August 6, 2020

The 13 Human Resources After-effects of Remote Work and Tighter Budgets

We live in an uncertain time. A global health crisis forces a shift to remote work, while economic losses threaten budgets. At the same time, a movement for social justice demands we do more to eliminate bias.

In the face of these challenges, the future appears cloudy. How will you lead an HR organization through these changes into a better future of work? Inaction is not an option. You need to choose positive changes that seize the moment and address the current challenges, while putting you in position for whatever the future brings.

Here’s how we see this playing out and what it means to you.

Efficiency will be a necessity. Hiring will not be getting less competitive, and engaging existing talent will not become less important. Talent teams will want to use AI to work smarter and spend their time on improving the candidate and employee experience. One technology company, among the fastest-growing companies in the world, increased the number of positions handled per recruiter by 50 percent within a quarter with Eightfold. 

Interviews and selection will change. We talked on this blog about how to interview someone for a remote job. It’s not the same as in person; for example, “video interviews can eat up more of an applicant’s energy.” More here.

Most everyone will be your potential employee. Remote-only companies for years have found a competitive advantage in their ability to hire anyone, anywhere. Now’s a good time to do the same. 

Most everyone will be your potential talent competitor. Your competitors can hire away your people, no matter where they’re located. People often leave for new challenges, promotions, and the chance to use skills that’ve been going dormant. Improving your internal mobility can preempt this turnover.

Budgets are tight; internal sourcing will happen first. Many companies will be spending less on recruiting agencies, point-solution sourcing tools, and job boards. The alternative: uncovering who you know from your Talent Network. Many great candidates are going undiscovered. They’re past employees, past applicants, employee referrals, and current employees. Advanced AI can tell you what jobs they fit in now, based on their skills. More about it in this ATAP webinar

Employees will be nervous about quitting, but still want to grow. Employees want job security. And, they’ll care about their careers. Career planners can help them see what skills they’ll need to grow, and can even link to courses at outside companies like Coursera or EdCast. 

The “I can’t hire them, I haven’t met them” idea will fall by the wayside. Remote-only companies have hired people for years without ever meeting in person. Virtual hiring will be done by most every company now.

College recruiting will leave the dark ages. Employers will move away from the intense number of in-person college visits. And, they’ll increasingly realize people often go to lesser-known schools because of financial reasons or personal reasons, not a lack of ability. 

An expanded geography will improve diversity. The claim that “there are no diverse candidates where we operate” no longer works if you’re hiring from everywhere. More remote work will improve diversity and help avoid the vicious cycle of job candidates from under-represented communities not wanting to move to places like Silicon Valley

Removing race/gender/ethnicity while sourcing will also help increase diversity. “And anonymized hiring using AI will allow Business and HR leaders to make a statement that they’ve removed unconscious bias from the funnel,” says Ashish Mediratta, former senior HR director at Tata Communications and now Principal, Talent Transformation at Eightfold.

Despite higher unemployment, the candidate experience will become more, not less, important. There’ll be more job applicants, and thus more people who need to be treated like customers. Companies will want to show candidates the jobs they can do based on the valuable skills that candidates have, so they feel good about applying rather than dropping off the career site.

In-office perks will be extended to the home office. Many companies are taking their in-office perks and extending those benefits to the home office. Desks, chairs, monitors and communications are now being supplemented by employers to keep their employees happy during these difficult times. Wellness and philanthropic opportunities are still being fulfilled, but remotely, as employees are finding ways to break up multiple hours of video calls.

Companies will look for ways to reduce layoffs. Great employees have for years been swept up in layoffs because they’re in struggling departments, even if the employees could have been valuable in other parts of the company. There’ll be less of this, as technology has made it easier to redeploy people whose skills match jobs open internally. (One Fortune 500 bank recently saved 58 percent of its workers expected to be laid off, saving $40 million and 1,700+ jobs.)