What Talent Professionals Are Talking About Right Now

October 13, 2020

Recruiting and HR teams have had to deal with a lot of sudden change this year. But this community has always been uniquely collaborative, and talent professionals from around the world have been quick to share their strategies and learnings to help their peers adapt to each new curveball 2020 has thrown.

At LinkedIn, we’ve listened carefully to customer concerns, sat in on countless roundtables and peer-to-peer discussions, and combed through LinkedIn posts. We wanted to share with you what we’ve learned and have compiled some of the most common topics that the talent community is talking about right now. These topics reflect both the challenges and the opportunities that the past few months have brought — and provide a glimpse into the future of work. 

1. Virtual recruiting has led to efficiency gains 

Recruiting has become increasingly digitized over the past decade, with paper resumes largely falling by the wayside and online sourcing eclipsing more traditional methods. Despite this, there were many who clung to the belief that virtual alternatives could never replace face-to-face interviews or the final handshake to seal the deal. 

COVID-19 has changed that. Almost overnight, recruiting teams had to pivot to an online-only hiring process, which has meant finding creative ways to replicate those in-person experiences virtually. Those recruiters whose organizations paused hiring used the time to improve their internal processes, allowing them to streamline their approach and enhance the candidate experience. For those who continued to hire, productivity often soared, with recruiters able to move candidates through the pipeline more efficiently and with fewer logistical hurdles. Lina Kucinskaite, a TA manager for the Dutch derivatives trader All Options, writes on LinkedIn that the move to a virtual footing “improved our speed, quality, and team involvement.” Lina said in some cases the time to hire went from four weeks to two. At the end, her entire team would meet with each new hire for a virtual contract signing.

With some companies starting to build their return-to-workplace plans, recruiting teams are reflecting on the positive lessons learned from the experience. And while many still feel that it’s harder to gauge fit from afar, it’s likely that elements of the all-virtual hiring process will be carried forward into a post-COVID world. 

Voices from the community: 

2. Remote work has heightened empathy and trust between coworkers

With many companies considering extending their remote work policies for the long term, recruiters and HR professionals are reflecting on the pros and cons of working from home. 

One downside of working from home is a reduction in opportunities to socialize. This can be especially challenging for new hires who have yet to build strong bonds with their teams. But overall, the talent community is reporting that working from home has had a positive impact on peer-to-peer relationships, with trust and compassion between coworkers increasing as a result of the pandemic. 

The boundaries between work and home have become blurred, and while this presents its own difficulties, it also makes it easier for people to empathize with their colleagues’ situations and offer support when needed. “[N]ow more than ever we need to be empathetic —  in our lives and in our workplaces,” writes Dena Bravata, the cofounder of Lyra Health. “Otherwise, we risk increasing both our own stress and that of others.”

This has had an impact on leadership dynamics too. Many leaders are in the same boat as their employees, juggling work responsibilities with family lives, which has led to a relaxation of formal hierarchies and greater empathy on both sides.

Voices from the community:

3. In the future, hiring events and conferences are likely to be a mix of  virtual and in-person

In the face of health and safety concerns, innumerable companies had to quickly figure out how to run a virtual hiring event, webinar, or conference. In doing so, those organizations discovered that such events offer numerous benefits, from a reduction in costs to democratized access for attendees all over the world. 

And virtual events have rapidly improved, as organizers have experimented and the technology has transformed. “Virtual event platforms have grown in popularity and features,” writes Blake Morgan, a writer and speaker on customer experience, “with specialized options for nearly every type and size of event, as well as every budget. Improved technology allows for more types of interaction and allows event organizers to better replicate in-person events online.”

At the same time, many talent professionals feel that something is missing — like informal networking and relationship-building opportunities — raising questions about whether virtual events have a future in a post-COVID world. 

In all likelihood, companies will adopt something of a hybrid approach when large-scale physical events become possible again. Some will remain virtual to capitalize on the unprecedented access they offer — for both attendees and speakers. But the in-person event will return, even if it looks a little different in future.

Voices from the community:

Final thoughts: Lean on your networks for support

If there’s one thing 2020 has shown us, it’s that the talent community is resilient. 

Stay strong, stay connected, and never be afraid to lean on your network for advice and support. Conversations like these can help your team navigate the challenges of the moment — and prepare for whatever the future holds.

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