You’ve Re-Hired, Now What?


In the throes of the pandemic, most companies went into crisis mode.  The challenge was to stay afloat while trying to keep employees safe.  Many were forced to cut back to a few key members of staff just to keep the essential functions going.  HR managers were forced to respond to the crisis in ways they haven’t had to work before.  Having the majority of remaining staff members home-based presented new challenges.  These included trying to maintain employee welfare in a virtual setting which was a challenge to say the least.

Now we are coming out the other side, businesses are switching to recover mode.  This involves looking at the staff they have and working out where the gaps are.  Many companies are frantically re-hiring to fill those gaps as business returns to normal.  Now is the time for HR leaders to turn their attention toward recovery, to ensure their organisations are prepared to thrive. This will require focus and coordination, during what may be a protracted period. 

The challenges presented with hiring a large number of new staff will be great for HR departments.  The trend for remote working continues which does not facilitate the onboarding of new employees.  New employees will find assimilating into a company very challenging if everyone is still working from home.  It will be difficult to adapt to the company culture and form bonds with colleagues if the only contact is digital.

The challenge of online learning

Training will have to be mostly online which will make it difficult to monitor.  If a new employee struggles with the training it will be difficult to help them.  There may be issues with technology too, not everyone will have superfast broadband in their home setting, slow wi-fi will cause interruptions and glitches which will be frustrating for staff.  There may be security issues as not everyone will have sufficient firewall protection which will leave office networks vulnerable to attack.

Isolation can be a problem with home-working which will affect employee mental health.  And problems with focus and motivation could impact the ability to carry out their jobs.

Upskilling and reskilling

One way companies can deal with the post-pandemic skills shortage is to upskill and reskill their existing staff.

Even before the pandemic, the rise of automation and new technologies was transforming global job markets, resulting in the very urgent need for large-scale upskilling and reskilling. But now, after months of unforeseen hardship, this need has become even more important.

As outlined in the World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report, half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025.

For those seeking employment, upskilling and reskilling have never been more important than in the current climate. As the workforce changes the knowledge and experience it requires, candidates need to do the same to remain competitive. Focusing on in-demand skills might be exactly what they need to catch an employer’s eye. Whether they boost their CV by taking an online course or expand it to a degree – there are many possibilities. As they reskill and upskill, they will arm themselves with the skills to excel in a competitive job market.

The reskilling companies do now should be continued going forward. By engendering institutional learning and evaluating what works and what doesn’t, businesses are able to apply those lessons during disruptive events in the future. And they also give themselves a competitive edge.

According to Mckinsey, companies should take the following steps to reskill their workforce post COVID-19:

  1. Rapidly identify the skills their business depends on

As companies look to the future they need to decide which skills will be required to take them forward.  They need to Identify which shifts in activities, behaviour, and skills are needed. For example, if they have moved from in-store sales to predominately home deliveries, the tech team and logistics coordinators will have a greater impact on the new strategy than they did on the old one.

  1. Build employee skills critical to the new business model

Employers should focus on these skill sets:

  • Expand the ability to work in a fully digital environment
  • Develop cognitive skills to enable workers to respond to the need for innovation
  • Strengthen social and emotional skills to ensure effective collaboration
  • Build adaptability and resilience skills to thrive during an evolving business situation
  1. Launch tailored learning journeys to close critical skill gaps

As companies adapt their business models to suit the current climate they need to identify the core skills their employees need.  These learning journeys are tailored to each specific role, but companies can increase their scale and cost effectiveness by delivering the majority of the training digitally.

Such journeys can be supplemented by digital tools that re-create the best of in-person learning—for instance, social-sharing tools and live video sessions that create a deepened sense of cohesion and help build skills, such as empathy, that usually depend on in-person learning.

  1. Continue the process

Organisations shouldn’t launch reskilling initiatives and then cease them after the crisis passes; whatever talent reskilling or redeployment they do now should also be used to expand their reskilling capabilities going forward. By building on institutional learning, and finding out what works, they will be in a position to apply those lessons to events in the future.

  1. Act like a small company

Smaller businesses are generally better at taking bold moves to adapt the skills of their employees to fill the gaps.  They are able to be more agile than their larger counterparts because they don’t have large groups of people to move around.  They are also more willing to take risks as they don’t have the layers of approval to go through.  Alan Jenkins, MD of exhibition stand contractor Quadrant2Design confirmed this, he said ‘We had to cut the workforce down to the bare minimum to survive the pandemic, now things are improving we have tripled the workforce which has presented challenges with training and assimilation.  We have had to adapt to meet these challenges.’

  1. Protect the training budget

Businesses shouldn’t put a lot of effort into training now and then stop.  This could defeat the purpose of using training as ongoing development for staff.  Training should be an continual process to adapt to changing environments.  If they adapt well to the current crisis, this will stand them in good stead for any future upheavals.  Learning the lessons from the pandemic will equip them with the skills to face problems going forward.

The COVID-19 crisis caused many businesses to lay off multiple members of staff.  According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment currently stands at 4.8%, with a further 14% of the UK workforce on furlough. This has left many with skills gaps which need to be filled to enable them to recover and thrive again.  The challenges of dealing with existing and new staff in a post-pandemic economy presents companies with multiple issues.  Retraining and reskilling workforces should now be a priority, and should remain an ongoing task.

Author Bio:

Written by Caroline Grey, a Content Writer with a wide variety of experience across a number of different industry sectors.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.