The 'New Normal' for Recruiters
As lockdown restrictions have been easing, recruiters may be considering what the 'new normal' will look like for them. The lasting impact of COVID-19 may still be unknown, but one thing is certain – the crisis will shape the way business is conducted in the future.
As the government announced its 'Return to Work Safely' plan, it is imperative that companies assess what impact the crisis has had upon company strategy and lay the foundation for a more resilient and brighter future.
There are a number of key considerations and opportunities, which are likely to be at the forefront of recruiters’ agendas going forward.
Digital Optimisation and Transformation
Many recruiters have adapted to an increased use of technology, something that was very much a pre COVID-19 focus already for the sector. It is likely this will only continue to develop, setting the pace for digitally optimising existing business operations and creating a digital transformation agenda company-wide. Whilst remaining sensible about company expenditures in view of the dip in the economy, technology remains an essential cost and a key driver of growth.
A vast number of businesses were forced to change their working practices overnight back in March when lockdown began. Virtual ways of working were not only essential but have become the new norm, a move that has been successful for many. Video interviews and meetings are here for the duration. Not only do they save time and increase efficiency, it makes it easier to catch up with clients and candidates more regularly as well as saving on travel expenses. This could mean recruiters questioning the importance of traditional client 'face time' which has been central to any professional service. Whilst in-person face-to-face meetings are unlikely to become extinct, the future appears much more digitally focused.
Returning to the Office
COVID-19 has made recruiters consider whether an office premises has a key role in their overall business strategy. The reality has been for many that the majority of work can be carried out from home, which places a question mark on future planning and budget decisions. So should we still have offices? Home working can be both a positive and negative experience, depending on individual circumstances. Communication is generally easier face-to-face and training employees is more effective in person. The social aspect of an office environment should also factor from a mental health perspective. In all likelihood, whilst home working can prove successful, most firms will keep some sort of physical premises, giving employees a choice of where they work. However, premises may be fewer and smaller as it is unlikely everybody will be in the office daily or at the same time post COVID-19.
One of the main risks recruiters should be focusing on is cyber threats. With many employees spending more time at home and online, and a heavier reliance on technology for collaboration and connection, it is often a much less secure cyber environment than an office.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of cyber attacks during the COVID-19 crisis as criminals take advantage of reduced security measures during the pandemic. No matter the size of your firm, cyber security has become an even more pressing issue that firms must address.
Amongst the most popular type of cyber attacks are phishing scams, with criminals impersonating legitimate organisations, such as HMRC or WHO, in order to compromise accounts and gain access to company data and resources.
Sadly this trend of preying on businesses after high profile events or disasters is not a unique one to COVID-19. Cyber criminals look to target computer networks and systems of individuals and businesses at a time when cyber defences may be lower due to attention being diverted elsewhere – such as natural disasters like hurricanes or other health crises.
Recruiters will need to keep their company strategies flexible in order to respond to a new way of working and evolve with changing client expectations. A 'digital first' agenda will need to be central to business growth and profitability – needing the investment and commitment by business leaders to make this a reality.
Digital transformation, however, increases vulnerabilities, threats and security issues. The problem of cyber crime is only likely to continue, meaning companies must ensure they have the right IT infrastructure/security, risk management and cyber insurance in place. Should you suffer an attack, then a comprehensive cyber insurance policy will enable a firm to get back on its feet as swiftly as possible, with minimal impact.
It is important to recognise that amidst this new-found reality, recruiters that adopt a 'digital-first' way of thinking and operating can benefit from increased efficiencies, improved client engagement and a more agile way of working in future.
For further information and industry insights for the recruiter from Marsh Commercial please view here.
Peter Stoll, Director
0161 228 0444