With the harshest winter for decades set to rear its head over the coming weeks, many businesses run the risk of grinding to a halt as hurricane-force winds and heavy snowfall are expected to cripple roads and rail lines across the UK. With disjointed travel links comes disruptions and cancellations galore, and so it is key to ensure that your business takes the necessary precautions to function effectively during the winter. Recruitment is an essential cog in the business machine, and any delays in productivity can have damaging consequences. Thankfully, technological advances have made working around treacherous conditions more manageable than ever, and adapting your work process accordingly will give you the competitive advantage.
So, what exactly can you do to weather-proof your recruitment process?
Introducing a cloud based storage system to store and manage data within the workplace should be top of your to-do list, if it isn’t already. The likes of Google Drive and Skydrive are free to use and will allow your team to access important files when they can’t get into the office. Said file storage solutions not only make accessing data more flexible, but also ensure that documents are backed up. The nature of most resourcing roles means that the sifting and screening of candidates can be performed remotely at the best of times, and so this kind of file storage solution will ensure that members of the team aren’t prohibited by the inability to access key information. A shared ATS system which can be accessed remotely is also worth considering to help manage recruitment needs more effectively, keep candidate data contained in one network and check the progress employees are making whilst working from home.
VOIP and video calling software has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, so it isn’t much of a surprise that many businesses are utilising the technology in normal working conditions as well as during times of adverse weather. If team members are stuck at home, swap scheduled face to face meetings for group video conferences using Skype, Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting to ensure everyone is up to speed. Similarly, candidates who were scheduled to travel in for an interview may not be able to attend in person, but may be available to reschedule for a video interview. This popular alternative can save time, travel costs and alleviate the stress of an initial meet and greet for the candidate. Video interviews can provide you with virtually the same level of insight as a contact meeting; you can assess the candidate’s presentation, gage their level of enthusiasm and still have access to non-verbal cues that are otherwise missed over the phone. Prepare for it as you would a traditional interview, and take into consideration factors surrounding your video conversation, such as the candidate’s choice of background and lighting.
As Benjamin Franklin once keenly observed: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, and this is something which all senior managers must have in mind as the winter fast approaches. Akin to a disaster recovery solution, certain procedures must be established and communicated to staff which anticipate and account for the disruption caused by bad weather. Implement processes that people know about and understand. Be flexible with your team. Make temporary allowances. Don’t make individual employees feel guilty or obliged about staying at home or coming into the office. Instead, send out text or email alerts to update your team on working conditions. The amount of sick days taken over the Christmas period is high, so ensure that your team is communicating regularly to distribute and manage the workload effectively if people are off ill. If the office is still opening as usual, provide staff with flexible working hours to get to and from home, taking into account the likelihood of congestion. If employees are working from home, adapt standard procedures to accommodate the circumstance. Not only will this ensure that general day-to-day processes continue to run smoothly, but it will also have a resonating impact on how employees view both your ability to manage and the business’s ability to adapt.
The recent force of the storm that hit South East England, dubbed ‘St. Jude’, illustrated that you can never fully anticipate the severity of a weather system – or indeed how much damage and commotion it will bring in its wake. As the anarchy of winter descends upon us, don’t let the unavoidable inconveniences caused by weather overrule your recruitment process - the work still needs to get done one way or another. Being adaptable in your approach, and having the right tools in place to do the job will undoubtedly serve you well this coming winter.