As we head into the last month of 2020, I am taking time to reflect on the past year and all the changes that have happened in my business, Essence Recruitment, and the way we conduct our services ( professional and executive recruitment).
January started off with a bang! We were expanding our business by opening additional offices in other provinces and hiring staff. It was going to be a great year.
We were just starting to build momentum in March when, like everyone else, our business changed. Our clients put recruiting on hold and, just like that, business was down 80% in one month.
Fortunately, not all business stopped around the world, so we didn’t either.
Very quickly, we adjusted to telephone and video calls. By May, we were conducting very in-depth recruitment and interview processes that resulted in successful hires without ever actually meeting the people who were hired.
The next challenge was to help our clients onboard and train new employees virtually. This was not going very well for most companies.
Onboarding is always a very big learning curve. It is so important for both the company and the employee for so many reasons. Here are just a few:
- setting expectations
- fostering engagement
- maximizing productivity
We worked with our clients to ensure that, even though new employees were working virtually, there was a plan in place for them to succeed.
To survive the pandemic, Essence needed to adapt. We have realigned, adjusted, and changed our processes. Moving forward, we will be keeping some of these new practices. They have worked and have been successful!
As we have all learned, video calls are exhausting.
It is difficult to read body language, pick up cues, and have meaningful conversations through a screen. In the beginning, we were on video calls for 6 to 8 hours a day and we were totally burnt out by Friday—physically and emotionally drained.
We were also missing human interaction. We are in the people business, yet we could not physically connect with other people.
We had to change our workday. Some days we cannot avoid long video calls and isolation but, whenever possible, we tried to fill our days with other activities—leaving our desks and offices, taking breaks, going outside, having social calls, etc.
I have also stopped working on weekends (for the most part). Mental Wellness and staying healthy has been a very important priority for us and we want to ensure that staying healthy, both mentally and physically takes precedence.
We are looking forward to the time when we can once again enjoy daily interactions, networking, and social activities. What I miss most is meeting new people and hearing their stories, shaking hands, and hugging. I cannot wait to do these things again.
What I have learned this year is that we are able to change and adapt if we allow ourselves. Sometimes this comes from necessity and other times it just makes good business sense. Either way, allowing ourselves to accept our new reality instead of fighting it proved to be successful and way less stressful.
Every day, I am learning through the challenges AND successes. I hold on to the successes.