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4 Key Staffing Questions Businesses Should Answer to Plan for Economic Recovery

(5-7 minute read)


Although economists, politicians and business leaders are hesitant to make strong claims about economic recovery, there are specific actions that businesses can take now to position themselves for smart workforce recovery and growth when the upturn starts.

Below are 4 key areas businesses should assess regarding workforce development, talent attraction and employee retention.

How has COVID-19 changed the employment market?

Many businesses have made staff cuts and are expected to remain at reduced levels (up to 25%). If you can, be open to considering hiring new talent that might otherwise be hard to attract. A study from December, 2019 found that 64.2 percent of small businesses struggle to attract qualified talent. Growth of the available talent pool presents an opportunity for employers to fill difficult positions. Specific actions employers can take include the following:

  • Define top roles: which positions would you fill first if the right candidate became available?
  • Re-examine all open job postings and edit as needed, closing roles that can’t or shouldn’t be filled and highlighting the most important positions.
  • Post notifications on your website or social media indicating open positions or your company’s current status on filling open roles.
  • Know your company’s A, B and C players when making furlough decisions and prioritize high-performing staff when normal work levels return (i.e. topgrading).
  • Clearly and frequently communicate return to work plans to current employees.
  • Examine your organization’s onboarding processes. Where is there room for improvement and efficiency? How will your onboarding process help acclimate new talent and turn them into promoters?
  • Discover what talent is available by connecting with a local employment provider. Staffing and recruiting firms can provide resources beyond what small to mid-sized companies have, including a large talent pool, expertise in the local market and sophisticated recruiting tools.

How do businesses attract top employees during a recession?

Currently, companies are in competition both with other employers and substantial unemployment benefits. Many employees are uncertain about their long-term employment status and are unsure if they should seek new job options. Companies that win talent in this climate will deliver a clear, confident and welcoming message to potential employees that shows the company is stable and focused on providing a safe work environment.

  • For new positions, review job descriptions and requirements to increase the likelihood that candidates will actually match the needs for each role.
  • Evaluate tools or methods that can improve hiring practices (e.g. video interviewing). Examine how your current hiring process represents your company to potential employees.
  • Develop a plan for marketing your company to prospective talent, including company videos, frequent communication about how the company has adapted to COVID-19 restrictions, culture highlights, benefits and more.

How do businesses know if they’re competitive as an employer?

It can be difficult to understand why employees choose a specific employer; especially when companies appear similar to an outside observer. There are several quantitative measurements that employers can use to map their competitiveness within a specific region, industry or both. These measurements include:

  • Compensation and benefits trends for your company’s location and industry. These studies often help employers decide if they should adjust or add to their total compensation packages.
  • Wage studies for open positions and currently filled roles. Simply put, it’s critical to know if your hourly or salary rates are enough to attract and keep the best people.

Other helpful actions might include:

  • Considering the addition of ancillary benefits and culture perks (e.g. more competitive PTO policies).
  • Monitoring common review sites like Glassdoor or Google to see and respond to comments from employees.
  • Conducting an NPS survey from current employees to reveal overall sentiment and highlight potential problem areas.

Engage with us today for a free 1-hour consultation on any of the areas listed above.

How do businesses plan workforce needs during a recession?

Many companies are adapting to how they deliver their products and services. These adaptations require significant, immediate changes to their current workforce to add needed skills or adjust headcount.

Additionally, new employees might bring unforeseen management challenges or require the hiring of staff with skills outside the bounds of a company’s normal hiring practices.

  • Take a planned approach to staffing. Virtually all businesses should create forecasts and develop multiple plans for resuming operational staff levels, or work with the right hiring partner to ensure these levels can be met.
  • Research options for using temporary employees. These options can reduce your risk as an employer by supplying employees on an as-needed basis and administering unemployment claims, payroll, taxes, workers comp and recruitment processes.
  • Determine the kinds of staff that will be needed to perform new business functions, including manufacturing automation and digital roles like marketing, sales, remote customer service or e-commerce. What new roles are necessary for continued product delivery and future growth?
  • Companies should also critically assess whether they have the capability to source specialized or high demand talent.

Let your friends at Axios HR know how we can help.



May 1, 2020


Axios HR


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