In an uncertain world, look ahead to the possibilities which still remain

Released On 18th Mar 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – our advice for business owners currently recruiting or thinking about recruiting.

Coronavirus is sweeping the globe at an exponential rate – and that includes us here in the UK.  We’re all aware of the potential economic impact of the spread of the virus – and whilst the health of the nation, particularly the most vulnerable – remains of paramount importance, a thriving economy is part of an individual’s health and well-being too. Business owners should take this time to consider how we protect the future growth of our businesses.

The natural reaction may be to ‘batten down the hatches’, suspending growth and spending plans.

But let me ask you to consider the following.  This will pass. It may not feel like it right now, with certain news channels and media delivering not only the facts, alongside a large dose of speculation and opinion – but we will see an end to this. This is a crucial period to ensure the survival of your business now and to invest in your future.

How should we tackle recruitment within different industries? 

This will differ from industry to industry, with travel, hospitality, leisure and retail being among the most hard hit. For those who have started to wonder what you will do with any extra pairs of hands, and how you’ll manage the additional heads on payroll. It may be that the right response is to announce a temporary recruitment freeze. The important thing is to take a long term view on this, it may be your only option or it may not.

Right now, I understand that if suddenly business decreases exponentially and being a customer facing industry the prospect of working from home isn’t an option. A priority is keeping your current trained workforce loyal by supporting them and making sure that when business does improve, you have the perfect team ready to serve all your loyal customers again. Seek as much advice as you can from specialists in their field now and for when business picks up. It will ensure once recruitment does take precedent again, you can do so quickly with low costs.

How about the rest of us? 

Those working in the B2B industries, we have never been more prepared. Technology is so advanced and the nation has already been thinking innovatively to promote flexible and remote working.  Prospective customers may be telling you that they are pausing on making an order until the impact of the virus ceases – but not all of them. Providers are already creating new and innovative ways to continue business growth and development through the technological tools available to us.  
Here’s our advice for the owners of scaling businesses, wanting to continue to grow, but are unsure about how Coronavirus will play out:

  • Be mindful of being too reactive.  Particularly with senior or specialist hires.  The process to hire candidates at this level can take months.  From first announcing the vacancy, through their notice period to their first day in the office.  If you’re currently at the early stages in the process – consider keeping the vacancies active, with the long-term view of the business in mind.
  • Be completely transparent with candidates.  If there is uncertainty, but you’d like to continue to keep your recruitment moving – be honest with candidates about the length of the process, when they would expect to hear from you, and what happens next.
  • Keep a long-term perspective and avoid knee-jerk reactions.  Once we come out of the other side of this virus (which we will) we anticipate a hiring boom once we are in more certain times.  If you have the resources to continue with a considered hiring plan in line with the long term goals of the business, you will avoid the dip in resource that other business owners may experience – which could ultimately extend the period of low productivity within a business.
 Ultimately the decision comes down to asking the following questions:

‘What is the potential impact of making the hire(s)?’

‘What is the potential impact of not making the hire(s)?’

Consider the short term and long-term implications of both responses.

Of course, this is a developing situation, changing by the hour – and we must react in the best interest of our business and our existing team.  But if you have ambitious growth plans and are bursting at the seams to deliver your services, it may be worth considering the bigger picture, before implementing short term reactions.