Goodbye employees. Hello Talent: Finding Your Next Talent Post Coronavirus

By: Meet in Place content team

Shahar Erez, a founder and CEO of Stoke talent, believes that the secret weapon to overcoming this crisis is learning how to manage remote teams and how to divide the workforce between full time employees and freelancers. “There will be an immense fear of long term commitment, since it’s impossible to create any long term financial plan”.

Not many things can be said with certainty these days, but one thing we can all agree on is that the job market and workforce will change drastically. The next contagious buzzword? Talent: a skilled individual who is there to perform while keeping a certain degree of freedom, without looking for the company beer taps and ping pong tables. How do you find your inner ‘talent’? 

How do you recruit the right talent for you? And how do you retain one, knowing that job security is no longer a promise that can be made?

Shahar Erez, a founder and CEO of Stoke talent – a platform for companies looking to scale their usage of on demand freelancers –  believes that the secret weapon to overcoming this crisis is learning how to manage remote teams. “Those who will learn to manage and hire remotely will thrive”, he says, “and those who will try to push back, who won’t trust their workers or allow flexibility, will make their business more vulnerable”.

“I expect we will see, when it will be possible, a lot more meetings, team breakfasts, events and team offsites”.

How can companies make the shift?

“Managing remotely is much more task oriented. You can’t be suspicious or judgmental, you have to trust that your team will do as they say and say as they do, with easy tools to measure their productivity. Eventually, a company that can’t make this transition successfully will come out on the losing end. Talented professionals have always looked for jobs that allow flexibility in companies that empower them and that they can relate with their values. This trend will only strengthen”.

What are some of the challenges that those managing remote teams may face?

“The DNA of a company and its employees will remain the same, even over Zoom, but companies which are not accustomed to having a decentralized workforce will face immense challenges. First, think about the Organizational Memory Loss. If employees are used to office chats, catching up, informal updates, the transition to remote working can be difficult. Those who will make it will be the ones who learn to adapt to a combined work force model of office workers and remote/freelance workers. I expect we will see, when it will be possible, a lot more meetings, team breakfasts, events and team offsites. This is important for the employer’s ability to create a culture, provide a platform where people can form connections and then get to work as well as give their peers feedback that isn’t purely task oriented. If you want to attract talent to your company you need to give them flexibility and space, but they still need a culture that they can relate to and see themselves a part of something greater. A combined work model of freelance and remote work, with some offline interaction is the way to provide both”.

“Those who will make it will be the ones who learn to adapt to a combined work force model of office workers and remote/freelance workers”.

It seems like a lot of talent is overflowing the market with not many job opportunities.

“The competition for hiring new talent will come back full force. And still, companies won’t likely hire many full time positions except for a rare few. No one knows what the future holds. Will we have another outbreak next fall? Will this take a year? Two? There will be an immense fear of long term commitment, since it’s impossible to create any long term financial plan. In addition, as remote work will be new to many companies, they may not feel comfortable hiring full time remote employees.
Companies that are hiring at the moment, like educational tech and gaming, need to hire employees quickly but they can’t commit to them long term. Freelance agreements are perfect for this: both sides can continuously make changes as needed. The coronavirus crisis can be a good time for companies to practice and see what freelance work and remote work looks like, what it’s like to hire people remotely, what their challenges are. Many will have to change their onboarding, to adapt to talent that is willing to do freelance work”.

What are some of the challenges in online hiring?

“There is something assuring about sitting and having a face to face conversation, you get a gut feeling about someone, and with online hiring this is lost. It can also sometimes prove to be a blind spot, we may form a connection with an employee and give them chances long after they should have been let go. When online hiring, you start out more skeptical, you look for certain things with the candidate: an ability to convey messages through the platform, how they will fit in with the team. Companies who show more Business Agility can be those who hire on a task oriented basis before committing. If instead of ‘hiring’ one person you ‘try’ a few people, pay each one for a small task to see how compatible they are, you may end up spending a few hundred dollars on finding the right fit, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to cost of hiring, onboarding and training someone before realising they are not the right person for you after all”.

“Managing remotely is much more task oriented. You can’t be suspicious or judgmental, you have to trust that your team will do as they say and say as they do”.

It sounds like hiring freelancers is great for companies, but a scary move for an individual.

“Freelancers will overcome this crisis the fastest. They don’t wait for the market to change, they shift and adapt themselves quickly, they have the ability to work remotely from anywhere in the world, they know how to brand themselves, build a network, look for opportunities, they have an advantage in that they have more practice in flexibility”.

What about job security?

“There is no such thing as job security. We saw it in 2000, in 2008 and now. You can be excellent at your job, but if there are cutbacks you could be made redundant in a heartbeat. The average turnover rate in tech is 1.9 years. But this is not a bad thing, there is a lot of movement in the market. Job security does not come from staying in the same place the longest, but from the ability to move and adjust to the changing market. An 18 year old who can code from home has more job security than someone who has been doing the same job in the same place for 20 years. 

As far as company security, that will be determined by the companies business agility and their ability to deploy the right talent at the right time. If an opportunity arises, and you don’t have the right people to grab it, it will shift by the time you manage to hire them. Being able to hire people online, trial them out and offer them flexibility will mean that when opportunity arises you can act fast and grab it”.

Shahar Erez is a co-founder and the CEO of Stoke, an on-demand talent platform empowering companies to adopt a hybrid workforce model, providing full transparency and compliance to the process of hiring and managing freelancers. Erez has 15 years of executive experience in engineering, product and marketing at companies like HP, VMware and Kenshoo.

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