5 Essential Strategies for your ‘new normal’ Talent Masterplan

What worked perfectly well for talent professionals a few months ago, is now dated. The combination of the ‘new’ world and digitization has now made some strategies to be survival essentials.

COVID-19 has accelerated digitisation and brought about unexpected but long-lasting changes. Considering that Tech Mahindra has made work-from-office a choice, speaks volumes of how companies are in a subtle game of becoming more efficient in the new normal and beyond. This new wave of superior digital efficiency and transformation is here to stay!

What worked perfectly well six months ago is most likely to be redundant today. It’s now a situation of ‘adapt and flourish or resist and perish’.

Pushing our boundaries to explore more efficient ways of working, Work-From-Home (WFH) has been a big part of the survival game in the COVID-19 world. A recent research conducted by RescueTime, a US based agency, suggested that remote workers, including HR professionals, typically spent 58 more hours on core work as compared to office goers. How do we cash on this to keep the businesses afloat when many are running the risk of extinction? How can HR teams keep up with the ‘new normal’ trends and achieve maximum productivity for themselves and their company?

You need a masterplan to overcome the current challenges and thrive despite the difficulties. Capitalize on the opportunities that arise in the virtual world and upgrade yourself to effectively connect, engage, hire, mentor and transform talent. The only way out is to ramp up your digital transformation initiatives for your overall talent strategy. If you don’t take active steps now, you could run a serious risk of losing your most important customers - the current and the prospective employees! Here are the top 5 talent management strategies that are the key essentials for you if you don’t want to miss being a part of the digitization wave.

1. Create a powerful statement with Virtual Employer Branding activities

Many organizations have quickly realized that building a solid online brand is now a key necessity for staying ahead in the game. They are aggressively putting out information about their culture, work environment and prospects of career growth on their online platforms. Their job postings include their own distinct ‘job personality’ so candidates know exactly what the employer expects from them.

The 2019 Gartner Study on Recruiting for Tech Talent gives an excellent example of how Schwab created candidate personas by conducting in-depth research through surveys and focus groups with the target tech talent. This helped them create a differentiated candidate voice that was based on what drives value for candidates, not just what interests them.

Other initiatives like virtual hackathons, contests, Q&A with HR, virtual townhalls etc. have proved very effective in making sure candidates remain engaged with the brand. You can expose your existing employees to many innovative employer-branding strategies as well. Surprise coupons, online workshops, interactive and informative sessions etc are becoming quite popular. The contribution of live video conferencing tools has been unprecedented in being able to offer an almost tactile interface for employees to come together.

2. Transform the ‘candidate meeting’ process with Live Video Interviewing & Assessment Tools

94% of candidates want a professional candidate experience that allows them to shine (Trendence Survey, 2018)

How do we make sure we deliver that in the virtual world? Who could have ever imagined that we would be hiring employees without even having physically met them? Social distancing norms have quickly turned the once ‘emerging’ trend of video-based candidate interviews and assessments into a fully established, and a far more efficient and preferred way of hiring candidates. You can choose from a range of sophisticated, professional virtual interview tools and talent assessments that are backed by technology as well as AI-driven insights to recruit highly relevant/qualified candidates quickly and accurately. Remote candidate evaluation, ‘Live’ interviewing as well as ‘Auto-proctoring’ technology have all been absolutely transformational in more ways than one. They have enabled organizations to ensure a high level of sanctity in their hiring processes by providing a secure, fool proof and fair environment for assessments.

3. Make assessing WFH capability an indispensable component of job assessments across profiles:

Going forward, WFH is going to prominently feature in an organization’s culture and work-life, and hence needs to be scientifically and objectively measured for all job profiles. If the majority of your workforce is going to work from home, then it makes obvious sense to use assessments that objectively measure competencies related to work habits, motivation to work, work relationships, focus on self-development and well-being etc. Such assessments can help Identify strengths and areas of improvement. Many firms are already using specialized assessments to evaluate a candidate's ability to work independently. With many roles going digital and therefore location-neutral, you can use such assessments to specifically evaluate key skills and personality traits that directly impact an employee’s productivity while working from home.

4. Use virtual programs to bolster on-boarding and mentoring of new recruits:

Looking at how volatile the talent market is, organizations are proactively engaging with new recruits once they extend the offer letter. Mentoring has gotten fresh impetus in the virtual world, as it is easier for employees to lose focus and drop out. Regular HR-support calls from your team can help candidates with the completion of joining formalities, understanding the culture of the organization, providing learning resources and job-relevant material etc. This is how you as an employer can create value for your new employees by constantly demonstrating that employee growth is an important part of your organizational culture.

5. Identify and groom High Potential Leaders that keep you afloat in difficult times

Strong leaders achieve 90% more revenue and 2 times more profit growth.

Scientifically evaluating high potential leaders based on their ability, aspirations and engagement is the need of every company now. You need people who effectively take your company out of troubled waters. Identifying the potential leaders and nurturing their skills has become so indispensable in the virtual world that companies are including formal assessments as part of their hiring process to identify the ability of new and existing talent to up-skill themselves. At an organizational level, you must carry out exercises for identifying High Potential talent as part of your long-term people strategy.

TCS declared that it plans to have only 25% of their employees in office by 2025, the rest would be working from home. Technology firm Fujitsu announced a permanent work-from-home option for its 80,000 strong workforce in Japan. Facebook also jumped on the bandwagon in August 2020 to extend the WFH choice to all its employees till the summer of 2021.

Honestly, such announcements are going to be stale news in the coming months. What will remain is how companies are developing winning strategies while they work from the comfort of their houses. Its time you put the essentials in place and join the wave that is sweeping all industries with a domino effect.



Maneesh Sharma (Vice President - Client Solutions) - Profile Picture (Aspiring Minds, an SHL Company)

Maneesh Sharma

Maneesh Sharma is SVP and Head of Enterprise Business at SHL. He works closely with some of our marquee customers and has spent over 11 years in the company contributing across business functions. Prior to Aspiring Minds, he has over a decade of experience in leading consumer products and internet companies such as BPCL, Naukri.com, People Interactive etc. Maneesh has an MBA from International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi.

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