‘Hire-from-Home’ is the New Business Continuity Threat

Key Personal Recruitment: a Threat to Business Continuity

When a top communications agency hired a new chief creative officer for its New York office earlier this month, the trade publication Ad Age reported it as “the agency world’s latest major hire-from-home move”. 

The article listed other recent senior hires as marketing agencies continue to work and recruit from home, including appointments at BBH New York, Deutsch LA and The Martin Agency.

This is not a phenomenon limited to the communications and advertising industry. We have discussed in previous blogs the mounting evidence that the pandemic brought permanent change to the world of work, most notably an increasingly flexible and dispersed workforce, with many more people working remotely either permanently or part-time. 

This shift has consequences for all aspects of how talent is recruited, managed and retained.

“[What is] the biggest lesson learned from the shift to remote work?”, rhetorically asks Tim Dowd, the CEO of background check specialists, Accurate Background, in a recent HR trade press interview

“The way we acquire and retain talent has changed and capitalizing on the transformation will be a top priority,” is Dowd’s response, who added, “This opens doors to talent previously unattainable due to geographical restrictions, making the talent pool both larger and more competitive. And for the newly transformed Work-from-Home employees, gone are the limitations of job applications based within a certain mileage.” 

Clearly this is a double headed issue. 

On the up-side, the ‘hire-from-home’ model means you can make key hires for your organization among talent situated anywhere.  

On the downside, you are now vulnerable to having your most valuable people recruited by competitors anywhere in the world, with a potentially profound negative impact on your business continuity and leadership stability.

Let us take a deeper look at how you can mitigate and manage the risk.

First, there are clues as to which of your team members are most likely to be recruited. Companies surveyed towards the end of 2020 revealed that the biggest need for talent expansion is in IT and technology departments, closely followed by customer service, marketing and sales. 

That same report, from the staffing specialists Adecco Group, said that the most important benefits of hiring a distributed workforce included more satisfied employees and a more productive workforce.

The clue is in the word “satisfied”. How do you ensure that your people are happy, productive, recognized and, ultimately, loyal to your organization?

Compensation is always part of the answer. The Adecco report noted that not only were 8 in 10 respondents planning salary raises in 2021, 61% also planned to pay bonuses and more than a third indicated they were paying employees new forms of compensation such as stipends and reimbursement for supplies for remote working.

However, employee satisfaction is based on more than money. Another important factor is the work environment and the level of support for employees in this new world of the hybrid workplace.

One emerging factor is how the office space is utilized. Laurie Lovett, the chief human resources officer for the research company Nielsen Corp, recently explained how her organization is reimagining its office space: “There will be spaces for collaborative work experiences. People will use the offices for small teams and quiet time.” 

In that same article, published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the leader of research firm Global Workplace Analytics was quoted as saying the Nielsen example is how most companies will go back: “The mix of remote and in-office is really what works. We’re finally realizing that what’s good for people is good for business.”

As SHRM’s own chief HR officer, Nikki Sumpter, neatly summed up: “To continue to be great employers, we need to embrace what we have and what we learned from this crisis.”

To avoid challenges to business continuity by having your best people become another firm’s ‘hire-from-home’ recruitment success, the lesson is to make sure your key people are well paid and compensated for working remotely, while absorbing and applying the lessons of pandemic work-life.

That means taking a fresh look at the whole picture of how your workforce is managed and supported, right down to rethinking what the ideal office space now looks like.


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