Hiring and Firing During a Pandemic
The basic acts of hiring an employee or letting them go has always been quite the process, one that requires focus, discussion, and contemplation - but it’s been made even more challenging due to the impact of COVID-19. We’re finding ourselves getting creative to find ways to adapt to continue running our business and hitting our goals. Maintaining your team is always part of running a business, so it’s time to discuss how things will be different moving forward.
Best Practices for Hiring
Gone are the days of inviting an applicant in, shaking hands, and having a face-to-face meeting - at least for now.
Prior to businesses being forced to close or work remotely due to COVID-19, telephone pre-screenings were becoming a normal way for employers to get the feel of a candidate before asking them to come in. This saves the employer time, as well as the applicant. Nobody likes having their time wasted, and a phone call can pretty quickly tell you if you’re on the same page as someone or not. As we move forward, we could see video calls becoming the new way to pre-screen employees.
When talking with applicants, you need to weed out the ones who aren’t willing to work all day. Ask them more honest questions about the position, like, “Can you handle staring at a computer screen most of the day?” Or “Will you be okay being on the phone all day?” These may not be questions you would have asked prior, but we only want the people who are willing to do the work day in and day out, whatever it may be. The answers should cut out many applicants and show you who is serious about the position.
Part of the struggle now is determining if an applicant will be able to be productive working from home. Given that many businesses have not reopened yet and employees are currently still working from within their own four walls, it’s important to know if the person has self-motivation, which is needed to work remotely. Offer working for a trial/probationary basis to see how things go and if communication flows the way it should.
Best Practices for Letting Go
First, ask yourself if you have any other options. The last thing any employer wants to do is let go of an employee, especially during such a difficult and complicated time in history. If there really is no other option, be ready to present your employee with their options for unemployment.
Be as transparent and respectful as you can be, and maintain compassion and empathy. Times are tough enough, don’t play games. Offer to be available for support and advice along the way of finding a new position. Try to have the conversation over video chat, if possible, so it will mimic the feel of a face-to-face meeting.
And, finally, out of a sign of respect, don’t post for the open position right away.