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Returning to the Office? Here’s the Support You’ll Need.

Many of our clients are executing their plans to return to the office: most want to be “fully back” starting around the day after Labor Day in early September, so the planning is in full swing now.

You can look at this like opening a new office.

But it’s not.

Recruiting is a little different in that some roles won’t return; others are in desperate demand and others have transformed–requiring new skills and candidate characteristics.

So, what’s a company to do?

Here are our insights and things to look out for as you return to the office. 

  • First, understand that candidates may not want to be “candidates.”

Jon Neff, Hire Dynamics’ COO, recently took a deep dive into the June BLS’ jobs report, where it was published that 942K employees “raged quit” in June, the highest quit rate since the BLS started tracking it in 2000. Unemployment also rose slightly to 5.9 percent and there were 9.4 million job openings nationwide – a historic high that “could” indicate a bullish rebound, except….

…Many job candidates now are not willing to come back to or look for work. Therefore, they may decide to leave you when you give the signal that it’s time to come back to the office. Or, if they’ve been unemployed, they may decide not to apply to the many job opportunities now available.

Neff believes this is because many wage earners have had greater exposure to COVID-19 risk, along with “loss of childcare, higher mortality rates in minority communities and energized dialog on social justice and equity.” As a result, many wage earners are left questioning the risk and benefits of their work.

What’s more, job candidates “aren’t necessarily interested in returning to their old jobs, particularly those that offer low wages.”

The takeaway? It’s probably going to be a lot harder to find job candidates, turn them into employees and even retain them. Candidates know they have options and are exercising them robustly by leaving a job if they feel they can find a better one quickly.

  • The roles you need to fill may not be what you expect. (And the ones you do expect have evolved.)

We’re finding that while our clients are asking us to fill jobs one would “expect” to see as companies return to on-site work, there are other roles needed we didn’t expect.

And the roles we did expect? They’re a bit different.

We expected clients to have positions that weren’t needed for the past year-plus because the company closed its office: receptionists/front desk personnel, office managers, etc. And they are.

But there also were some client-need surprises:

  • In-house recruiters and HR professionals who can source candidates like there’s no tomorrow.
  • People with the skills to reconfigure an office to prepare for workers returning part-time on-site (they’ll work from home part-time, too). That means setting up open-floor workstations that different employees will use on different days, as well as “quiet” workrooms needed when an employee needs privacy.
  • IT support professionals who have the skills to “refresh” office technology unused for 1.5 years.
  • Receptionists/front-office personnel but with a twist: if a company retained its receptionist during the pandemic, they often asked them to perform more administrative assistant duties, thus increasing their skills—and pay rate.
  • As for actual office managers/admin assistants, they are asked to perform highly managerial work, such as duties often associated with HR professionals and even within technical and general operations. 
  • Some relatively “new” and “unexpected” positions:

Special Projects Coordinator. This is self-explanatory, except the “special projects” are new. Finding a shared co-working space. Coordinating the “refresh” of idle technology. And so on.

Operations Support.  Operations is huge at this time as employees returning to work need to be wrangled, new equipment needs to be ordered, interviews need to be scheduled and on, and on. These positions are a mix of HR, recruiting, administration, tech/operations. In addition, while all people hired don’t have all the listed skills, due to the high demand for people, equipment, furniture, technology, etc., a variety of operations/tech and people skills are needed.

Does this sound confusing to you? You’re not alone.

The above doesn’t mean you won’t need traditional talent such as AP/AR and billing clerks, account services professionals (including CSRs, CSAs, contact center reps, etc.). Yet the breadth and even depth of staffing/workforce needs are changing as the economy reopens.

We also expect this “confusion” to last for several months, possibly until at least the beginning of 2nd Quarter 2022, as companies and their employees “settle” into a “new normal,” whatever that may look like.

No matter your office needs, contact the Hire Dynamics office nearest you and let us know your challenges and goals.