The current COVID-19 pandemic is a global tragedy with profoundly human consequences. The impacts of which are causes of concern and uncertainty for the global economy. It’s a situation that is well beyond the experience of most businesses.

As clients becomes more reluctant to buy and the market stalls, the tendency is to reduce costs and discretionary spending as much as possible. This is often through hiring freezes, or laying off employees.
Whilst sometimes necessary, some of these hastily made cost reduction decisions can produce long term effects that could drastically affect the post-crisis success of the company. In order to effectively manage talent pools through times like this, companies must make sure that they are hiring, developing and retaining the best possible talent.  There is no room for error.


Tip #1: Hire the right people
When crisis hits and companies focus on cutting costs—or on their very survival—a hiring freeze is often put in place. But if history is any guide, in the first few months after the upheaval subsides, hiring quickly becomes a front-burner issue and companies need to move quickly.

In the wake of past downturns, many companies found that it took years to restart their recruiting engines (and rebuild talent pipelines) that had been shut down. A thoughtful approach to keeping these engines running – even if at a slower rate – will enable you to significantly outpace your competitors when markets heat up.

If you are considering hiring during a crisis period, you’ll undoubtedly be aware that there is no room for error.  During a pandemic, interviewing candidates becomes a significant challenge.  Whilst video technology is readily available in today’s market, most hiring managers report that it’s just ‘not the same’ as being in a room with someone.

This is where using a quality personality assessment such as the Caliper Profile in your process becomes more important than ever.  Delving ‘beneath the surface’ to understand the potential strengths and limitations of your candidates could help you spot subtleties in your recruitment process that are hard to observe in a video interview situation.

There are obvious financial losses associated with bad hiring. Aside from the hard costs associated with salary, training, and superannuation, there is also the cost of wasted productivity and potential reputational damage, administrative costs, potential legal costs and flow-on performance costs.

Simply put, making a bad hiring decision in a time where cashflow is likely a major issue is a mistake that companies cannot afford.  For the inconsequential cost of a personality assessment, companies significantly increase their chances of hiring people that can help their organisation succeed in the time of crisis, and in the future.


Tip #2: Managing and Leading a Remote Workforce

As COVID-19 forces employers to embrace remote work, leaders have found themselves faced with a unique challenge: engaging employees from afar and managing them effectively in entirely new circumstances.
As a manager or HR professional, it’s important to motivate, align, and engage your remote employees.

While communication is always essential for leaders, it becomes of paramount importance when working remotely — not only in terms of documenting decisions and meetings, but also in terms of reaching out to team members. According to a study outlined in the HBR, 46% of remote workers said the best managers were those who “checked in frequently and regularly.” The most successful managers are good listeners, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and err on the side of over communicating. Some of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to embrace video conferencing and dedicate a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting to open-ended questions, such as “How are you coping working from home?”

Furthermore, it is important for managers to know whether remote workers are likely to enjoy a level of autonomy in their work, or to be closely guided and directed.  In the Caliper Profile, high scores on the trait of External Structure suggest that a remote worker will likely respond well to frequent direction and guidance, and may disengage if this is not provided.  Conversely, a high score on Self-Structure suggests that an employee will likely enjoy a level of autonomy and may reject ongoing close monitoring.  Tailoring your management style to the needs of your remote team is likely to result in a more engaged and dependable workforce.


Why engagement is key

The key to surviving in challenging times is to sharpen up your decisions talent management.  Be more informed, and ensure that your existing staff are engaged.  An engaged employee is more likely to be a high performing and productive employee. Not only do these kinds of employees often do the tasks of two or more full-time positions, but they can be infectiously positive members of the team. Top talent inspires others to rise to the occasion, work smarter and collaborate more effectively.