Ideas to gradually return to the “Human Experience” for recruiting, hiring, onboarding and beyond ! What are the banks doing and what am I doing ?
Ever since that fateful day of Friday 13th (unlucky for some) March 2020 with lock down in Switzerland, things have not quite been the same. What became the new “normal” in terms of human contact and what impact has that had on recruitment from what I have seen since then? In my field of expertise – banking, financial services and legal, there has of course been a common thread – the welfare, health and safety of staff first and the impact of this on areas such as Hiring, Team Interaction and Client Contact/Prospection.
Over the last 15 months, goes without saying that we have all resorted to more “virtual means” of doing business and none other than in the world of Sourcing, Screening, Interviewing, Hiring and Onboarding
Whilst remote interviewing and onboarding is “nothing new”, at what cost compared to the “Human Touch”? Literally “taking someone by the hand” to onboard them is what we have all come to expect in one way or another. Whilst the smaller companies would have normally done this one to one, the larger ones would have group induction days. These days, we have seen more and more clients over the last year not only hire remotely but also onboard remotely and have their new employee start off “working from home” on day one with literally no “human or physical interaction” with colleagues, peers, team heads, other departments, nor clients. From an employee and employer point of view the feedback over this period has generally been very positive, with most clients providing a seamless and organised process to onboard their new staff and making them feel welcome. We have received very positive feedback, especially for large clients. For smaller clients however, it has been much more challenging – we have the example of where training of new staff is very much “on the job” – something hard to do remotely and this has taken its toll both on employers and employees. These smaller clients have found things “more comfortable” when returning to the office but have had to learn to adapt, as we all have.
Part of Finders service is not only to find the candidate and help to hire/onboard them, but also to do the follow-up after a few weeks to see how they are settling into their new job. One of my candidates “AB” told me:
“… All well on my side thanks. … Although we are all working from home, life is good. The team is really nice and supporting and all the colleagues I had the chance to meet online are very open…..I honestly could not have imagined better as a new job … although I do miss the human interaction and being able to actually get back to the office would be great …”
Back to the office for everyone… the chance to meet face to face again …?
“With caution” is the general view that I have seen. It is clear that clients expect us as a trusted partner in the recruitment and human resources field to continue to meet potential hires for them in person, if at all possible. One cannot under-estimate the power of a physical meeting. It is not just about the “hand shake” (although that always spoke volumes!) but just the chance to really get a feel for the person and how they might “fit” into an organisation and to really understand what makes the candidate tick. Whilst virtual interviews and hiring have at times speeded up the whole process, it has on occasion come as a bit of a compromise and we have had the case where we have seen both parties (employer and employee) have an experience they were not expecting where there was not exactly a mis-match but expectations in terms of “drive and energy” were not in line, for example. Could that “fit” mis-match have been avoided if that person had been physically met during the whole interview process? Probably. (So something hard to avoid by just AI hiring for example).
As far as how all this has impacted the commercial results of those in the banking field, this has also been interesting …on the one hand no one has been able to travel so much so clients are more “available” to speak to. On the other hand, it has definitely been hard for bankers to do prospection and sign-up new clients when they cannot travel to see them. So going back to the office and “being on the road again“ will definitely help in this regard.
Even if we can work from anywhere, does that mean we want to? Whilst there are clearly several advantages of virtual communication and digital tools are important in today’s climate, more so than ever, “why is the face-to-face communication in business so important?“. It goes beyond meetings, catch-ups, brainstorming and reviews. Real life communication is crucial in the workplace and “it’s about the fit” and that starts right here, right now at the interviewing process with Finders! This also links into our other key areas of expertise such as employee engagement.
The Human Touch is here to stay- it might just take on other forms! Digital interaction will continue to play its part and we all wait eagerly to see what develops over the coming months. With some of our clients returning the office at 100%, others still working from home on a permanent basis and those rotating their teams. For us, it means more and more physical interviews again which both employers and employees alike still feel are key. Here at Finders, we can also get back to meeting our clients as well as brainstorming again as a team and exchanging ideas and innovations in person. Onwards and upwards!