As 2020 comes to an end, it goes without saying that this year has been one of the most challenging times for most businesses globally. Companies have had to adapt the way in which they operate to not only protect their employees but the future of the business too.
Every day we see the media reporting about various industries collapsing as a result of the pressure of COVID-19 restrictions, where it’s been difficult for them to balance the protection of peoples’ health with the profitability of their business.
The recruitment industry has been no exception and there is no doubt that we have faced a tough year. The end of March saw the UK enter its first full lockdown, where it was advised that we all work from home if our profession enabled us to do so. What was to follow was unexpected, and frankly quite daunting. We had no idea know how long the pandemic would last, how it would impact us all, and what support the government were able to provide. Companies were forced to be forward-thinking and hastily make plans for modifying the way they work.
We saw a number of businesses (understandably) pause recruitment altogether, as offices began to close, employees worked from home, and unfortunately many people were faced with redundancy. This inevitably provided the recruitment industry with great challenges.
As the months progressed however we adapted. With the rapid developments in technology, we were able to use this effectively to provide a continuous service. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been crucial in enabling us to collaborate with colleagues with minimal disruption to our “normal” working day. As businesses have grown accustomed to the new way of working, they have realised that they can still recruit new employees just as they would if they were in the office and use software as a platform to offer training which can be delivered effectively through video calls.
The work-life balance argument has been a topic of discussion for some time now and in many ways the pandemic has forced the issue with firms beginning to trial new ways of adopting this approach and offering incentives such as finishing work early on a Friday, a 4-day working week and flexible working patterns. Of course, this approach cannot work for all businesses however, research into this has reported that offering a flexible approach to work has generally resulted in an increase in productivity.
With this becoming the new “norm” the recruitment industry has embraced these changes and started to pick itself back up. Interviews are being carried out via telephone or video calls, and we have invested in making our offices COVID secure. As we have adapted to the situation we have started to thrive once again.
As we enter the new year, we have high hopes for the industry and remain positive that we will come back bigger and better! We have truly proven that we have the ability to quickly adapt and evolve to this ever-changing and unpredictable environment.
Manging Director of Conrad Consulting, Graham Ventham commented:
I sincerely hope that we are over the worst and although I don’t pretend that the first few months of 2021 will not be challenging, we now have hope for brighter times ahead and I feel highly optimistic for the future of Conrad.
We wish all our fellow colleagues, clients, candidates, suppliers and everyone else reading this, a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!