Finding and retaining new talent has never been an easy task, even in the best of circumstances. This process—like many tried and true business processes—has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, unemployment has soared as workers have been laid off and many companies have either limited or completely frozen hiring. Despite this, organizations are still looking for new talent, albeit in an entirely different landscape.

“Like everything with COVID-19, there are going to be permanent changes,” said Luke Marson, president at iXerv Americas.

The current economic conditions have compelled companies all over the world to shift their recruiting and onboarding practices, both in the short and long term. While some aspects of the hiring process—such as face-to-face interviews—are likely to return as soon as it is safe, the current environment has demanded some new changes that will likely become integral aspects of recruitment into the future.

“This is a catalyst that’s accelerating certain initiatives that everybody knew had to be done,” said Arun Srinivasan, general manager of SAP Fieldglass.

Video Conference Interviews Become a Standard

As companies transitioned many of their employees to remote work, video calls have replaced regular meetings with colleagues. The same is true for hiring new employees. “Video is going to become the de facto standard for interviewing,” said Sherryanne Meyer, director of corporate communications at Rizing.

According to Meyer, while companies will eventually begin bringing final candidates into offices for in-person interviews, screening interviews early in the hiring process will likely now be conducted via video. “We’re much more comfortable with [video conferencing],” she said. “We learned we can do it, and we are not afraid of it.”

With such an emphasis on video conferencing, Meyer believes that hiring managers will start looking at other factors of a candidate’s presentation while considering them for a job. “People are going to be looking at your background,” she said. “It is your new visual. Like when you first walked into an office—what were you wearing and how did you present yourself?”

Software Is Essential to Engage with Prospective and New Employees

Despite the large number people who are now out of work, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it significantly harder to find new talent, especially for specialized skill sets. One challenge comes from all the new candidates looking to fill jobs. 

“COVID-19 has put a burden on hiring managers to deal with the excess volume,” Marson said. “There’s such a large supply of candidates out there looking for work right now, and quite a small number of job openings.”

Companies are relying on digital solutions to find the best talent in the most efficient way possible. Although this is accelerating now, managing the hiring process through digital workflows is not at all a new approach.

“One of the things we are seeing across the board is a drive toward digital transformation,” Marson said. “There are a lot of business processes that have been put in place because of COVID-19 that companies were previously considering.”

Sourcing Skilled Workers During COVID-19

SAP is rolling out new solutions to help companies acquire talent during the pandemic, including the recently announced SAP Fieldglass External Talent Marketplace, which aims to help companies find contingent and temporary workers.

“What this offering does is connect organizations that need temporary workers with staffing firms that can supply them,” Srinivasan said. “This comes with predefined workflows that make it easy for a hiring manager to come in and fulfill their hiring needs.”

The solution was developed directly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the team watched vital user KPIs focused on fill rates and the supplier network. Srinivasan said the SAP Fieldglass team hoped to give hiring managers a platform to find temporary workers during a time when they could not “rely exclusively on traditional sources.” This new solution is free of charge in the U.S. through the end of 2020 and helps businesses engage with a reliable marketplace of skilled flexible workers vetted by several premier staffing firms, including Adecco, Guidant Global, and Randstad—all without having to purchase a new piece of software.

“By making that connection happen between the demand and the supply, we hope to help both sides,” Srinivasan said. “This helps you run your business, become more efficient, and ultimately assists hiring managers and human resource practitioners.”

Furloughed and Unemployed Workers Stay Connected in SAP SuccessFactors

Many workers have found themselves either furloughed or laid off from their positions. Yet what’s different about this economic downturn is that it has forced organizations to part with employees they did not necessarily want to part with. “In the past, we saw people laid off and that’s it. You broke the connection with them,” Meyer said. “Now companies are interested in keeping in touch with them.”

Similarly, companies are interested in staying in close touch with their furloughed employees. To address these new issues, organizations are relying on their human capital management solutions to keep track of these workers.

“Companies are finding ways to use their SAP SuccessFactors system,” Meyer said. “For example, there's a configuration that can help us keep in touch with our furloughed workers. You create a talent pool that's different for them. You can encourage them to come in and create a new profile.”

This allows companies to reuse furloughed employees in other ways, beyond their job they were furloughed from, according to each employee’s skill set.

Use of Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Blockchain Increases for HR

Over the past few years, companies have used automation, blockchain, and AI technologies in their hiring processes. These technologies have helped hiring managers sort through resumes and identify the perfect candidates with the perfect experience and skill sets.

Meyers said blockchain will be a way for employers to validate a candidate’s credentials. Elements of one’s background, such as education and job experience, can be linked together from verified electronic documents.

Srinivasan also sees the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance for the industry to embrace these technologies and create “collective talent pools of employees and candidates.”

In his view, a lot of the digital transformation from the last decade has centered on making manual processes digital. But now, digital transformation is about simplifying processes. “Organizations are being forced to take another look at how they can strip away a lot of the complexity and keep focused on our goal: getting work done.”

Attend a webcast focused on how SAP SuccessFactors is helping companies process workforce credentials. 

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