The past few months have arguably been some of the most challenging times in many of our lives. From navigating a global pandemic that’s impacted the health and well-being of people around the world to the racial injustices that have been brought to life from the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, many companies are struggling to find the right thing to do or say.
As the leader of our Talent Solutions business at LinkedIn that partners with HR and talent acquisition professionals—whose day-to-day roles are centered on people—these issues are especially pressing.
What has become clear over the past few months is that companies that are at the forefront of addressing pervasive problems impacting their organizations are coming out on top. They are quickly moving away from business as usual and adopting new practices to attract, engage, and retain their workforce in this new era. As we begin to think about what the workplace of the future looks like, here are four things that should stick.
Make employee experience top of mind
Even before recent events, our research found that 96% of talent professionals agreed that employee experience was becoming increasingly important. Today, it’s mission-critical.
Industry analyst Josh Bersin recently noted on his blog that today, leaders need to prioritize empathy and compassion first, and business second. This couldn’t be more true.
Whether you’re a leader overseeing a 500-person organization or a manager with a team of two, we all need to find ways to create experiences to connect in a deeper and more human way with our teams.
Hire and recruit with diversity as a top priority
We know that talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. While the global unemployment crisis is affecting millions of people from all walks of life, it is also exacerbating economic inequality.
While it can take incremental improvements to move the needle when it comes to sourcing and building a more diverse workforce, sometimes the simplest of measures can add up to major changes.
At Shopify, for example, the company rethought the requirements on their job descriptions. On each job post, it encourages job seekers to apply even if they don’t necessarily meet all the requirements that are listed, helping to show job seekers that the company recognizes that skills and competencies show up in lots of different ways and can be based on your life experience—not just work experiences. The company also leverages its employee resource groups (ERGs) to help those involved in the recruiting process better understand biases and barriers, making it part of the ERGs’ mandates to engage with employees from different backgrounds to help people broaden their perspectives.
We’ve also seen best-in-class companies break out from their traditional sourcing cycle by holding regular events aimed at diverse candidates or by sourcing talent from diverse association groups. At LinkedIn, we are deeply focused on increasing access to opportunity through the Plus One Pledge, a way to share time, experience, and connections with people outside of your traditional network.
Pivot your employer brand to reflect new realities
As the world is changing, the way we talk about the world, and our place in it, is also changing. Beyond the way your company treats its workforce during difficult times, one of the most helpful things you can do for your employer brand today is to help employees and those interested in joining your company see beyond just your value proposition, to your actual values.
One of the ways we’ve seen companies do this is by quickly pivoting their employer brand messaging to connect with what people are going through today. In mid-March, for example, 24% of employer brand messaging referenced coronavirus, whereas just a few weeks earlier, only 4% of all company posts on LinkedIn mentioned it.
Of the employer posts shared on LinkedIn, those that resonated most and drove the highest engagement were focused on helping and supporting one another and helping their communities. L’Oreal pivoted to produce and distribute hand sanitizer for free to hospitals, pharmacies, care homes, and food stores. Without a doubt, company messages that put people first performed best.
Looking ahead, this will become even more important as companies continue to recognize the importance of taking a more empathetic, human tone in their messaging and telling authentic stories that reveal their company’s values and purpose.
Stay agile and nimble to adjust to changing times
While it may sound obvious, staying agile during challenging times is far easier said than done. Amid a constant stream of new information, changing regulations, and new customer habits and preferences, it’s nearly impossible to predict what the future will look like. But it’s possible to find ways to stay nimble by listening carefully to your customers and enabling your workforce to move quickly on new strategies that align with your mission.
Our team spotted an opportunity to move up the launch of our Video Intro tool that helps hirers identify soft skills when they’re hiring virtually and job seekers showcase their soft skills and stand out in a virtual environment. By being nimble, agile, and recognizing demand, we were able to move up the launch of a tool that helps both those looking for jobs and those in need of talent.
When we go back into the office, the world will be different. Putting these strategies and practices in place now can go a long way in attracting, engaging, and retaining your teams especially as we enter a new world of work.
Mark Lobosco is vice president of talent solutions at LinkedIn.