COVID-19 has irrevocably altered the world of work. From raising a magnifying glass to corporate health and safety policies, to driving a massive shift to remote work in office-based sectors, COVID-19 is changing the way we work. Those changes won’t be disappearing any time soon and there will be more changes to come as the world deals with the long-term impact of the virus. 

Amid all of these changes, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that many businesses were unprepared to handle a crisis of this magnitude. Though the swift changes brought on by COVID-19 caught many businesses unaware, it’s possible to take steps to protect against future disruptions. Thinking proactively and building a resilient talent pipeline that can be adapted to many circumstances is key. With a second wave of COVID-19 already beginning to appear in some parts of the world, preparing for a future disruption is a must.

An employee’s first day on the job sets the tone for the rest of their employment and ensures they’re able to be productive as soon as possible. An awful onboarding process can not only scare away great people, it can lead to unnecessary, avoidable mistakes. The first step is to be prepared and create an onboarding plan for each new employee. Below are a few ways you can help new hires settle into their role on their first day, so they can hit the ground running.


are you rethinking your approach to talent management in 2021? our 2021 planning guide can help you develop your strategy.

people are the foundation of success

Your workforce is central to your success as a business. Businesses need skilled, hardworking employees, who have the right skills and experience to deliver their products and services to customers. Employers who recognize and appreciate the essential contributions of their employees have stronger reputations and find it easier to attract and retain talent. When preparing for future disruptions, taking care of your employees should be a top priority to ensure business continuity. Think about measures you can take to protect employees and shield them from the worst effects of a disruption. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers who were hit hard scaled back benefits, reduced hours and took other extraordinary measures to keep as many employees on their payroll as possible, while still keeping their business afloat.

future-proofing with technology

Technology can help you build a more adaptable HR process in the face of sudden changes. Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example: the way that recruiters and hiring managers hire talent has shifted almost entirely online. Instead of conducting in-person interviews, many companies are opting for virtual interviews conducted over video platforms. Not only is this safer during the pandemic, it’s more convenient for both the interviewer and candidates. Though it took a pandemic to make this change happen on a widespread scale, it revealed a better, more flexible way of conducting interviews by harnessing technology. Overall, digitizing your talent attraction and HR tends to make these processes more adaptable by centralizing tools and information. When your HR team can access core software and information online, they’re able to work from anywhere at any time, leading to stronger business continuity, no matter what’s going on in the world.  

build flexibility into your strategy

During a workforce disruption, your talent needs may shift at the drop of a dime. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies had to quickly scale up their workforce to deal with a surge in demand for their products. On the other hand, businesses like restaurants, airlines and travel businesses had to scale back their workforce and lay off workers. It’s important to have contingency plans in place to address different scenarios, depending on how your business is impacted by a disruption. Build flexibility into your workforce to ensure you’ll be able to weather the storm, no matter what disruption is thrown at you. You can do this by implementing strategies such as cross-training (to ensure that there are multiple people able to cover core roles) and employing temporary or contingent workers to fill in gaps.

forecast future needs

When there’s a major talent disruption, you need to quickly be able to assess your core needs and how you can stabilize and protect your business. Employing the right talent in the right areas of expertise is critical. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of IT, ecommerce and digital marketing functions within many organizations. IT departments were able to help their employers quickly deploy remote work functionality and ensure core enterprise tools and software remained functional. Ecommerce and digital marketing teams served as a critical stream of revenue during the height of the lockdowns. Forward-thinking businesses already had talent in place in these areas and were able to quickly ramp up in these areas at the start of the pandemic. Think about how your business can diversify skill sets and future-proof your business. Are there any emerging skills that would add value or flexibility to your business? Can you cross-train or otherwise build skill-adaptability into your strategy?

are you rethinking your approach to talent management in 2021? our 2021 planning guide can help you develop your strategy.

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