Businesses across the globe are navigating unprecedented disruption to ensure business continuity and long-term prosperity. For many, this includes finding an efficient way to lift and shift people into current available employment as well as redeploying and upskilling existing employees.
Globally, we’re seeing the biggest redeployment of Talent since World War II. Given most non-essential businesses are working from home and travel is largely suspended, this means turning to digital technologies to help recruit, retain and identify opportunities for employees. Face to face interviews and assessments, as well as internal development and training activities must all shift (at least in the medium term) to the virtual and online world.
All of which presents both a challenge and an opportunity to TA Managers and HR leaders.
The challenge is to ensure that human connectivity and empathy remains at the core of any technology driven recruitment process at a time when most people are feeling anxious, concerned and situationally disconnected from their usual professional and personal routines.
The opportunity is to dismantle the traditional silos between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management functions, and leverage human-centric technologies to optimise current and future redistribution of the workforce.
Redesigned right, virtual processes can help to drive fairer, more transparent, and most importantly, more compassionate employment outcomes. Let’s look at how to ensure the human touch in a virtual world.
1. Amplify the trust
In the current state of flux and employment anxiety, it is more important than ever to provide clear and consistent information about job availability and the process to secure available roles.
As you shift to virtual external recruitment and more data driven Talent Management processes, ensure that you provide as much clarity as you can about what candidates can expect, including key dates, IT requirements, and lead times. Help candidates understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind unfamiliar technology by providing information as to what the platform looks like, how the data is processed and how the outcomes are achieved. If given sufficient information, people are much more likely to be comfortable.
Secondly, the old adage that ‘people buy from people’ is most certainly true when it comes to recruitment. Trust is often built by identifying with a person’s values and identifying with what an individual or entity says and does. In a virtual recruitment world, this means building authentic human content and two-way interactions into the process. Consider things like ‘day in the life of’ multi-media contributions (think video, blogs, social-media short form vlogs) from existing employees, POV video of the usual workplace and virtual fireside chats that allow for informal questions and answers.
Lastly, if your organisation has a range of open headcounts, empower internal and external candidates with the data and confidence to look at a range of alternate career options – particularly if their background or degree is in an area of falling demand. For instance, even before application. the pymetrics’s guidance solution can provide candidates with a personalised shortlist of all their best-fit potential roles in an organisation simply after a short series of engaging exercises. Because the recommendations are made based on objective behavioural data, the odds of them performing well in the job – regardless of their past experiences – is significantly higher.
2. Minimise the (video) awkward by going one-way
Not all digital interviews are created equally.
In our own working lives, we’ve all got war stories about video conferencing fails. From frozen screens, through awkward pauses and talking over colleagues, it isn’t always the best experience – so imagine how daunting it could be to a prospective candidate who may also be juggling family and children confined to home?
Asynchronous or one-way interviews can be an attractive option to get over some of these hurdles. One-way video functionality allows candidates to record their responses to pre-recorded questions at a time to suit their own personal schedule, and also enables recruiters and hiring managers to preview, collaborate and evaluate at their convenience. As all candidates are asked the same questions and are able to control their own response environments, it is also a good leveller because it removes most of the subjectivities which threaten in-person hiring interviews.
Indeed, to further mitigate bias, pymetrics also offers audio-only digital interviews and advise on competency-based questions and rating anchors with direct relevance to the role to support consistency and objectivity throughout the interview process.
If two-way video interviews are required, there are also a number of strategies which organisations can adopt to ease the process, including spending more time to build rapport with the candidate prior to commencing the interview, and pre-interview communications to ensure the candidate is comfortable with the technology and knows what to expect well in advance.
3. Maximise the inclusivity
Perhaps the most daunting shift for Talent executives is the one to virtual assessment and development centres, given the central role in-person human connection plays. However, running these centres virtually need not be seen as a lesser alternative, and can in fact be advantageous to inclusion.
For example, candidates from non-metro areas who might typically struggle to attend assessment interviews because of distance or prohibitive costs now have more of an opportunity to participate.
As with digital interviews, the key is to not transplant the activities online wholesale, but rather consider critically the kind of activities that are natural to online virtual interactions such as role plays or business analysis exercises. Tap into professional expertise to help design, review and implement the changes to ensure they are as robust and empathetic as possible. Our team of Industrial/ Organisational (IO) Psychologists at pymetrics provides consultations to our clients to ensure their processes are aligned not only with business objectives, but also ethical and legal standards.
Only time will tell what our new normal will look like when the world emerges from the current high-level restrictions in place, but it is reasonable to assume that some elements of our personal and professional lives will have been changed fundamentally.
The digitisation of organisations has accelerated exponentially as people are seeing first-hand the very human benefits of connectivity and protection technology can bring. Consequently, there is a real opportunity to re-imagine the fundamentals of our workplaces and how we make workforce decisions by using technology to create a system that elevates the principles of fairness, equality and diversity for all.
A silver lining and an opportunity for all TA and HR professionals.
Cover image: Shutterstock
This article is contributed by pymetrics.
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