The global pandemic that is the coronavirus has catalysed a ripple effect in both personal and professional livelihoods. With the general feeling of unease across all industries, for both those in employment and currently looking for it, now more than ever people need to feel informed and ‘in the loop’.
As specialist recruiters we are fortunate enough to speak to those on both sides of the coin. Being able to understand how top business and HR leaders are reacting to this crisis is imperative to long term staff retention, but also implementing ongoing communications to prospective talent is vital for successful business outcomes.
Internal communication to consolidate long term retention
People are at the heart of good businesses, so making sure that employees feel cared for in moments of crisis is crucial for instilling both loyalty and employer longevity. In order to do this, having regular contact in place and updating staff of changes or even of no changes, allows for people to feel as though they are ‘in this together’ with their companies. Communication is a key retention tool in the best of times, so consistency should be unwavering in times of universal angst. In our findings, it has become apparent that the organisations that have been forthcoming with their communications are in return, inspiring further loyalty, creativity and productivity amongst employees.
On the flip side of this, for those that aren’t choosing to invest in communicating effectively, they may find in time, that employees feel resentful for not feeling accounted for in their moment of need. This may raise issues later down the line about whether the time has come for them to change organisation as they did not feel valued at a time when they needed to most.
Whilst we at Career Moves know the importance of keeping good internal communications amongst teams, we spoke to leading HR industry experts who shared their insights into why this practise is so significant when times are unprecedented.
‘Now, more than ever employees will remember the actions their employers take. Communication is key to ensuring you keep your workforce engaged in these unprecedented times. This means digging deep to find the right balance between policies and wellness. Listen to your staff and pay special attention to mental wellbeing’.
‘In a crisis, people need to see that you have the competence to deal with the situation, whatever that might be, by taking swift action, explaining your reasons, and describing what you expect to happen next. It’s down to trust – be honest about the things you don’t know, include the assumptions you’re having to make, and how you’re open to changing your plans if new information emerges. Use language that shows kindness, compassion and appreciation - people will be frightened and worried. Empathy is not the enemy of reason!’
External communications to attract the best talent
Whilst a lot of businesses have chosen to freeze hires until the dust settles, this does not mean communication has to come to a stand-still until they unfreeze. If anything, this is the time for companies to show their worth and just why the best prospective talent should want to work with them. Recruiters and companies need to be upfront about their processes in the midst of the changing economy, as this could be the difference between a candidate accepting or not at a later stage. To go silent on prospective talent at a time when they need reassurance is critical.
‘Communication is more important now than ever before. It needs to be transparent, timely and frequent. During this global pandemic, having an effective communications strategy is key to how recruitment companies effectively manage the many challenges that the coronavirus presents. We must all do what is right and act with integrity’ Gemma Challinor, Recruitment Manager via Alexander Mann Solutions at HSBC.
Showing prospective candidates that your organisation is adaptable in extreme circumstances by keeping up a strong line of contact demonstrates that you are a company that cares.
‘As someone who is currently pursuing new opportunities seeing companies demonstrate that they value their employees is paramount. Likewise, I have really valued when companies and recruiters have continued to keep me up-to-date regarding the process. Things can change at any time - interviews may need to be rescheduled, or urgent business matters need to be dealt with which delays decisions being made - however, companies should not assume that new potential talent are aware of what is going on behind the scenes. Companies are initially judged on a recruitment process - so a simple "sorry to keep you waiting" email goes a long way in ensuring the candidates feel respected during the process’. Adele Cowsill, ER Specialist placed by Career Moves during Government lockdown. The recruitment process was done completely virtually.
The bottom line is there is no such thing as too much communication. All you will be reiterating in doing this, is that the person and people in question are valued, that no one is being left behind in a time of crisis and that you care about your employees, both present and future.
Written by Charlotte Moncrieff