How Leaders Can Use Today’s “Thinking Time”​ to Gain a Competitive Edge

We’ve all been there, making a list of things we really should do but didn’t have the time to complete. Now we’re in lockdown, we may have the time and a chance to be laser-focused on keeping our business relevant and reactive. 

While there is so much uncertainty, it’s hard to make decisions for your business, especially when you don’t know where you’ll be in a few weeks or even months. So, here are a few suggestions of what you can be doing during this time:

Review and support your current employees

Great people often make great employees. Consider spending a bit of time to evaluate and consider future succession plans. We can identify leaders of tomorrow and consider future strategies to help them grow with your business in the future. Doing so can help them to feel valued, enhance your reputation as an employer, and allow you to fill any skills-gaps you identify. Plus, while your employees are working remotely, implementing needed training can ensure that when business is back to normal, everyone in your organization is at the top of their game, giving you that competitive edge. 

Unusual circumstances can bring out the best in some employees, and as leaders, we need to make sure we notice. 

By talent-mapping, you can also identify any areas which it may make sense to start to pipeline for future talent. Hard to fill talent that is usually tied up in back to back meetings or not at their desk may be more available these days for a career conversation. Looking at competitive talent will help you picture what you may need when we are all back in business as we were a few weeks ago.

Check out the competition

Competitor research is always on my to-do list, but it’s something that always gets pushed back. Competitor research is essential; it allows you to understand your market better and know if you need to expand or change your offering to keep up. Take 30 minutes a week to review the competition, understand where your offerings compare and learn how to position your organization. Organizations like ours can help deliver a specific competitive audit down to open requisitions, diversity strategies and employer brand messaging, but just knowing who else is after your talent is something I strongly recommend.

Validate your employer brand

Your employer brand is what attracts candidates to your business, and while your employer brand must be impressive, it also has to be authentic and accurate. Use this time to determine if the way you think about your culture would match up to both employees’ perceptions and how candidates consider you as a future employer.

With requisitions on hold, your TA team may have the time to review your mission and core values and review how you promote your employer brand internally and externally. Find out what your employees genuinely want from you, because now may be the time to ask for their assistance and implement their suggestions. Plus, in such turbulent and worrying times, it will provide comfort to employees if they see their employer focus on something beyond a readjusted forecast.  

Implement a keep warm strategy

Like many, you may have found yourself in the middle of recruiting when this crisis hit. In the competitive market, it is frustrating for both you and the candidates. So why not use this time to implement a keep warm strategy? Understandably, for a lot of organizations, recruitment has taken a back seat, but this shouldn’t mean you lose potential talent. From email campaigns to social media strategies, communication is critical in letting candidates know that while recruitment is on pause, it won’t be on hold forever. Keep talking to talented people, and they’ll keep considering you as an option; after all, we’re all going through this pandemic and know the effect it’s having on businesses globally.

Make on-boarding a breeze

As many business owners or leaders will hate to admit, the on-boarding process isn’t always a priority, but it is vital in a candidate’s experience with you. Now you have some downtime; it’s an ideal time to finally refine and perfect an on-boarding strategy that makes new hires feel welcomed and well-informed. Take a few days to put yourself in their shoes. What do they need to know about your business? What will help them to settle in? There are a vast number of questions that you finally have the time to answer. 

This is a challenging time, but the list above can give you and your teams some clear direction as to how to use these unusual times to help improve the lives of your employees and provide you with something else to accomplish. Once you return to normal, you’ll be in a much stronger position, having done so.

Our expert team can help you, analyze areas for expansion, create impactful recruitment marketing campaigns, create strategic plans for recruitment, and source talented people to drive your business forward post COVID19.

Jody Robie is a shareholder and manages North America for Talent Works International. She helps clients leverage our team of brand and insight specialists, creative marketers and global recruiters.  She uses her expertise to research, validate, implement and activate employer brands for companies of all sizes ranging from Babson College, RELX, Moderna, iRobot, Shopify and Primark.