In April 2020, the United States saw the biggest layoff numbers since World War II, with unemployment at a record high since the U.S. started tracking these numbers.
During this time, countries across the world were putting shutdowns and mandates in place to protect public health. These forced closings led to mass layoffs so big that the United States federal government had to add a $600-a-week amendment to unemployment benefits.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, U.S. unemployment held steady at 3.5 percent in February 2020. Within a month and a half, it rose to 14.7 percent. That’s roughly 23.1 million people out of work.
Now that we’ve hit the year milestone of living with COVID-19, unemployment numbers are starting to deflate and people are getting back into the workforce.
We’ve been through the great layoffs – now, it’s time for the great rehiring.
Workers are now facing a new employment landscape, one with increased flexibility thanks to COVID-19-mandated remote work. This adds a twist to the great rehiring – people have gotten a taste of freedom and what they’re looking for in a job is much different than it was pre-COVID-19.
Individuals are now pondering if work is really worth putting your health at risk for no real reward, and they’re saying ‘No, it’s not.’ So if companies want to survive the great re-hiring, they’re going to have to meet the workforce not just halfway – all the way.
The great re-hiring is coming, and companies aren’t ready
Once Americans receive their COVID-19 vaccine, the concept of coming back to a physical workspace won’t be as terrifying as it did a year ago. With every American eligible for a vaccine by May, it’s only a matter of time before resumes start flooding companies.
And these companies don’t have the bandwidth to manage hiring demands.
Traditional hiring methods are outdated, expensive, time-consuming, and not efficient enough to handle the thousands of resumes that will inevitably come through over the next few months. On average, it takes companies more than a month to hire a candidate for one position. Add an influx of resumes and that hiring process just doubled or tripled.
With traditional HR models, there is not enough bandwidth to sift through hundreds of resumes to narrow down the best candidate. In fact, hiring managers may miss out on a top candidate just because they were not able to get to their resume.
So, how do business leaders prepare for this influx of talent?
Companies recognize the need for efficient hiring, now it’s time to act on that need
Luckily, these leaders are already recognizing the pain points in traditional hiring, as it wasn’t just workers that were affected by COVID-19. Companies felt the hurt, too. Out of all the businesses that were forced to close at the beginning of the outbreak, 60 percent will never reopen. Those that are still open are forced to run lean.
With thinned-down staff, business leaders are looking for solutions that bring value, and that includes talent. Full-time staff comes with benefits packages, insurance, and even more money lost if a hire has to be let go. In order to survive, companies are focusing on exactly what they need: flexible options that get the job done. And fast.
According to venture capital firm a16z, traditional talent platforms are not remotely equipped to handle this talent influx.
“The tools we currently have at our disposal—the horizontal jobs platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Craigslist—are clearly inadequate for the enormity of the task. The average time to hire in 2018 was 38 days. Given the scale and urgency of the crisis, that’s far too long.”
Business leaders have turned to flexible-talent platforms for more efficient and effective talent. These platforms – like FlexTal, for example – are meeting the needs of both company and flexible talent. Hiring managers no longer need to consider expensive hidden costs that come with hiring and retaining talent. Additionally, the flexible talent companies hire are there to utilize their skills.
Traditional platforms don’t have the capacity, but FlexTal does
Company leaders are quickly recognizing how these platforms benefit their bottom line and keep things moving. In addition to efficiency, the flexible talent on FlexTal is specialized and highly vetted. Specialized, on demand talent means company money is spent on an hourly basis, instead of a full-time salaried basis. Being able to quickly hire talent only when necessary gives business leaders a competitive edge, as they’re being connected with talent in a fraction of the time it takes to hire a full-time employee.
Instead of putting together a package for a full-time employee, companies are now incorporating talent-matching platforms into their budgets. This is especially helpful for specialized projects. Managers could spend valuable time, money, and resources training a current full-time employee on a new skill, or they could be connected to a highly-skilled flexible worker within days.
What happens when a team is missing a small-but-necessary skill? They could move forward with work that does not fit their expectations or hire a full-time employee that is great for the task but underutilized everywhere else. Neither are winning situations and, in fact, underutilization leads to disengagement, one of the biggest problems plaguing the modern workplace.
According to a 2018 Gallup report, only 15 percent of employees are actively engaged at their job. That’s bad news for quality of work and talent retention, which leads to high turnover and a competitive edge that’s guaranteed to be dull.
Talent-matching platforms are solving this by offering companies an alternate option: to fill in the gaps with flexible talent.
How to prepare for the great rehiring
If a company wants to make the most of the re-emerging talent, it will have to rework the way it views employment. That means approaching it from an “anything goes” perspective, as job sourcing and hiring aren’t what they used to be.
Technology is a driving factor in the job market, with tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z taking up most of the workforce. Social media sites Facebook and Twitter were the leading sourcing channels in 2021, with LinkedIn coming in fourth.
Companies must embrace all emerging tech to survive, but especially remote technology, because it’s never going away.
“In 2021, the key to attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent will be letting go of preconceived notions we had about what makes a successful employee,” said Nirit Peled-Muntz, Chief People Officer, Hibob. “In the new world of work, certain skills like the ability to collaborate remotely and work self-sufficiently have gone from nice-to-haves to necessities. Additionally, our talent pool has gone global, so it’s time for us to throw away the rule book and start fresh with innovative ideas that help us build inclusive, connected, and successful teams amid this new landscape.”
What Peled-Muntz describes isn’t a bad thing. A global talent pool means businesses have a better competitive edge. And with talent-matching platforms like FlexTal, competitive talent is on demand for businesses worldwide.
Lindsay Patton is a self-employed writer and social media strategist. A leader for most of her career, Lindsay has managed more than 250 direct employees and loves mentoring young talent to help grow their skills. She spent seven years as a reporter and editor and is still an active writer and journalist. In 2016, Lindsay started taking social media seriously and the skill quickly became one of her specialties. Within the past two years, Lindsay has been invited to speak on social media and leadership in the workplace by Ernst & Young, Social Media Day PHL, The W.E.L.L. Summit, and more. She has found happiness in the self-employed life because it allows her the flexibility to spend quality time with her husband and their two goofball dogs.