling less stressed, have a better work-life balance, and are more productive. In the same 2018 survey, 40 percent even said they take a pay cut if it meant they could work from home. In short, there’s ample reason to offer remote work flexibility for jobs that can be done remotely.
4 - Be Prepared to Adapt as Conditions Continue to Change
2020 started out as someone’s idea of a bad joke and, much to everyone’s dismay turned into someone else’s idea for a horror movie. It’s made for an especially challenging year for all businesses, putting a lot of strains on budgets. Hiring in 2020 is not for the faint of heart. Changing the way you think about recruiting and onboarding can help you keep people safe while still meeting your organizational needs.