COVID-19 Impacts Recruitment


The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on talent acquisition, especially for industries with distributed hourly workforces. The fallout varies depending on the industry. While many retail companies have shut down completely, essential businesses like grocery stores and healthcare, have seen growth and an increase in hiring.

Where Did All The Hourly Workers Go?

Hourly employees have felt the brunt of the economic shutdown. Companies hiring now might expect to have their pick of employees, but this is not the case. The economic stimulus bill or CARES Act gave financial relief to both businesses and individuals and had some unintended consequences. The Act provides unemployment benefits to hourly workers that are greater than their previous take-home pay, providing a financial incentive to stay at home. The extra income has turned the U.S. Government into a new and unexpected competitor for hourly workers. In a recent webinar, Cadient Talent CEO, Jim Buchanan had an in-depth discussion on the impact of these changes. Click here to view the webinar

Hiring Needs To Get Creative

As the economy continues to reopen in phases and staffing needs increase, employers will need to get creative to lure former employees back and find new ones.  Here are some suggestions your organization can incorporate into your recruitment plan that are employee-centric and create a sense of community and trust.

  1. Appeal to employees’ sense of security and fulfillment that a job provides.
  2. Remind employees that the current unemployment benefits will not last forever.
  3. Promote your employee benefits like health insurance and employee discounts.
  4. Emphasize your organization’s team spirit and a sense of belonging.
  5. Provide a plan for a safe working environment.  Communicate that plan with both current and former workers.

Alternative Recruitment Methods

Are you seeing a shortage of job applicants?  Try using alternative recruitment methods like employee referral programs or temporary gig-flexible workers to find the best employees.  Tools like Syrg and Text2Refer, which harness the power of your current employees, former employees, and temps can help until business conditions are more predictable after the pandemic passes.

Hourly workers are the frontline in most organizations. Their attitude, judgment, and skills affect your bottom line.  Unemployment benefits have the potential to keep many workers out of the workforce for the near future.  To compete for the best workers, you need to establish consistent hiring practices, frequently communicate with laid-off employees, and implement workplace safety procedures.  You may want to consider using out of the box tools to broaden your search for candidates.