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Did someone say global pandemic?!! We’re probably all getting tired of hearing about it. But the fact is that the world will never be the same again, and its final impact on global talent mobility is still very much up in the air. We’re fighting for everything, whether it be the war for talent; state vs. federal or Pfizer vs. AstraZeneca the game is on! Over a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global markets and caused major disruptions in our economies and our daily lives. Many countries had to impose social distancing, quarantine measures and border-closings in the hopes of managing the pandemic. Similarly, organisations had to change the way they managed their business and global talent mobility programs due to changes implemented by governments, leaving them with little time to stay ahead of the game and plan proactively.

Fast-forward to today. As the world starts to recover from the pandemic and adapt to a vastly different environment, there is a need for organisations and businesses to begin planning for their employees’ re-entry to a “new normal”.

Here at The Acquire Group, we’ve seen that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been significant and far-reaching for many of our clients. While the specific impacts have varied from industry to industry and workplace to workplace, a common thread is that many businesses have been forced to consider changes to their operating model and ways of working in order to survive, in a similar way to ourselves. Many organisations have reacted quickly, doing whatever is required to keep their employees safe and the lights on and some organisations have moved into improving their resilience to this challenge.

So What Are You Doing To Win The War? (Answer The Questions Below)

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a real reluctance from too many organisations to even entertain the idea of sponsoring someone’s visa who was thinking about moving from overseas. And there was genuine apathy around taking on a visa for someone who was already in the country, it seemed that the appetite for “new blood” had been lost. So with international borders closed by COVID-19 restrictions has the Australian talent pool become stagnant?

  • What permanent employee mix will you choose?
  • Where and when will you use contingent contractors and consultants?
  • How will you build talent through up-skilling and re-skilling?
  • What roles can be augmented with better IT?
  • And the most controversial question of all. What mix of base options (office space, working from home, off-shored etc) will you offer?

The war for talent has never been so savage! As we all come out of the “Covid Blanket” and embrace the new norm, what is brutally evident is that the world is even more competitive and human capital will become an even more important factor to business success. The new norm is bringing with it a bidding war. Top talent will move to the highest bidder, not necessarily in monetary terms but for the best opportunities and they will not stay with an organisation whose values are not aligned with their core values. The organisational brand becomes even more important, employees must strive to create loyalty by investing in ways to better engage the workforce and understand the motivations of different generations, and by increasing flexibility to meet those needs. True leaders within the people & culture function that support their organisation through this process will find their transition out of reaction, and beyond resilience building, to be smoother (and perhaps more aligned than before the impact of COVID-19). This iterative approach will better position organisations to thrive in response to external influences and empower the business to slowly extend their time horizons and scenarios into the new normal.

Internal Talent Mobility MUST Be A Key Part Of Your Talent Strategy A trend that we’ve been watching build over the last few months is the number of new clients coming to us as they are struggling to fill positions. What’s the real reason behind this? Is there a skills shortage?

A slow or delayed recruitment process indicates a problem with your selection process, not a reduced flow of candidates. All too often there are never enough qualified candidates to go around, you can’t afford to engage in the old way of hiring that involves keeping a job open until the right person (finally) shows up! Think like a recruiter and talent pool! You should always be cultivating top talent and then waiting for the right job to become available.

Ownership (People and Culture Have A Day Job Too!) Employee selection is the responsibility of the individual hiring manager; it’s a leadership function that is supported by and not passed off to People and Culture (or the Talent Acquisition Team, if there is one). That means that you should communicate thoroughly what you need and make hiring decisions swiftly, while P&C supply you with talent and facilitate the process.

Hire Slow, Fire Fast This old cliche is 99.9% wrong, employers who are slow to hire are risk-averse and fear making a bad decision. This more often than not, like many fears in life, comes from a previous bad decision, and in attempts to avoid that mistake again, they slow down the hiring process and come to believe that speed and accuracy are mutually exclusive. The only thing that this does is slow things down – good talented people move on to other opportunities and the job remains a vacant position. Move quickly and with pace – trust your instincts – value insights – PLEASE JUST MAKE A DECISION!!!

Living In The Dark Ages As Shirley Bassey told us, it seems quite clear that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating! This is how it’s always been done, so it must be right – REALLY!!! Many organisations keep doing things the same way, even if that way is ineffective. For example, some companies have unwritten rules, such as reviewing a minimum of eight to ten candidates before making a hire, even when a highly qualified candidate is identified among the first few candidates. Old processes often bog down the process and send top talent to faster competitors. Instead of sticking with the status quo, keep what works and replace the rest. Be willing to change and evolve your processes as needed.

Most critically though the pandemic has not dimmed the importance of new jobs, both domestic and international, as these provide global growth and genuine development. While there is an increased hesitancy to relocate at this time, there are many who view relocation as an essential part of their career plan. We all must continue to develop critical local talent pipelines while ensuring that we consider the benefits of “virtual assignment” arrangements, although they bring with them an added level of complexity as employers we MUST be purpose-driven and enable work to work better for all people.