Takeaways from Weekly Talent Acquisition Action Calls: COVID-19 Response
Kristen Weirick, global head of talent acquisition and chief diversity
officer at United Airlines, was the Q&A guest for this week’s Talent Acquisition COVID-19 Response series call, where talent acquisition
leaders from companies such as Axogen, Federal Reserve Bank, Signant Health, and
many more discussed how COVID-19 has impacted talent acquisition and HR in a
broader sense at their organizations.
- In today’s first instant poll, call participants
were asked where talent acquisition reports through in their organization. The
largest number, 48%, said TA reports through a CoE, with 19% saying that talent
acquisition reports through a business unit or other, respectively. Another 14%
said that talent acquisition is a shared services model within their
organization. Today’s Q&A guest, Kristen Weirick, global head of talent acquisition
and chief diversity officer at United Airlines, discussed the HR org structure
at United, and how different that structure might look like post-COVID.
- The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the volume
of recruiting at many organizations, and has led some to staff up in order to
accommodate this volume. At United, for example, the airline made roughly
11,500 new hires in 2019. (As Weirick explained, this number came down to about
10,000 after accounting for those hires who actually dropped out during the organization’s
stringent background screening process.) The organization has determined a
hiring-to-headcount ration to help rightsize its talent acquisition team, which
at one time included roughly 60 employees. “That’s a small time to support that
[type of hiring] volume,” says Weirick, adding that its TA team is currently
closer to 100.
- Talent acquisition leaders are interested in
what sort of key performance indicators should be tracked to measure an
organization’s success in terms of diverse hiring. Time to fill, for example,
is a metric that talent acquisition needs to monitor, but is not necessarily an
indication of success.
- The talent acquisition function’s time is
increasingly split between different roles. For example, TA is not exclusively
focused on sourcing or marketing to candidates, and, in some organizations,
does not have someone dedicated to overseeing the company’s social
media-related recruiting and hiring efforts, which, as at least one participant
noted today, makes engaging candidates via social platforms a challenge.
The way employees are onboarded has changed drastically since the
coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., with companies making the process
exclusively virtual for new employees working remotely.
Indeed, the topic of onboarding was the primary focus of this week’s Talent
Acquisition COVID-19 Response series call, where talent acquisition leaders
from companies such as Zillow, Smartsheet, Pizza Hut, Land O’ Lakes, and many
more, discussed how COVID-19 has led their organizations to revamp onboarding
practices to accommodate an overwhelmingly remote workforce. Some highlights:
- In terms of onboarding duration, most companies’ current onboarding
design is for one month or longer. For example, one of today’s polls found 39%
of organizations saying their current onboarding process is designed to last
for 30-plus days, with 29% of organizations saying one to two weeks, 17% saying
one day or less, and 15% reporting their onboarding process is designed to
encompass a new hire’s first 30 days.
- Culture plays an equally critical part to compliance in the onboarding
process as well. A second poll asked the group which of the following their
organization emphasizes most in the onboarding process: Organizational culture,
getting to know the people, compliance (policies, procedures, benefits, etc.),
roles and responsibilities, or other. An equal number (43%) of respondents said
organizational culture and compliance. This was the most common response,
followed by getting to know the people, at 13%. No one indicated that their
organizations focus on roles and responsibilities as part of onboarding.
- Count onboarding logistics among the many challenges the coronavirus
pandemic presents to organizations and HR functions. Zillow’s Corina Kolbe,
senior director of learning and development, and Sarah McLamb, onboarding
project manager, discussed changes the organization has had to make to onboard
remote employees during the pandemic. The onboarding process involves much more
coordination between functions than it did in the past, they said. For example,
a first step in revamping its onboarding process to acclimate large numbers of
remote employees was to identify key stakeholders in the process – facilities,
IT, HR, etc. – and assemble a team of roughly 25 to talk through the necessary
considerations. Logistically, major changes including how the company shipped
out laptops to new hires and issued credentials in a safe and secure way.
- Companies are measuring the effectiveness of their onboarding practices
primarily through surveys. A poll of the group found that 73% said they survey
employees and managers, with 16% reporting no measurement in place with regard
to onboarding, and another 8% saying they use surveys plus performance measures
such as time to full productivity, for example. In terms of survey frequency,
the consensus among the group was that surveys should be issued anywhere
between 30 and 90 days after hire.
Guest: David Nason, Co-founder of Hirebrain
interview vendors in use by call participants:
- HireVue (high end, relatively expensive)
- CoderPad (Technical Interviewing – Virtual White Board)
- Microsoft Teams
- RIVS – Interview Stream
concerns: We need people to be engaged and productive even if they aren’t
- Three current tracks of thinking:
- Short-term response
- Help Hiring Managers to adjust
- Some companies are still in full recruitment
- Some companies are redeploying into crisis management
- Share the forecast for hiring with the team
- Question to ask:
- Is the project something that can be done at home?
- Can/should the project be delayed
- What are we doing every day to be productive?
- Long-term strategy
- What can we do today to make a long-term impact?
- Design Approach
- What’s the full map look like?
3. Virtual Onboarding
- Orgs are asking if now is the right time to bring on interns
- It’s unlikely that the interns can go somewhere else
- Take things case by case
- Aiming to not cancel; may switch to virtual
- Maybe start virtual and transition
- Maybe keep everyone virtual
- Questions: What are the student’s needs? Can the student
afford to wait? Can the student get credit for virtual?
- Hiring managers developing virtual onboarding plans
- 10-week internship to shorter plans (6 to 8 weeks)Front end of program virtual; second part of the program is
where you get the cultural component
Topics covered during the first talent acquisition-focused call included:
•Is anyone making offers
without site interviews?
for hires without video technology (video loops, WebEx, limit on-site
do we transition to virtual interviews?
video call best practices with candidates ahead of calls (Zoom, WebEx works)
do we ask about health risk of interviewees?
•Create boilerplate questions to ask all candidates to avoid stereotyping
•Ask candidates about their comfort level with coming onsite
Events Onsite? Orgs are experiencing lower
directly about precautions and offering alternatives to in-person interviews
Contractors & Vendors
the impact when working with RPOs? Other
to do proactive, real-time coaching
sensing from vendors
•Are you providing recruiter
education on coronavirus?
questions (i.e. Google Doc) from vendors/ candidates to respond with accuracy
do we handle contractors for TA?
dive sessions and ensure they know how to comfortably address these questions
to college recruiting?
for hires without video technology (video loops)
out of on-site job fairs and interviews at college campuses
to recruit college students?
to seasonal hiring impacted (i.e., delay to a summer timeframe)?
around caring for the health, safety, well-being of the workforce (asking what
people feel comfortable with to show understanding with candidates)
background checks and workarounds?
delays in background checks that could delay hiring
How are supporting the initial networking touchpoints for new hire onboarding?
workforce planning needs to drive recruiting strategy
impacts of remote work?