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As businesses reopen, here’s how to hit the ground running

Companies may want to adapt working arrangements to accommodate flexible work options


With some exceptions, most industries are reporting that remote recruitment has been helpful, if not critical, in maintaining operation during and post-pandemic. (DanRentea/Adobe Stock)

COVID-19 has hit the world hard.

In Canada, we’ve had to stay away from each other or within family clusters while civic, community and corporate leaders do all they can to manage the pandemic as it rages across the continents.

As it broke, many companies moved quickly to shift employees to remote work, and many companies — particularly small businesses reliant on physically present customers or employees — had to shutter.

It all comes with diverse effects. The need to pivot and continue business operations however possible have made remote work and remote recruitment a necessity.

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Although “going remote” has had its pros and cons, at Certn we’ve seen the net effect to be a significant benefit for many businesses.

One of the most significant positives has been a sudden and dramatic widening of the labour pool. As more professionals realize that remote work is manageable or even preferable, the global talent pool becomes evermore accessible.

Businesses of all sizes must realize that they are no longer competing locally for top talent.

With some exceptions, most industries are reporting that remote recruitment has been helpful, if not critical, in maintaining operation during and post-pandemic.

It’s been encouraging to see that business leaders around the world are now re-evaluating their recruitment processes and ensuring their internal systems are upgraded to stay competitive in this expanded talent market.

There are many ways that small businesses can hit the ground running as the economy re-opens, and here are a few recommendations:

Evaluate and adapt your hiring plans

Business owners have a unique opportunity to not only recover post-COVID but also expand beyond previous benchmarks.

While re-evaluating internal systems, this is a time to ensure that the business is ready to not only take on new talent, whether in-person or remotely, but is also ready to re-engage remote employees and evolve engagement practices.

Many people will be able to return to previously impacted roles in retail, entertainment, and service industries. However, these businesses are looking for a roster of carefully vetted employees who can start on the day the business re-opens.

Proper planning can ensure that there is enough time to conduct the necessary interviews and checks, as well as a workable schedule for shift workers.

The race is on already for most of these businesses, and ensuring a frictionless onboarding process is a critical component to winning the competition for talent at a critical time.

We’ve recently seen a flurry of articles forewarning a potential mass resignation of workers, now that vaccinations are increasing and businesses are opening.

As there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the work week and in-office work arrangements may look like, business owners and companies can expect some bumps in the road.

My recommendation is to stay open-minded with hybrid work options, and iterate your approach to maintain morale.

Don’t cut corners on background screening

Background screening helps to foster trust, which is an essential part of any successful business relationship.

Whether it’s done as part of a remote recruitment process for new applicants or a re-engagement of employees post-lockdown, background checks are a valuable tool for any business owner to validate the most important decision they make as business owners — who to bring on the team.

Employing people, as with any critical business decision, comes with risks. Background screening gives an employer more insight into who an employee is, rather than taking information at face value.

With many job applications containing inaccurate information, employers run the risk of facing costs averaging $1 million if a negligent hiring lawsuit were to occur and countless more in losses to revenue.

Small business employers may turn to less reputable and slower platforms to cut costs, often resulting in inaccurate and limited information about these potential employees. A bad recruitment hire can cost your business huge losses in the long run. To avoid financial losses, it is best to enlist a valid background screening provider.

There are many new and affordable options for background screening that employ state-of-the-art technology, such as verifying one’s identity using a mobile phone.

Background screening doesn’t have to feel like an invasive or complicated process.

Today’s options make it simple for prospective employees, reducing the need to locate and line up at a post office or police station to verify their identity. To thrive at this time, business owners need a process that’s affordable, accurate, and fast.

And because the check process is often one of the first touchpoints an employee has with a new employer, it’s important that the check process represents the company brand as fast, simple, and accurate for the candidate.

Looking ahead: What’s next for small business?

Prioritize your hiring experience and process

As the talent pool has widened, so has the competition for talent increased.

New companies have entered the race to bring on the best people, and savvy business owners recognize that the power dynamic is shifting away from employers and towards employees in these conditions.

With increased remote hiring and the rise of the gig economy, applicants now have a global platform to seek opportunities and can selectively choose organizations that align with their needs and values.

Businesses who provide a great first impression through the hiring and onboarding process give themselves a critical edge in a tight race, and those who don’t give it away.

Similar to dating, if transparency and a trusting connection are not fostered from the beginning, applicants can — and will — seek opportunities elsewhere.

As Canadian businesses ramp up operations and stabilize in a new environment, an opportunity to grow beyond a small-scale organization and start competing on a global scale is in front of all of us.

Rory Capern is the chief revenue officer at Certn in Victoria, B.C.