When the pandemic started and teams began working remotely, business in the IT industry seemed unusually fine, except for a few operational challenges. Companies were quick to adapt to remote work culture and continue on with their tasks,and it seemed like nothing had changed at all. How did we end up where we are today? Let's take a look at how the talent landscape has changed since then, stage by stage.
The influx of an aloof workforce
When enterprises wanted to support the sudden demand for "online" work, they expanded their teams exponentially. A poll by peoplemanagement.co.uk asked 1,000 line managers working for companies with 250 employees or more and reported that over 25% of them had to manage more people than they did before the pandemic. A large chunk of newly added talent had no or limited chance to interact with their teams or their reporting officers outside work. This resulted in workforces that didn't feel connected to their organizations. Enterprises also had a hard time integrating this new talent into routine operations, yet had to get them to work somehow.
The great shuffle
As talent became aware of the new demand, enterprises had to offer competitive packages. This competition got out of hand quickly, and even passive candidates found the competition's offers compelling. Moonlighting, great resignations, and candidates with multiple offers disrupted the job market. The result? People were doing the same work for a different company for much higher compensation. Enterprises had to shell out a lot more to get the same job done as before. The scale had tipped.
The aftermath of an unaffordable bid
When the dust settled, enterprises were quick to note the hefty revenue impact of their costly hires. VC funding slowed down, investors became weary of loss-making enterprises, and boards made a stern call to turn the boat around before any more damage was done. Employees are let go every day in an aftermath of macroeconomic conditions, and the IT talent landscape does not look good. However, a few hold the key to setting this right. For a calmer, brighter future, recruiters and HR professionals must now take the reins.
Cometh the hour, cometh the HR professionals
Transparency and staying grounded
When employees panic, the HR team's first job is to educate them on where the enterprise stands, its place in the larger market, and the promises the business can and cannot make. Engage with them and assure them that there's a brighter future ahead, even if that future is not with their current organization. This kind of reassurance goes a long way, and we'd never know it without putting ourselves in their shoes.
Start hiring with the HR round
In a world where "best fit" makes it or breaks it, maybe the HR interview round shouldn't be so far down the order. Talk to candidates to see if they would be compatible with your colleagues, and only then pass their profile on to the next round. It does not make sense to have the whole interview process filter out a candidate only for HR to realize that they wouldn't fit in with the organization's work culture. By then, even if that's the case, hiring managers would most likely push the hire so they don't have to go through the whole ordeal again.
Go gig if you aren't trying to go big
Not all jobs are meant to last a lifetime, and not all openings need a full-time recruit. Talk with the hiring managers, discuss their roadmaps, get an idea of how long they'd need that particular resource, and suggest different avenues of talent. Building a product from scratch? It's probably best to hire full-time. A small project that'll only need an extra resource for half a year? Suggest hiring a gig worker or an agency. This approach is economical, easy on the teams, and definitely helps in the longer run.
Keeping it lean and mean
While it is absolutely necessary to hire more people in order to ease the workload, ego hiring and panic hiring are not the way forward. Whenever a recruitment request pops up, take time to assess and see if the enterprise can go without it. If there is a way to hire without squandering existing resources, recommend it. Organizational restructuring, shared resources between teams, and concrete roadmaps can help reduce unnecessary hiring.
The way forward in IT talent management
While layoffs happen from time to time in all industries, the magnitude of automation and macroeconomic conditions fueling the IT layoffs will definitely make things harder for HR teams and company recruiters. Maintaining morale and making tough choices become tricky. Tread at a steady pace and make strategic suggestions to decision makers, and the industry will sail past this. To all the super recruiters out there, Zoho Recruit says, "You've got this!"