With Phase 3 now firmly in place we here at The Panel are slowly but surely returning to normal operations.
Back in February when we first started to hear about COVID-19, and subsequently in March when the lockdown took effect, we had to adapt very quickly, this was most certainly a new situation for us.
Following in the footsteps of our neighbours LinkedIn and Google, we had decided to test having our entire workforce work from home even before the lockdown was official. Thankfully we had completed the transfer of our business fully to the Cloud in January, without this, things might have been different!
How have you pivoted your business?
Having invested significantly in cloud-based recruitment technologies such as Bullhorn, CloudCall, Daxtra and Cube19 in the last 18 months, our entire team was able to work from home overnight. Our recruitment technology gives us a big advantage over our competitors and means that our service to candidates and clients alike is uninterrupted and timelier.
After the official lockdown, we ceased all operations out of our office in Ballsbridge and put our remote WFH (Working From Home) strategy into place. We were very lucky to have a team so willing and adaptable to change.
We decided to take this opportunity and embrace the flexibility it gave our colleagues to carry out the work they were required to do remotely. As businesses across the world found themselves in a position where recruitment was halted almost completely, we used the time to evaluate our approach in how to maintain contact with our existing candidates and clients, and to develop relationships with new ones.
We maintained our fully customer focussed approach, staying in contact and listening to our candidates and client’s requirements and issues. Our contacts, though tentative in engaging with job searches or recruitment processes, told us that our approach was appreciated and different. We found that “it’s good to talk” is as relevant now as ever!
As a result of the pandemic lockdown, we are now all ace at using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. We have written useful blogs for clients and candidates alike on video interviewing, which have been universally well received.
Our sister business, The Agile Executive, has come into its own with its part-time executive offering and by doing mentorship work for Enterprise Ireland, the LEOs and the Small Firms Association. We are seeing continued growth in this flexible business model during COVID.
What if any of the COVID-19 changes do you see being made into long-term changes, and how do you believe it will help your business post the crisis?
Staying up to date with guidelines from the HSE, we will continue to adhere to social distancing and health advice. The exact roll-out for re-introduction of all the team back to the office will be gradual. All team members and visitors will observe certain protocols before entering our premises, we are limiting numbers in the office and the cleaning of all office spaces has increased in frequency.
Keeping our workforce remote, as much as possible, is still key. We may transition some of the team to a hybrid office/WFM model, especially those with long commutes.
What is your view on the market post COVID-19?
The recruitment industry is adapting to the COVID-19 world, activity is down, and confidence is dented. However, companies are still going to need new staff members, and jobseekers will still be looking for new opportunities. This will not change, however the way in which the recruitment processes are handled will.
Throughout the lockdown many employers were forced to complete their hiring process and on-boarding process remotely, this will more than likely continue, however I do believe there will be a slow move to more face-to-face interaction over the coming weeks. All whilst adhering to social distancing of course.
We are encouraged by some of the green shoots. It is too early to call how the market will react post-COVID-19, however if the government, Revenue and the banks continue to support businesses as they are now, this will accelerate a recovery in my opinion.
I am personally encouraged by the number of virtual events I have been asked to speak at during the lockdown. I have been very active in the last few years within the funds industry and 100 Women in Finance and while I miss the buzz of a room full of people, I have adapted to the new forms of communication!
We, here at The Panel will continue to offer our customers the best service possible, and we hope to see you all in person soon again, let’s stay positive, let’s stay safe.
Joint Managing Partner
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