Past one week has tested the best of organisations and personnel globally. Given the situation with the pandemic, many businesses have taken steps to continue delivering products and services to their customers in the Corona virus crisis. Everybody involved within the healthcare recruitment industry, either onshore or an offshore RPO across functions would have experience dealing both with clients and candidates in these challenging times.
As the saying goes, “Change is hard at the beginning, Messy in the Middle and Gorgeous at the End”, we are all the at the beginning of this change, charting a path as a “new normal” for all of us as we continue working and battling to come out victoriously from the pandemic. Some things which will change forever, especially the way we operate.
1. Remote Staffing/Work From Home
We have already seen a host of businesses moving to this model in the past week. Big non-believers and anti Work From Home decision-makers on the board and management teams have had to move to this model to ensure the delivery of products and services.
A simple search with keywords “how to reject work from home request” on google.co.uk resulted in 58,30,00,000 search results. Imagine the rigidity of not letting staff work from home until now?
A mammoth task of equipping the teams with computer systems/Laptops, internet and telephony by IT personnel of various outsourcing companies is commendable. This also highlights the preparedness of outsourcing companies to battle situations and tests disaster management processes. However, no organisation or industry is immune to this pandemic, and as outlined in this article, Coronavirus exposes the fragility of the outsourcing industry by horsesforsourses.com.
The work from home model will be thoroughly tested in line with the outcome, feedback from customers, management and team members working this model. This scenario might change the landscape of the outsourcing industry as a whole.
Many businesses will also be looking at providing a facility to work from shared office setup such as Regus, We Work, etc. for their staff to avoid commute while ensuring an office-like environment.
2. Management and Training
Remote working will also change the way teams are managed and governed. Organisations will need to retrain both their staff and Managers and equip them with tools to work and manage respectively. Many companies have already started using tools such as Zoom and Google Duo for virtual meetings. Companies will need to get used to trusting the teams with the work from home model and also emphasise on delivering essential requirements against tracking every minute “are you on the desk”, akin to micromanagement culture. Managers will need to rely on the bottom-line results; i.e. completion of work done against other attributes such as dressing, behaviour, etc. which are critical when working from the offices when evaluating team members.
A new host of organisation behavioural training such as coordinating with colleagues when working remotely, reviewing work, imparting feedback to remote team members, etc. will need to be inducted for these changing times.
Teams will also need to be training on using remote working tools, and online Learning Management Systems (LMS) will be inducted for skill enhancement against relying 100% upon classroom-based training. Many enterprises will already have this in place. Still, a large number of small and medium organisations will also need to start utilising this avenue to be in line with the changes in the business environment.
Cross-training respective team members will be key for organisations to be able to cater to situations when required. Team Members will need to be flexible to this approach.
3. Business Travel
One cannot replace the impact of a face to face meeting in a business setting; however, with the new norm; we will see limited travel only for the most critical and essential business meetings. We already see the Promoters, Chief Executive Officers and Decision Makers globally utilising remote tools to manage the business in this crucial situation, and this will be the new normal.
Many high flying executives might not like this. Still, the travel budgets in the organisations will see a reduction and business-critical case’ will need to be made to the management for respective approval, especially within the small to medium-sized businesses. This will also have a positive impact on many meetings conducted as a reduction in travel has a positive effect on the budgets annually, but also saves considerable travel time.
Impact of face to face meetings will be minutely analysed and evaluated by the businesses to ensure this was an expense worth incurring.
Business executives will travel for critical business meetings while candidates will only be probably invited for a face to face meetings for final interviews and closure, respectively.
4. Digital Marketing Growth
Out of sight, out of mind. Limitation in business travel will lead to increased utilisation of digital marketing and businesses will need to be creative to stand out against the USP of having an onsite or onshore Account Manager/Personnel.
A portion from the travel budget will be allocated to this mode of generating new prospects and team members. More and more organisations will use video marketing as one would want to show the presence of their personnel. Many trade associations within the UK recruitment industry are using online platforms to discuss industry-related issues, conduct training sessions etc.
As a result, this will only increase in line with the new normal of working from home. Companies will increase their spend on SEO, Google Ad words, Facebook marketing, etc. and digital marketing literacy will be a trait requirement for Managers in this era. Especially, small to midsized companies who cannot absorb the cost of a dedicated marketing director or personnel.
“Digital Footprint will have a bigger role to play against the Physical Footprint”.
5. Business Contingency Planning or Business Continuity Planning (BCP)
The pandemic has forcefully pushed businesses to take this aspect of the business very seriously. Organisations with best of preparedness with Disaster Management have faced a mammoth task of managing the logistics for their staff to work from home. Almost all sizes of businesses will need to prepare themselves for the BCP process (we hope a calamity like this doesn’t happen again in our lifetime), however, as the saying goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail, better late than never”. BCP is required to ensure that team members and respective assets are protected and can function in a short period when there is a disaster.o
Enterprises will have these systems and processes in place; it’s the small to mid-size businesses that will need to come together more than ever and work unanimously towards this solution. Well documented procedures will hold the key. Expert assistance from experienced personnel from within the industry will play a critical role in devising such procedures. (I am confident when working in the recruitment industry it will be relatively easy to find people with this experience who can help you design these processes for your organisation :)).
This will include considering back infra or partnering with businesses outside your industry for infra requirement, outsourcing, nearshoring, etc. Whatever measures to ensure the company continues to operate in any given situation barring the natural calamities such as fire, earthquake, floods, etc.
There are multiple free and paid resources online that provide BCP templates. A simple search with keywords such as BCP templates will come up with different results for you to review and choose from the search results.
An effective working from home setup will open up the Pandora box of candidates rejected in the past due to unwillingness to travel or companies policy of no remote teams. Yes, there might be a slowdown in the markets globally owing to the pandemic; however, remote working practice will only unveil more options both for the candidates and organisations to choose jobs and team members respectively.
We cannot ignore the fact that the rigid “Only work from the office” policy did have a strain on recruiting skilled talent for ages. Many recruitment professionals will now be happy that this vast pool of candidates will be open for them to recruit and appoint. The impact will be much higher on all the aspects ranging from reduced turnaround time for interviews, feedback, offer acceptance rates, cost per CV, turnaround time per placement and cost per hire.
7. Multiple Supply Chain Model (MSCM)
MSCM will apply to almost every business function and industry. This is one of the attributes covered under BCP, your supply chain. Especially within the recruitment business where many mid-to-large recruitment businesses have a heavy reliance on one offshore partner with regards all the front and back-office services. There are many benefits of working with one dedicated supplier; however, with changing times, recruitment businesses will consider multiple suppliers in place to manage such situations. Offshoring is here to stay, however, nearshoring (either at a location with cheaper resources within the country or a nearby country) will also increase when businesses are looking at back-up support that can be hassle-free.
MSCM model has multiple benefits; back in the year 2004-5, I worked for a leading call centre providing support for a large computer system manufacturer. Two additional suppliers of the same city excluding our centre were assigned the technical support process. Owing to this competitive environment, each centre strived to deliver quality customer services to their customers. The critical parameter was customer experience score, and even a fraction of difference in the score led to respective centre winning more business. However, the real incentive here was for the client whose customer service scores increased in comparison, and their sales figures improved many folds. Of course, unlike every business process, a structured process must be implemented for a positive outcome.
Let us know how your business environment has changed and how you are adapting to new ways of working.