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Recruitment & Future of Work - Life after the COVID-19

What Businesses Should be Aware Of

Businesses are now facing many challenges regarding salary payments, employee well-being, and project workflow. Should businesses focus on increasing or decreasing the workforce to meet these needs? While some companies are forced to cut their losses and reduce their workforce with dire consequences as we’ve seen with Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and most visibly within the Airline industry, others are in urgent need of labor-force to accommodate for upcoming changes. 

So what are the main trends that have come up as a result of all this?

Digital Transformation

This is a concept that we will see develop increasingly, as many businesses, regardless of industry, will have to adopt measures towards it in some regard. Upon having to work from home and use their platforms and software differently, many companies have realized their systems could not cope with such an influx of unlimited usage. But it’s not just companies. Governments of the world are being hit too.
Take the unemployment crisis in the United States in which the newly unemployed could not register for benefits, due to outdated software and network overloads. Governments were forced to send distress signals to programmers from the Eisenhower era to aid with failing systems written in COBOL. IBM stepped in to offer free training in this seemingly forgotten programming language, while Google along with Verizon provided new servers.
Digital transformation is not just using the cloud or implementing a chat-bot, it’s adopting strategies to digitize your processes and workflows and starting that journey from a business perspective as well.

Remote Work is Now a Possibility

The effect of the pandemic has also forced all of us to find new ways of managing our work from home. The process of adapting work from a physical dedicated environment where colleagues are within distance, to using software that employees might be new to, hasn’t been an easy one and there are plenty of videos on the internet to attest for this. From cats refusing to let their owners use their keyboards, to children running around in the background, to unsuspecting individuals wandering about and doing daily activities without realizing they are being watched by a whole board-room of people. Working from home can bring some difficulties in attention and productivity. With remote work becoming more prevalent, this is definitely something to keep in mind.

However satisfaction while working remotely seems to be a veteran feature which means good news. According to this report done by Slack in late April, a majority of experienced remote workers (60%) have reported increased productivity while at home.

So how to ensure remote work is implemented the right way?

  • Using the right tools: Communication is absolutely essential and you should definitely use all the tools available to facilitate it. Slack is a great platform that many businesses now use and if you’re looking to track and encourage productivity, Toggl is a widely used tool that will have you covered.
  • Having clearly defined goals: In such uncertain times, it’s crucial that people are on the same page and know what is needed of them. Implement an action plan that focuses on what tasks everyone will have in their pipeline.
  • Keeping employees engaged: It’s important to continue a sense of belonging no matter the distance. This could be done by arranging social gatherings online outside of work such as Zoom hangouts and Online Friday bars, which are sure to raise the spirits up and keep people interacting. 

One last thing that can be said about remote work is that it will be here to stay, for at least a while longer. For years, businesses have stuck with the usual 9-5 regardless of industry, employee’s role or distance traveled. Remote work had not yet been tried at such an enormous scale. But if anything, this pandemic proved that a lot of work can be done from the comfort of our own homes and that will carry on into the future, at least until returning to normal schedules becomes possible. 

Remote Hiring is Key 

Companies cannot simply stop operating because the workforce cannot leave their homes for interviews. So why not conduct your recruitment online in video form?

Virtual recruiting has been the norm already in certain industries, take the IT industry for example. You could have an online interview, perhaps by the company’s own recruitment person, you get a technical test and only upon passing are you invited to have an interview with the company. The reason for this is having the right skills and solution-oriented mindset is fundamental for most positions in this industry, therefore an online pre-assessment is a good way to evaluate personality before moving forward.

What about sticking to the original recruitment plan before all this? Hiring strategies will have to be dealt on a case by case basis. In collaboration with the other departments and according to budget, businesses will have to decide how to proceed with acquiring new employees. What’s important to remember is that, if not done in a streamlined manner, the company can risk becoming under-staffed and this will put pressure on current workers. So whatever direction will be taken, it will have to be carefully decided with employee centricity in mind if the business is to survive the coming times.

International Recruitment Must Be Safe

There are a few important things you’ll have to keep in mind when considering recruiting from the outside. But first, why do some companies choose to outsource?
For areas where remote work just doesn’t cut it, international recruiting is a must. In a country like Denmark, the IT industry simply does not have the workforce required to sustain the job openings needed.
According to Copenhagen Capacity, by 2025, there will be a shortage of 14,000 engineers and natural science candidates in Denmark (Engineer the Future, 2015) and by 2030, the country will lack 19,000 IT specialists. The figures can be found in the Danish Ministry of Finance's long-term forecast for the Danish economy that takes into consideration expectations for the number of graduates and demographics.

One of the biggest advantages of hiring internationally is that companies are no longer limited by the talent pool they can reach locally. By having an inclusive outlook, they can hire purely based on talent and find the perfect skills for the position searched for. 

What should you be aware of while recruiting from the outside during these times?

  • Consider remote work for your newly joining employee, at least until flying restrictions can be lifted. You can start the on-boarding process early on and combined with training, will result in a more ready colleague for your staff and most importantly, no time will be wasted.
  • Educating the incoming employee about rules and practices to prevent spreading the virus. Although this is everyone’s responsibility to adopt, offering guidance from the company side makes this process a lot smoother and ensures closer cooperation.

At AIESEC we aim to make sourcing international talent as easy and affordable as recruiting locally. Through our network, companies gain access to multiple suitable candidates from a wide range of backgrounds and an easy selection process, help with the logistics and reception of interns. Hiring internationals has shown to boost work culture by incorporating diverse backgrounds and making companies not just better performing, but more attractive to the new workforce.

Successful Company of the Future and its Employees

Now more than ever, maintaining a culture and a good state of well-being for employees during such trying times is a top priority. We’ve seen mental health being finally recognized as a focus, as not only does it affect productivity, but it directly ties in with maintaining harmonious and pleasant workspace.

Ethics & Well-Being

Attention for employers to the physical and mental well-being of their employees is a defining feature of a successful business and a common concern in these uncertain times. This concern, however, cannot dwindle once we return to normality. Ethical and humane treatment of employees, including effective involvement outside of the workplace, will be a deciding factor for new talent choosing to join a company after COVID-19 blows over. The best way to answer concerns over how the company handled the current emergency is to reference how the same policies used to handle the crisis will still be in place. If growth is the prime indicator of a successful business, a growing concern for employees' well-being is the prime indicator of a successful ethical company.

Stable - Stimulating - Dignified - Connected Workplace

The first, and arguably most important, feature of a successful company of the future regards its workplace experience. It is crucial to create an environment that is stable, stimulating, dignified and connected. Stable means that employees must feel confident that the rug will not be swept off their feet, that they can relax and focus on their work. Stimulating means that new challenges arise constantly and are tackled collectively, valuing everyone's input. Dignified means that fairness and respect is essential, but so is lightheartedness. Connected means that there must be a non-hierarchical, clear opportunity for communication, whenever possible.

Skills & Training

While AI is being integrated into our workplaces more often, we must adapt and work on skills that can actually benefit us and the workplace in the best way possible. But as we can see in “Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends Study'' (which included 7,300 senior business executives, HR leaders and employees), just 34% of HR leaders are investing in workforce learning and skill development as part of their future of work strategy and 40% of them don’t know what skills their workforce possesses. Besides that, this research shows executives think that less than half (45%) of their workers are capable of adapting to the future of work. Taking a step forward might be the best solution ever for workers to consider. Try suggesting online courses, which nowadays are trending a lot as a self-development feature. Probably the good start would be to choose the skill that you would be willingly developing through these courses or as a HR leader, would recommend to your staff, to improve their performance at work. 

According to  “Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2020” in – demand skills in 2020 are innovation, complex problem-solving, interpersonal skills and in 2025 innovation, global mindset and digital leadership. To make it more simple, in LinkedIn research made in January we can find most wanted skills in 2020 and they are:

  • Soft skills – creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence.
  • Hard skills – block-chain, cloud computing, analytical reasoning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and User Experience/Design.

So now the most important thing is left - to identify which skills are most important to your workplace. As can be seen from previous mentioned research, it’s important to develop yourself and your team constantly and to adapt to new opportunities, as these measures give a clear edge in surviving these challenging times.

We Are All In This Together

All in all, we are in this together. It’s a fact that no matter the scale, everyone will feel the ripples of what’s to come, companies big and small, NGOs, governments and freelancers. We believe it’s important to form connections that will aid in moving forward and provide us with tools that empowers us. 

Our future workforce depends on our response to these challenges. We must ensure a better future together by making sure the changes we make will benefit everyone. With more people standing by that and making everyday changes, the easier this transformation will be. Are you willing to take a step and be ready for the Future of Work?

Visit us at to find more about what a partnership with AIESEC can mean for your business or organization.

Written by
Roxana Julia Popescu