Much has been said about how UK businesses can get back on track and flourish as we tentatively ease away from the restrictions enforced by three lockdowns in 12 months.
However, while remote and agile working have occupied the lion’s share of ‘visionary rhetoric’, Teamwork Selection’s very own Juliet Capelastegui, argues a successful economy must be rebuilt from the bottom up and that starts with building better more resilient teams.
One largely overlooked impact from the Covid-19 pandemic is the fallout and seemingly mass exodus of a multi-skilled workforce. As I sit here, my team and I continue to sift through a deluge of CVs that range from speculative to the perfect candidate. As a result, it can be a challenge filtering through the sheer weight of applicants who may not have the relevant skills. Meanwhile, the quality processes recruiters have long been deploying to source premium candidates are under ever greater scrutiny.
In parallel with this, in a pandemic era we are witnessing a reticence from candidates willing to uproot and leave the security of their incumbent employer to take a punt on a career-switch that just 12 months ago might have looked very enticing.
Likewise, employers are understandably nervous about recruiting and committing to permanent staff, and for the short-term at least are looking for temporary solutions until such a time as greater confidence returns. The result has been the making of a perfect storm, the eye of which we are all sitting in today where there appears to be a Mexican stand-off with both employers and potential candidates unwilling to make the first move.
Taking a positive and very much glass half-full perspective however, this fallout – from which I’m absolutely confident we’ll all eventually and safely emerge – has meant there is something today of a clean slate situation. We can now start that rebuilding process in earnest.
While many companies, for better or worse, used the pandemic to streamline, restructure and weed out some ‘dead wood’ on their payrolls, our mission as employers now should be to help instil a culture not just of team building, but building better teams.
If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it is that that we need to rebuild a post-covid workforce that’s fit for a new, very different world. As a business charged with sourcing the best talent for organisations, we have needed to adapt, and our ability to work across all departments of any given employing organisation has allowed us to understand the direction of travel we now see ahead.
In fact, it’s more crucial than ever for a recruiter to have a holistic view of their client businesses. Working closely with the executive board and understanding their commercial imperatives is vital to understanding the requirements and calibre of workforce required on the shop floor – whether that be permanent or temporary.
Indeed, a temporary workforce may well be the answer. It’s a myth that temporary pools are made up substantially of students looking for seasonal work or ‘low skilled labour’ just trying to earn a wage. In fact, given the current economic climate, the pool is much larger and diverse with many skilled workers and professionals finding themselves looking to get back on the career ladder following a forced career change.
This is not unusual right now and a former IT manager or forklift truck driver could quite well have the transferable skills, aptitude and application to embark on a radically new direction – and the clearest route on this pathway could be via a temporary role. Not only does it boost a candidate’s CV in these most unusual times, but it also ensures that employers can build teams that understand and see the wider picture.
Teams may appear siloed, especially where there exists a chasm between the operational functions at commercial and shop-floor level, but by assembling the right team dynamics the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. A really good recruiter worth their salt should be in the business of transforming careers and helping companies succeed rather than playing a numbers game by putting candidates up for interview. A recruiter should be interviewing and filtering to allow their client to cherry pick the very best from an already great bunch.
By building the right teams, ones that work well together, businesses can add depth and resilience to their proposition, brand and, ultimately, to their bottom line. Yes, teambuilding can mitigate conflict and encourage communication and garner trust, but we have to build the right teams first – especially in the wake of such a destructive pandemic.
Perhaps the biggest change we have seen and will continue to see for some time yet, is the sight of an empty workplace environment. Yet we have largely survived, and many have embraced remote working and all that it brings. And yet for many businesses remote working simply isn’t an option.
There’s a constant need for new retail workers, factory operatives, lorry drivers, warehouse staff, gardeners, greengrocers, healthcare professionals and many more that help to make an economy tick. People – capable, motivated people – are out there right now; they may have taken a knock back or two or three, but my experience and inbox tell me they are willing to opt for a temporary role if it gets them and the economy moving again.
The job of a good recruiter is to understand these issues in helping their clients to build resilient teams, at all levels throughout an organisation, both in downturn and as the economy builds back for better times.