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COVID-19 and Hiring: Now What?

by Chris Dardis

My high school senior has FINALLY chosen a college. My 16-year-old is begging to take her driver’s test which was postponed due to COVID-19. My 13-year-old looks like he’s going to have an open summer with no baseball…so, now what?  Will colleges be open in the fall? Do we throw a graduation open house? How long will the DMV be backed-up for my daughter’s test? Do I allow my 13-year-old to do “nothing” this summer? There are so many questions that do not have clear answers.

Professionally in Minnesota, we are starting to loosen restrictions around COVID-19. Our office has been open for a couple weeks, and bars and restaurants are slated to open in a limited capacity in a couple of weeks. Things seem to be trending in the right direction, and hiring is going to start to increase, but a question came to my mind regarding hiring, and the answer is unclear.

How we move forward? What’s the next step?

unemployment graph 2020 - Versique

National unemployment has spiked to over 14% according to TradingEconomics.com. The great news is people’s furloughs will be ending with things opening back up. Hiring will increase, but I am not sure which sort of hiring will lead the way.

  1. Will leaders simply hire all their Full-Time Employees (FTE) back into their offices?
  2. Will leaders use this opportunity to redefine org-charts and run a little leaner?
  3. Or, will this be the launch-pad for the Gig-Economy where leaders hire variable cost resources/consultants to achieve their goals?

Each leader will have to decide what is the right choice for them. There is no right or wrong, there is simply belief. You must believe it is the correct decision for your company and drive forward.

Another question is, “How will candidates react?” Before COVID-19, we were seeing a trend in flexible work arrangements and requests from candidates to be able to work from home.  Twitter told their employees to stay home…forever.  Will more candidates choose a gig-economy approach, so they have more of a say as to where and how they work?

COVID-19 has allowed employers and employees a chance to reflect upon what is really important to them. What actually matters? Those findings will continue to shape how we move forward as a working society and how things will change.

While I do not know how employers are going to tackle hiring or what stipulations candidates will request, I do know that the things that have truly mattered during this time have been:

  1. Communication
  2. Recognition and conversation around mental wellbeing
  3. A specific focus on the present moment

Best of luck to everyone as our economy starts to reopen. Do not lose the knowledge and insight that you’ve gained during this time. Use the learnings to evolve so we can be stronger than before.

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