BTN Podcast Featuring Sevenstep: Permanent Impacts of COVID-19 on Talent Acquisition

COVID-19 accelerated several pre-existing, pre-pandemic trends, including digital transformation and remote work, and generated many new trends, from contingent worker expansion to employers playing an expanded role in their employees financial, mental, and physical well-being.  As organizations prepare for the unknown, creating operational resiliency is at the top of the list for leadership. As much as they are able to, they want to equip their businesses for whatever the ‘new normal’ has in store, including the potential for additional lockdowns and other operating restrictions. This, of course, has impacted the talent market as well as what ‘going to work’ will look like in the future.

Yates Baker, Vice President of Client Solutions at Sevenstep, along with Rebecca Bowser, Senior Manager of Client Services at Sevenstep, recently met virtually with Emma McDermott, Editor at the Business Transformation Network, to have a discussion about the long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on talent acquisition.

Below are a sample of the questions that were discussed as well as a handful of highlights from the conversation. You can access the full recording here.

Emma: So, we’ve gone through a bit of a whirlwind with COVID-19 this year, but things seem to be finding some level of ‘normality,’ with some organizations shifting from their temporary remote working strategy back to more office based work, but do you think the physical office space will be as important in a post-COVID world as it was before?


The world we left before lockdown no longer exists, and I don’t think the physical office space will be as important as it once was. In general, we are going to see more smaller spaces, versus big offices, become more popular.


Overnight, all companies had to shift work and meetings to take place remotely. As an organization, we evaluated our travel budget, and we were amazed by how much we could save. All companies are asking themselves, “Do we need all of this travel cost?” Or the cost for office space. There is, of course, a need for human interaction but from a pure cost perspective, it’s naïve to think organizations will go back to how things were.

Emma: With this in mind, and the increasingly remote nature of working now, do you think we will see a major impact on HR technology, for example, with more automation and less human interaction?


Because COVID-19 has forced us into a more remote environment, HR technology adoption, specifically in the area of automation, will continue to increase, as will chatbots and the ability to interact with candidates throughout the process. But, people will never be 100 percent removed from the process.


Over the last few months, there has been an increase in candidates in the marketplace. Automation eliminates some of the administrative burdens and increases the ability to get to candidates more effectively through digital channels, but human interaction will still remain very important. For instance, at career events. We are still involved, we are still there, even if only virtually right now.

Emma: In the last few months there has been a lot of uncertainty for work with the furlough scheme and large scale redundancies, so what do you think talent acquisition will look like for the next year or so?


As organizations evaluate their talent acquisition structure, flexibility is paramount. Rather than hiring a wealth of full-time employees, organizations will need to look at a mix of labor, including SOW workers, which is a labor pool on the rise that we are talking about on a day-to-day basis with our clients. In general, as organizations progress into this new normal, I don’t think anyone will be quick to forget what we’ve all just gone through. There will be, and needs to be, a more holistic approach to talent acquisition, and a flexible mix of TA staff, internal full-time employees, contractors and external partners.

To listen to the full conversation, be sure to check out the BTN podcast featuring Yates and Rebecca, Permanent Impacts of COVID-19 on Talent Acquisition. In addition to what is covered above, Yates and Rebecca answer the question of ongoing uncertainty and the future of permanent hiring as well as how to hire for more diversity, equity and inclusion. They conclude the podcast with a piece of talent acquisition advice for a post-COVID-19 world. Check it out.