We are where we are and given the experience of last week, many have now accepted this as a new normal. The impact of this pandemic has been devastating so far, especially with the global markets crashing, increasing unemployment and redundancies in the number of organisations. Recruitment and Offshore recruiting industry both have been impacted equally. We wish we could recover quicker than ever, however, we don’t know how long will this last and the timeline for recovery. As covered on my previous blog, we can accept this new normal. While generating new business and sustaining through these times is most imperative, it also gives recruitment businesses to work towards the following constructive aspects of the business to be ready when there is bloom. As the famous saying goes, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, some build windmills”, take this time to build critical aspects of your business which you might have put on the back burner, evaluate new ways of working, etc. for you to be resilient and prepared than ever. Some of the key factors recruitment agencies can work upon are outlined below.
1. Workforce – Training & Development (Skill Enhancement)
We’ve all had a great run post during the last decade and many recruitment agencies and personnel flourished during this era. Many built businesses from scratch, developing new business, adapted to new business tools, etc. and placed candidates to meet the bottom line. Not that the businesses did not focus on training and development at all, however, every crisis also brings out new ways of working and the need of the hour for every business is how to adjust to this new normal and upskill the team in line with the constantly changing environment. In past one week, we have already seen millions working from home, this highlights the need for teams to be trained upon, how to engage and work with colleagues remotely, how to manage a remote team, for recruitment business leaders; how to sustain and grow the business remotely, etc.
This is the time to build the skill matrix (if you don’t already have one), review each team member’s capability and take respective action from thereon; i.e. Training Need Identification (TNI). I have outlined the example of skill matrix on the chart below.
Using the skill matrix Managers can identify the TNI and also upskill and cross-train as per their understanding and requirement. Managers can add more skills, including non-functional skills such as soft skills, conflict management to suit their need.
A detailed training plan, encompassing less theory and more on the job, considering the need of the hour can be devised to fast track things. Real-time feedback can be imparted, and a formal weekly feedback session can help both the Manager and the team member to ensure a positive outcome.
Another view is also to strengthen the core areas per job role to be highly competitive; especially in areas of sales, business development and core recruiting; i.e. convincing candidates to work with you on an exclusive basis. Given the market scenario, we are already seeing an increase in training resources on “How to win and generate new vacancies and get new clients fast”- this one by leading UK recruitment industry coach Mark Whitby of Recruitment Coach.
2. Business Continuity Planning
While recruitment businesses have been successful in managing the work from home logistics for their teams, during this time when everybody is working remotely, it will also uncover the loose ends. It is essential to overcome roadblocks on topics ranging from internet connectivity, tools, resources to management. When people gradually get back to work from their offices, businesses will have enough information to develop a full-proof business continuity process in place. The potential consequences of not having a BCP are incredibly grave. Recruitment agencies shouldn’t risk not having a plan as it can not only have an impact on their billings but can also result in both in loss of clients and candidates, leaving a big hole on their balance sheet.
It will be imperative for recruitment business owners to conduct a business impact analysis of not having a BCP and take action accordingly. Recruitment business owners can create a BCP and also test the plan. Key factors recruitment agencies must consider when creating a BCP are outlined below.
It is imperative to create a list of all key personnel; i.e. internal team members, Leaders, Critical suppliers, Healthcare Institutions, Fire stations, Local councils, Trade association, Landlords, etc. You must have a list of every critical contact you can reach out to during crisis for your business to operate during troubled times.
Your response during an emergency:
Team members are your principal responsibility and ensuring their safety should be your first course of action as a business owner. Secondly, providing that your functional processes are already in place where your team can access it remotely, uniquely accessible on cloud ensuring your business operates in a crisis like this pandemic.
How will you manage the crisis?
Team members must know their roles and responsibilities at all times. Teams must be aware of how they will communicate internally, with clients, candidates, etc. These processes must be mapped and reviewed at all times for you to be able to utilise them when required effectively.
Business Recovery Management:
Detailed process outlining what step should one take during the first hour, day, and a week of the crisis. How will be communication be managed with team members, clients, candidates and suppliers? You must be ready with detailed operational plans for business-critical tasks, processes and assets. Various strategies and an action plan for different loss/damage scenarios and identify responsibilities for executing disaster recovery situations.
“Automation in recruitment” – This keyword resulted in 7,20,00,000 searches on Google. One can imagine the impact of automation in the recruitment industry has had over the years. There is a big debate on will “automation replace recruiter” for years, but let’s leave that for some other time and a separate blog. There are umpteen numbers of blogs on how automation can help recruitment agencies and so I won’t go much in detail here. The site Www.ideal.com has a great list of top recruiting software tools for 2020. But one aspect it has helped in sourcing and achieving the bottom line for business owners; i.e. reducing time to hire and reduction in cost per CV.
Recruitment business owners can utilise this time to review the tools and resources they plan to use during this crisis for them to come out with positive results. Practical automation tools that can help recruitment agencies identify, track new vacancies, map organisations and generate a list of passive candidates will play a critical role.
4. Operating Models
Work from Home (WfH) / Remote Working model will be proven by the time we are out of the lockdown. All the concerns with regards to efficiency, productivity, client and candidate engagement, reporting, reviews, etc. will have been addressed, ok, that was a little too optimistic statement. However, many businesses will have identified the key gaps and will start putting solutions around it.
During this time, businesses can evaluate the remote offshore recruiting model for both their front and back-office requirement. Remote working is a proven model, and when done effectively with a structured approach, the offshore team can be a backbone for your agency.
10-20 large and many small to medium-sized UK recruitment businesses have an offshore recruitment team ranging from 10 to 400 team members. The model is beneficial within contract recruiting sectors like Locum Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers and IT Contractors. A range of business functions such as CV/Resume sourcing, recruiting, offshore teams cover compliance, reference chasing, database cleansing/regeneration, payroll, finance & accounting, social media marketing, out of hours.
With experienced resource pool already in place and a choice of multiple offshore partners to spoil you with, remote offshore RPO model is a great alternative recruitment business owners must explore in this time. The recent trend has motivated many UK recruitment business owners to set up their centres in partnership with skilled onshore resources in low-cost countries India, Philippines and Sri-Lanka.
For successful implementation and sustainability of an offshore RPO model, recruitment business owners must review the following aspects. To put it, all the processes you’d implement when you recruit someone in your offices.
Focus on reviewing and implementing best practices for suiting your agency during this time. Time is of the essence, and quick decision making will be crucial.