Well it’s been an interesting few weeks for sure. After the initial shock, the working from the den or dining room table, the homeschooling, the dog barking and the occasional toss out of the room because someone else needs the space for a Zoom call….here are my takeaways based on my conversations with CFOs, business leaders and others in and outside of the industry:
The Rethink: Not a big surprise, there is going to be a re-think of how we do business. The emphasis will be on technology support, health management and a re-assessment of how we use office space. A parallel digital environment will be created.
The Real Estate: Business leaders are thinking about the amount of office space they need and how to re-configure that space in light of health considerations, the need to disinfect and the need/method to rotate teams into their physical locations. The cleaning bills are going up.
There is discussion about partnering with landlords regarding defraying the cost of office re-configuration and a discussion about landlord risk especially if the landlord has a concentration of tenants from high-risk industries (think…you may not get your buildings cleaned if the landlord goes under).
The Employee: Employees are re-thinking going back to a crowded city, taking public transportation or stepping into an office that is not properly configured/cleaned. Some love working from home, some miss the water cooler. Some are challenged with having the jobs of homeschooling and working for their company all under the same roof, and some want the collaboration back. Some love the video collaboration, some stay in their pajamas all day, some forget to wear pants on a video call.
The Hiring: The logistics of working from home has not slowed down the cadence of the interviewing process too much. We’re setting up more phone and video conversations. Candidates are being hired based on video interviews only and are being onboarded remotely, although at the executive level, the need for a face to face meeting before the offer is made/accepted is still important. HR is being challenged with getting through the background checks but they’re getting through them.
The strategic/executive level roles that were on the table before COVID continue to be open because they are strategic, because they are a priority, and because there is a focus on filling them in anticipation of this passing. The hiring of less experienced candidates is either moving forward or is being put on hold but this depends on the on the carrier, MGU or broker…..but there is still hiring going on.
The Mindset: People are open for a job change if they have the chance to move towards something that will represent the next step in their career or if they have some pain with their current situation. They are more flexible in being able to interview from home. Some people just want to hunker down and not think about making a job change right now. Some may feel it’s risky to move from their current company. Is this the case? Perhaps yes, perhaps no….but we’re in the insurance space, not the cruise industry. Our industry has been less affected. If a company is hiring now, they’ve thought this through. They’re committed. No need to feel like you’ll be hired and in the period between your resignation and your start date, they’ll say…”ahhh, never mind.”
The Employer: More than ever hiring managers need an advocate who will understand a candidate’s concerns and who can have strategic conversations with candidates, vs. hoping candidates will reply to a job posting.
So, with everything going on, what we have is a little bit of this and a little bit of that….it’s a good time to have strategic business conversations with your contacts…..there’s always opportunity if you look.
While John has been hunkered down at home because of COVID, he’s been occasionally thrown out of his den by his children for their Zoom calls…..