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2020 was a year of uncertainty and change – the pandemic’s impact was far-reaching and unpredictable. Many companies were forced to quickly adapt to a new way of work and operations, leading some to experience hiring freezes while others navigated short-term hiring blitzes.
Amongst these challenges were great moments too – the most uplifting part was bearing witness to the many businesses embracing distributed workforces and making strides in addressing and accelerating diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace.
DE&I drives employment decisions
As competition for great talent is heating up, a new dynamic is starting to play out, shaped by the events of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement. Now more than ever, companies are actively looking for tools to help them operate in fairer, more equitable ways – from rooting out bias in the hiring process to building systems that promote and develop employees in equitable ways.
DE&I in the workplace will become a real driver of employment decisions for both candidates and employers. Glassdoor reports that 76% of employees and job seekers consider diversity an important factor when evaluating companies for employment. Candidates are actively looking for visible evidence of a company’s commitment to diversity within the interview process, hiring team, executive leadership and the overall makeup of the company.
KC Jorgensen, Chief People Officer at Textio, believes there will continue to be “internal and external pressure for companies to create and sustain equitable workplaces, and that will impact how leaders think about this work.” The next generation of talent consists largely of millennials and generation Z who are already vocal about the importance of DE&I when evaluating and selecting their next role. Companies need to ensure that their employer brand communicates intentional diversity and a positive, inclusive culture.
Remote work is here to stay
The events of last year forced companies to make investments in remote infrastructure. And one positive outcome is that employees demonstrated that with the right structure they can be just as effective as in person. According to FlexJobs, 95% of employees and 96% of employers report that productivity has increased or remained the same since the shift to remote work in early 2020. Distributed work has proven that geography and physical presence in an office shouldn’t be a barrier to hiring the best candidate for the job, whether voluntary or state-mandated. Certainly some in-person work will return as vaccines are rolled out, but there are good reasons to expect that remote working environments are no mere trend and will persist into the future. The pandemic has had a transformational impact on how both companies and employees think about remote work, most poignantly disproving the previously-held belief that an in-office setting is necessary for the highest level of employee productivity.
With the talent pool going global, Nirit Peled-Muntz, Chief People Officer of Hibob believes it’s time “for us to throw away the rule book and start fresh with innovative ideas that help us build inclusive, connected, and successful teams amidst this new landscape." As HQ opportunities become ubiquitous, this will allow for greater leadership diversity and opportunities for employee progression, regardless of location.
2021 is the year of “the great rehiring”
When COVID is mitigated and life can start returning to normal, businesses will need to quickly gear back up. Current unemployment rates are over twice as high as they were pre-pandemic and as a result, companies need to be prepared to find and connect with the right talent amidst a sea of online profiles. Coupled with a decrease in recruiter headcount adding pressure to already lean teams, companies need to be confident that their recruiting decisions result in hiring the right talent.
And although there is a bigger talent pool available, companies should remain authentic and committed to hiring top talent who embrace their values and add to their culture. Data shows that investing in a more inclusive workforce has the ability to boost financial results.
2020 proved once and for all that predictions are no sure thing, but the upheaval of last year has given way to signs of renewal. February 12, 2021 also marked the start of the Lunar New Year, ushering in the year of the Ox, thought to be a year for change, innovation and prosperity.
This is a time to reset. Having a refreshed outlook and a new focus on the importance of workplace inclusivity and flexibility will set us all up for success. 2021 is already proving to be a seminal year for how talent strategies will evolve for the better.
Looking for tips to help motivate and revive employees this year? Read this blog post for some tips from Greenhouse.
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