The pandemic turned the work world on its head. Things shut down, moved out of the office and then into employee’s homes. Meetings, work and employee reviews went online. Major shifts with unprecedent speed.
Human resource professionals were surveyed about top HR priorities in a report called the HR Sentiment Survey done in early 2020 and recently recalibrated for 2021. In 2020, top HR priorities included:
- Learning transformation
- Next-generation leaders
- People analytics
In 2021, those priorities have been replaced by:
- Employee wellbeing/mental health
- Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
- Managing remote workers
Employee experience and leadership development remain on both lists.
Mental health is a key new area of attention for HR and is new on the top HR priority list. What can recruiters do to address this growing crisis?
Many times the mental health employee crisis is linked to burnout. There are obvious other post traumatic stresses that are way outside a recruiter’s area of understanding or support. But in cases where workers have taken on ever-increasing roles and responsibility, blended work and home life into a single location, and lost friends, family and even co-workers to covid, perhaps a recruiter can support HR in providing options. Some employers have run very lean organizations and it is time to help them staff up to reasonable levels once again. This takes burden off existing employees. Some employers have antiquated benefits offerings and recruiters can help them benchmark other, perhaps more progressive, organizations. Mental health benefits might be offered to new and existing employees. Additional vacation time, PTO as a replacement to traditional sick time and vacation time, flexible hours can all be offered or benchmarked to other employers in the niche. Traditional and small employers sometime fall behind the market in terms of what is offered to new as well as existing employees. Recruiters can help highlight the gaps that exist when compared to the market of employers. As this is done, recruiters can help new as well as existing employees.
Around the priority of managing remote workers, recruiters can source managers and employees that have remote work experience. While many managers and employees see this as a new challenge, some portion of the workforce has been living this reality for many years and even decades. Sourcing and providing talent that has thrived in these remote or hybrid environments adds value to employers with little experience working this way. Recruiters can help HR rewrite position descriptions and job adverts to attract employees with both exposure and success working remotely. Most job adverts do a poor job or describing remote work or hybrid options.
The other new entrant to the top HR priorities list is diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Recruiters can help HR by providing a diverse candidate pool for new hires. Recruiters need to expand their sourcing strategies to include new methods to find and attract diverse candidates. Recruiters can refer into HR speakers, presenters and strategists that excel in the opening of corporate minds and exposure to new conversations regarding DE&I. I recently have engaged with Joe Johnson (presentation here) on DE&I. Recruiters can bring ideas to HR based on what they see successful employers embracing in the markets they serve. In some ways, this is actually a responsibility to keep employers current.
Let me know what strategies you are employing to keep your employer clients current as it relates to any of these top HR priorities.