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Recruiting for your talent pipeline during a pandemic

Could now be the right time for employers to reach out and develop their talent pipelines?

As the dialogue increasingly turns towards an end to lockdown, hospitality people will want to get back to work.  Many will be looking for new roles as their old ones no longer exist.  Others may have used the furlough to develop skills and consider their next career move.

With this in mind now could be the right time for employers to reach out and build their talent pipelines.

What is a talent pipeline?

By definition, talent pipelines are pools of candidates available to fill a job vacancy. These could be existing employees, ready for advancement, or external candidates who have the skills and attitude to join your team.

Talented people are the differentiator for success

HR teams have talent strategies in place so we approached Natasha Nagra, Talent Resourcing Manager of Kew Green Hotels to talk about their approach to maintaining and developing their talent pipeline during lockdown.

We started by asking Natasha about Kew Green’s existing recruitment strategy. “Over the past couple of years our focus has been to attract the very best people into our business.  Like many other employers, during lockdown we’ve moved towards communicating, engaging and retaining our people.  We don’t want to lose talented people that are going to be the differentiator for us to be able to really succeed when we completely reopen.”

Reaching out to talent during a time of crisis

Natasha was happy to share her thoughts on why now is the right time to reach out to potential recruits.

“A lot of organisations may be reluctant to actively recruit right now. ‘A pool of candidates will be available after lockdown, so we don’t need to recruit at the moment.’  If you want to recruit the best people into your organisation, and make sure they the right fit, you need to invest time to develop a talent pipeline. Whilst the industry is in lockdown candidates are possibly more receptive to approaches and businesses should make maximum use of their networks to reach out.”

But is it appropriate?

Some sectors of the industry might not feel that now is an appropriate time, but candidates are suggesting otherwise.  “Candidates are not going to engage in conversations about jobs unless they are actively looking and they’re ready to make a move. Building a talent pipeline is about building relationships and letting candidates know that you, and the position, are there for them during and after lockdown. Circumstances are changing every day and ultimately a candidate is in charge of their own destiny, but they’re only going to make a move when they’re ready to.”

The best places to recruit for your talent pipeline

During a crisis, sensitivity is key when reaching out to potential recruits. Industry-specific job boards are a perfect starting point.  Employers can see at a glance who has recently updated their CV – a strong indicator that they are thinking about a move.  A jobs board that allows for targeted criteria searching is even better, channeling a pool of potential recruits who have the skills and aptitude needed.

Have a ‘virtual’ coffee

“Once you’ve made contact with someone who fits your recruitment needs, it’s about staying connected. These are not normal times; employers cannot offer an exact start date so traditional ‘time to hire’ and onboarding routes don’t apply.

Sharing updates and stories, demonstrating brand values and community activities are great ways of letting a potential recruit know what matters to your people and brand during a crisis. Zoom calls for a virtual coffee and a catch up are becoming more and more relevant and a new way of developing a relationship with people in your talent pipeline.”

Remind candidates why they are important to the sector

Yes, hospitality is having a tough time at the moment, but it doesn’t detract away from the core reasons why people want to work in our industry. We need to keep reaching out to candidates, and nurturing talent pipelines is a very important as part of that.

With many hospitality people currently working in other sectors, hospitality needs to continue the dialogue about what a great place the industry is to work.  The skills shortage is real and reaching out to talented people and having those conversations about why they, and their skills matter, is vital.

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