How the Right Staffing Can Help You Emerge From Your Pandemic Slump

As you start to think about what your company will look like in the coming months, consider how you can rekindle the spark you’ve lost.
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If you and your colleagues are feeling a bit sluggish, it’s no wonder. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on many things, including getting together with friends, traveling, and even simple things like going out for dinner. At work, your company may have suffered a slowdown in orders, collaboration may have taken on a different tone without team members being physically together, and morale may be low. 

The pandemic isn’t over yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel that’s getting brighter every day. As you start to think about what your company will look like in the coming months, consider how you can rekindle the spark you’ve lost. Several things can help, including celebrating achievements, starting new initiatives, and refreshing your staff. 

Below, BairesDev offers some tips for concentrating on the last one. While you shouldn’t rush to initiate a big staff turnover, giving everyone the opportunity to evaluate whether they’re still a good fit for the company can allow those who are ready for a change to depart with no hard feelings. And hiring new employees can bring in fresh ideas. 

Look Back on the Past Year

Find a good venue for your workers to reflect on everything that’s happened in the past year. It could be a staff meeting (virtual or otherwise), a survey, or a discussion board. The point is to see the big picture, including achievements, disappointments, and challenges. Ask the following questions: 

  • What’s the same as it was in 2019? What’s different?
  • What do we like and not like about the company now?
  • What were our challenges at the beginning of 2020 and how did we face them together?
  • What elements of those changes do we want to keep? Which ones do we want to release? 
  • What initiatives were put on the back burner? Are they still important?
  • What new initiatives do we need? 
  • What are customers saying about what they need? 
  • What’s the most important thing we should take on right now? One year from now? Five years from now?

Make a Productivity Plan

Using the results of the year review described in the previous section, create goals and prioritize them based on importance to get the company to a better place. For each goal, develop steps needed to achieve it. 

Then, consider what staff you’ll need to complete those steps. This is the first stage of evaluating your staffing overall. Be sure to include employees in this discussion, especially those in departments and on teams that would be responsible for the steps you’ve identified. 

Take Stock of Employee Morale

Now comes the hard part: asking employees if they still want to be part of the plan. This process isn’t meant to be confrontational, as in, “Either you’re with us or you’re against us.” Rather, it’s meant to prompt workers to take a close look at their own circumstances and needs and how those things have changed in the last year. 

For example, you may have decided to reduce remote work options while some of your team members who have been working from home might now feel it’s a must for their personal situation. They may not even realize this notion, given how many other things they’ve been struggling with in recent months. 

As you communicate with each employee about their current needs, don’t be too quick to make assumptions like, “Gail just said working from home is now a must for her. I guess she’ll be leaving.” Some issues could be related to mental health or require simple changes like flexible schedules to make each worker feel comfortable with post-pandemic plans. Give everyone time to consider their position before they make a final decision. 

If mental health is a factor — for example, if a team member has developed social anxiety as a result of social distancing and feels uneasy about interacting with colleagues in person again — provide any help that you can, such as an employee assistance program or referrals to community mental health resources. 

For those workers who stay, ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their experience better. The following video describes 4 things that tend to make employees happy at work: 

Help Employees Who Are No Longer a Good Fit

If employees aren’t on board with your post-pandemic plans, agree on a period of time for the transition. During this time, do what you can to help them find another position if that’s what they want. Remember, you’re not firing them, you’re parting ways to the benefit of all concerned. 

Assistance could include writing a glowing letter of recommendation or allowing them to use company resources (within reason). For example, they could use company computers to perform job searches on their own time, or company perks like a LinkedIn Premium account. 

Look to a Variety of Sources to Find Fresh Talent

There are so many ways to find great employees. If you can maintain a remote work option, the number of choices you have is even greater because you don’t have to limit your search to your geographic area. Here are some possible places to find your next star employee:

  • Job postings. Don’t overlook the tried-and-true method of posting job openings on your website and job search sites like Indeed. Also, look for sites that specialize in postings for your industry (such as technology) or company type (such as nonprofits). 
  • LinkedIn. LinkedIn has great tools for searching for talent. You can also use it to look directly for candidates who might be a good fit.
  • Current employees. Want more employees like the ones you have now? Ask them to refer you to their friends. 
  • Contractors. Contractors can be a great asset, helping you accomplish work without worrying about the complexity of hiring full-time staff. 
  • Temp agencies. If you can’t find the workers you need right away, consider using a temp agency, which can provide temporary people to fill a job for a brief period. 
  • Staffing services. Hiring takes a lot of time and resources. If you don’t have it to spare, consider using a staffing service, which will do all that work for you. 

2021 Can Be Your Year of Transformation

The year 2020 brought many disruptions, but not all of them were bad. While many of the trials brought on by the pandemic were difficult, frustrating, and even heartbreaking, some good came from the challenges we faced. As the virus continues to recede, take some time to congratulate yourself and your team for getting through it, and to think about what comes next. 

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