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Jaw dropping emergency has abated so what's next?



We’re through the jaw dropping emergency phase but how do we adapt to the new present that is unfolding?


Yes, the economic predictions might look challenging but within the Food and Drink sector a significant key to continued growth is hiring the right staff. It might seem odd to be thinking about this when furlough is going to have a dramatic impact on unemployment numbers. But, as we know, the food sector has experienced sustained demand and some organisations are looking towards 2021 already.


Change has been both profound and extraordinarily rapid



As I write this article, I am wondering about the conversations I’ve been having recently with Hiring Managers. They have moved on from bunker mentality and are emerging into the new stage. Yes, it would be easy to simply continue with the same strategy that has probably served business well for years. The thing is, the landscape just doesn’t look the same and change has been both profound and extraordinarily rapid. So what is next?


Change management is fundamental


As far as I can see, from my perspective at least, things may be improving in the Food and Drink sector but decisions about where companies are headed have never been more pertinent. What skills will be required to take a business forward? How does an organisation cope with the undoubted additional pressures of CV19, climate change, shift in societal thinking and consumer demand? These are just four areas that will affect thinking about business futures and strategies.



Is there a place for more Interim Managers?


Although food producers and manufacturers worked right through the early days of the pandemic, there are still issues to be resolved moving forward. For example, how does a team cope with staff sickness, or people self-isolating? How does an organisation protect staff without impacting on the business itself? Is there any back up required? Should there be changes to team structure? Is there a place for more Interim Managers for example?

Have you reviewed your digital processes recently?


There are highly practical considerations too. I know that it usually takes at least six weeks to shortlist a candidate. So, when is the right time to advertise for a new role? Does a company take the plunge and interview online and onboard remotely too? How can a company develop the most appropriate processes to make recruitment totally digital? This is not fantasy. I have spoken to an organisation that hired a Production Director and never met him face to face, only remotely. If you look at how successful home working has been then we can see this pattern will emerge as commonplace.



Remote interviews and onboarding are not a leap of faith


They are just an additional process that fits in with the times in which we live and operate. Remote hires fulfil a specific need. First and second interviews can easily be online but what happens after this? With social distancing still in place, it could be some weeks before people start moving about more freely. Therefore, should a company wait to bring in a new member of staff? Definitely not. Reference checking and psychometric tests can help plug the gaps and prevent a loss of momentum and progression.


We have to be practical in the way we advertise, shortlist, interview and hire


It’s a highly creative opportunity to overhaul historic practices. A significant new hire at executive level is undoubtedly a 12-week process. Therefore, if you are thinking about a new hire starting in January 2021 then the time to start looking is right now. If you make a decision to hire by the end of August, then it’s likely your candidate will need to give three months’ notice.


Candidate are much more likely to undertake due diligence on your company


Leaving a long-standing position carries additional risk for candidates and they will need to be totally confident that their new company is profitable, stable and a good fit for their skills. They will be looking for benefits that are not just about remuneration. They will probably want more flexibility, creativity and support. There has never been a better time to reappraise how you write a job specification and supporting company pack. A couple of pages knocked up quickly will never impress.


The hiring process is a two-way street


The more you can do to answer questions, promote your company and reassure prospective candidates about their potential new employer the better. Taking time and advice to create the very best candidate pack for prospective hires will be time and effort well spent. There may well be huge numbers of people looking for work but your aim should be to attract the very best that will help you develop your organisation to be the very best it can be.



I have just written a short book about Hiring post Covid with a special section on remote onboarding. For a free copy do drop me a line and I will send it as a pdf.