July 1st has come and gone, the halfway point of 2020. With so many ups and downs, twists and turns, it has been difficult to maintain any level of normalcy this year. Our world was flipped upside down. There have been predictions missed, loved ones lost, businesses closed, careers changed, little ones learning to learn from home, race and equity conversations at the global level, and the list goes on. With all that is happening around us, we felt it was important to take a breath and to reflect on our work and what we have learned through the first half of the year. Below is a recap of resources previously shared as well as a few themes that stood out.
Remote Work and Engaging Talent
Working remotely will likely be around for a while. Every organization we have worked with over the last few months has adapted and some of us making the transition to remote work overnight. The pandemic has proven a unique opportunity to force organizations to pivot on a dime. As Dennis Miller, the Vice President of Human Resources for The Claremont Colleges Services said, “[We] don’t have to agree or like it, but the pandemic has dictated our future actions”. Furthering the complexity of the remote transition, the pandemic has certainly impacted hiring. As we begin to ramp back up, organizations who, if they are not already, plan to hire are determining the best course of action for this new, virtual frontier. If you look at LinkedIn, there has been plenty of emphasis on the candidate side of hiring in this climate, but what about employers and hiring managers?
Coming to terms with this new normal has been just as challenging for employers as it has been for candidates. We often find ourselves helping to create a seamless, virtual hiring process, offering advice around creating a more understanding-of-the-circumstances interview environment, and brainstorming how to showcase company culture. It’s likely that describing your culture, when it now includes both online and in office, is much different than it was 4 months ago. In June, we partnered with Columbus State University to create a quick-tip guide to help employers think through this process. Maintaining a sound hiring process and engaging future talent in the right way can still be done virtually if you’re willing to re-frame what you already know.
Innovation & Technology
Throughout countless conversations with both clients and candidates, the topic of creating more streamlined processes to get work done remotely seems to consistently surface. Whether that be creating new virtual forms in lieu of manual forms for things like onboarding, migrating to a cloud-based library for documents, or simply leveraging technology differently to remain connected, organizations seem to be uncovering efficiencies to accomplish their work in an alternative way.
In May we interviewed a number of our clients around what this transition has been like for them and their teams; the bulk of them expressed how proud they were of their team’s ability to be nimble and adapt. Natalie O’Neil, President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Washington, wrote that this transition has forced them “to see the possibility of what might be out of what needs to be right now…the way we are required to work now will have a significant influence on how we will continue to work in the future.” Organizations are paving the way for their future workforce and innovating new approaches along the way. Similarly, Sandip Darji, Assistant Vice President for Improvement, Analytics, and Innovation Services for the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at Stanford University, mentioned an unforeseen benefit for his team is holding their “monthly all-day team strategy sessions (6-7 people) virtually has led to more productive collaboration/conversations in the moment. It seems everyone is extra attuned to avoid interrupting each other and extra focused on the topic at hand.” Despite a feeling of uncertainty, it has been so powerful to watch so many incredible organizations pivot, innovate, and collaborate in a team when it’s needed most.
A Slight Rebound in Jobs
While unemployment is certainly staggering, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June report released on July 2nd showed a slight rebound for jobs. The report highlighted that the national unemployment rate decreased to 11.1% in June, down 2.2% from May, and the West Region unemployment rate decreased to 12.4%, down 2.1% from May. Additionally, in the sectors we typically support, education and health services, and professional and business services, jobs increased by 568,000 and 306,000, respectively. We are looking forward to receiving the numbers at the state and city levels which are set to be released at end of the month.
Lastly, our partners over at Emsi have an interactive dashboard to allow you to see job posting trends both nationally and at the state level. Be sure to bookmark this link to stay up-to-date as numbers continue to roll out.
Diversity and Inclusion
Unfortunately, it took the death of George Floyd to spark a global conversation on the topic of systemic racism and diversity and inclusion. The response seems to be moving the needle in the right direction and it has been encouraging to see the communities we support engaging in dialogue and creating action. It is no different for our clients. We are all in a unique position to finally enact change and address systemic inequities. We are finding more of our clients asking the tough questions; What do the demographics of our workforce actually look like? Whose voices are missing from the conversation? What can we do about it? These questions should be normalized just as we are committing to a new normalization both in the midst of and post-COVID-19. We encourage you to continue the conversation, to insight action, and to hold each other accountable – now is the time to change our workforce for the better. Review our commitment here.
What about you?
Halfway into a historic, disruptive year, what conversations are you and your teams having? Do any themes stand out? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!