How Startups Can Stand Out During The COVID-19 Crisis

The current climate has created an unpredictable landscape for many businesses which has meant recruiting talent has had to take a back foot. Many companies are trying to navigate a challenging time financially and are having to make huge decisions regarding the future of their staff.

Startup businesses are not immune to these problems, and many will be fighting the same fight as established companies. However, for those startups that can continue working with minimal effects, this crisis could be an opportunity to position yourself as an employer of choice. Even if you aren’t currently able to hire, the actions you take now could help your business to attract the brightest and best individuals to enhance your business in a post-COVID world.

Many businesses have had to freeze recruitment for the foreseeable future, and the reasons for this are justified. How can business owners think about new hires when their current team are struggling to stay afloat? Experts predict that the recruitment freeze for many businesses will last around 3-4 months. Combine this freeze with the number of workers currently on Britain’s furlough scheme or that have been made redundant and you have thousands of candidates currently stuck in a recruitment pipeline.

Now is the time to tell your story, build awareness and promote your employer brand. As you enter a less saturated recruitment market, your startup business will be more visible to top talent. You won’t have to compete against long-standing companies if they’re freezing recruitment efforts, giving you a platform to promote yourself as an employer to a broad, engaged audience. The odds are in your favour as you have a higher probability of attracting high-quality talent that may not have been aware of your business before.

Refine Your EVP

While recruiting for specific vacancies may be out of the question, many startup businesses may be asking what they can do to help their hiring strategy, particularly those who were preparing to scale before COVID-19. As we prepare to enter a new normal, now is the time to think about what your company can offer employees not just physically but emotionally. Build an employee value proposition which captures the intangible elements of your employee experience as well as the quantifiable ones; clearly shows what you stand for as a business. In times of uncertainty culturally, financially, and even politically, it will be emotional motivations and drivers that encourage top talent to leave jobs for another organisation. We’re becoming a more emotionally driven society. Talent wants to feel like they have a purpose and cause in their work; by working on your EVP, you will be able to connect with those that hold similar values ready for when roles become available.

Promoting Your Company Culture

Even if you have no roles available right now, promoting your company culture, values, and mission will help you to remain in people’s minds when life returns to some sort of normal. Find creative ways to promote why you should be considered as a viable employer. It’s undeniable that startup businesses face challenges when promoting themselves to talent; why would candidates want to work for a business they’ve never heard of? Is it a risk to join a lesser-known company? This pandemic has changed priorities massively, and people care more now about company values, so make yours known. Shout about what you stand for, how you treat your people and what makes you unique, and you should resonate with talent that shares your principles.

We’ve said it time and time again, but during this pandemic and lockdown, social media and digital advertising have come into their own. You can promote your employer brand to a vast audience for low costs, reaching talent with the qualifications, interests and experience that your business needs. Digital channels like Facebook, Instagram and Google allow you to attract passive candidates who aren’t actively looking to move jobs. With only 25% of candidates reported as actively looking for new opportunities, you could be missing a huge range of talent by only using traditional methods. While we’re all spending more time online and on social media, you have an audience ready and waiting to be informed and entertained; you may even inspire a change in career path!

Someone is hired every 7 seconds on LinkedIn, despite it being the most saturated and costly platform for recruitment. Imagine what your business could achieve by using less overwhelmed channels with a more effective targeting capability and a much lower cost per result.

Use Remote Working to Your Advantage

Many startup businesses currently work remotely or use shared co-working office spaces as it’s a flexible, cost-saving solution. Using these spaces mean that remote working and changing your workspace regularly are normal. As a result of this pandemic, more and more workers realise the benefits of remote working; among other advantages, it gives them flexibility and control over their own working life. A recent Getabstract survey found that 43% of respondents would prefer to work from home more often they were able to, and only 12% wanted to work in the office more often. As a startup and being able to offer a remote working culture may work in your favour. If employees don’t want to return to the office environment regularly, a company that has the option to work from anywhere will be instantly more appealing.

Startups can offer employees something that other businesses can’t. While COVID-19 is having a significant impact on attitudes and priorities on all sides of the recruitment landscape, startups can offer the flexibility, purpose and level of care for employees that candidates now crave. With a change in culture on a global scale and a freeze in recruitment from many businesses, now is a crucial time for startups to stand up and showcase what makes them brilliant. The messaging they promote at this time could lead to them overtaking long-established companies as an employer of choice. This is the time to be more visible and prepare for scaling when it suits you.

As the official talent partner to Tech Nation, Talent Works is dedicated to helping innovative startup businesses to scale. From researching the elements of and refining your EVP to resonate with the specific talent, your organisation needs to conduct thorough and intelligent recruitment marketing strategies; our experts are on hand to help you grow even when times are tough.