The number of job vacancies across most industries is returning to pre-pandemic levels as organisations start expanding again, according to recent data from the Office for National Statistics. The redundancy rate has also returned to what it was before COVID-19 struck.

Unemployment also fell to 4.7% in the three months to April from 4.8% in the previous quarter, while the number of people on payroll rose by nearly 200,000 to 28.5 million in May – although the figure remains more than half a million lower than in pre-coronavirus times.

But as the attention of businesses turns to recruiting more widely once again, one thing that has become clear is most knowledge workers are neither keen on returning to the old nine to five, office-based status quo nor on maintaining the full remote working model of lockdown. Instead ‘flexibility’ has become a key watchword as employers attempt to find a hybrid working approach that combines the best of both worlds.

The recruitment opportunities of hybrid working

But the widespread interest in introducing a hybrid working model is not solely about providing staff with more flexibility in how they work. Another important aim is to give employers the chance to reassess how they approach recruitment in order to introduce more flexibility into this process too.

In fact, our latest research revealed that about a quarter of the HR professionals questioned intend to do just that.  

So, what are the major recruitment opportunities presented by the shift to hybrid working?

1. Tapping into diverse talent pools

One important benefit is being able to tap into larger and more diverse talent pools. Doing so can help to reduce skills gaps, not least because adopting a hybrid working approach may assist in removing previous geographically-based employment restrictions over where people work.

A key advantage of creating more diverse teams is that doing so brings together people with different world views, experiences, talents, and skill sets, which generally leads to higher levels of creativity and innovation.

2. Building distributed workforces

Taking on a more distributed workforce – something that had already started emerging as a phenomenon even before the pandemic – offers a number of benefits too.

It can help to cut recruitment and labour costs, create more culturally-diverse, global teams, and encourage a better work-life balance for employees, which in turn often leads to better employee attraction and retention.

3. Embracing the gig economy

Extending more flexible hiring approaches not just to permanent staff members but also to gig workers makes sense.

Such a model can prove particularly useful during an economic downturn when employers may not have the resources to take on permanent staff members, but still wish to access key skills.

In order to ensure success in the emerging hybrid world of work though, three other key areas to focus on include:

Candidate experience

If continuing to interview remotely, it may help to both improve the candidate experience and boost engagement by asking applicants to complete practical but fun exercises that are relevant to their prospective job role. Creating a series of videos to give them a feel for what working for the company will be like could prove valuable too.

Another consideration is keeping job-seekers as up-to-date and informed as possible throughout the entire recruitment process, particularly as some may be juggling several different applications at once. Useful activities here include maintaining regular email contact and sending them information about the company’s core values, benefits package and career development opportunities.

Background checks

Conducting the right background checks quickly and thoroughly is as important in a hybrid working world as it has even been. Not least because you need to know who you’re hiring (wherever they are based across the world), but also because this phase of the recruitment process typically causes the biggest delays, leading to frustrated candidates who may ultimately choose to go with another employer.

The key to background checking success is ensuring that such checks are proportionate to the role in question – unnecessary checks cost time and money, and may even lead to you falling foul of employment law.

Onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most vital stages of the recruitment process, with a study indicating that as many as one in five new hires leave within the first 45 days. Per our own research, 38% of organisations believe the onboarding experience has suffered during the course of the pandemic.

In a hybrid working environment, it may make sense to adopt a hybrid approach to onboarding too. This means that while some activities, such as introducing new recruits to their colleagues, could be undertaken in the office, it might be more appropriate to offer other activities, such as training, in an online capacity, enabling them to be conducted remotely.

It’s also of crucial importance to ensure new starters – especially those working remotely – get their necessary tools and technology (such as laptops and mobile phone) delivered on-time. Some organisations are already starting to automate this process to improve the efficiency; whenever a new starter is registered in the payroll and HR system, a request to IT to get equipment sent out is automatically triggered.

Learn more about the impact of hybrid working

For further insights into how hybrid working is affecting areas like recruitment, get a copy of free research report.

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