How are you assessing the value of your company? If you consider the products or services you provide to be the underpinning of your business success, then it’s time to think again. You may have identified your immediate and long-term goals, but if your team cannot implement them, then your vision is worthless. A company’s true value lies in the intangibles; the people it relies upon every day to execute. Your team is the face of your company and successful businesses are those that recognize talent acquisition as a critical part of their overall strategic campaign. The pandemic’s long-tail effect is still making itself felt; not only has it affected your planning and the way you work, it’s impacted the job market. The EdTech industry is booming and the exponential growth has meant that many companies need to expand their teams. How prepared are you for what comes next? What measures are you taking to bring in your next generation of talent?
How has COVID-19 affected the EdTech job market?
The job market is typically reflective of the health of the markets. The inverse relationship between the number of candidates and the number of available positions flip-flops depending upon the current conditions. Companies are familiar enough with the traditional scenarios (fewer jobs/more applicants vs. more jobs/fewer applicants) and adapt their hiring protocols accordingly. However, this is no ordinary business cycle. COVID-19 disrupted the status quo to such an extent that the current job market is not performing in line with market forces.
The difference between a typical recession and the one caused by the pandemic lies in the timing. Recessions build over time and unemployment rates are gradually affected, but with COVID-19, unemployment rates soared overnight. The long-term effects are different too because some industries and businesses disappeared altogether during this time, while others (EdTech being a prime example) have emerged or thrived. This has had an unusual effect on unemployment figures. According to the Congressional Research Service, within the first two months of the pandemic in 2020, unemployment rose from a January low of 3.5% to 14.7% in April. This figure represented the highest rate observed since data collection began in 1948 and although unemployment dropped below 9% by August 2020, the number is still high. With EdTech companies aggressively scaling up, high unemployment should give them a bigger talent pool to fish from and allow them to consider hiring from other sectors where skills are transferable.
Hiring vs. Acquiring: Talent acquisition
Attracting top talent and hiring a body to fill a vacuum should not be confused. The first is the process of incorporating an individual into your company culture with a goal of nurturing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, while the second is merely a short-term solution to a current problem. The process must be carefully managed. First, identify how value is created in your business (i.e. which team or section is the most profitable) and focus your efforts on this area. Secondly, act intentionally. Companies who successfully attract the “right” candidates have a clear understanding of the effort, time, and costs associated with making a new hire, and plan accordingly.
Industries experiencing aggressive growth, like EdTech, are always considering ways to stay ahead of the curve and therefore, their competitors. A large part of your business’ success lies in the quality of your team and the responsibility for building this team does not lie with one individual. HR, C-suite and team leaders have a role to play by defining the qualities that contribute to the company’s success—identifying this differentiator not only helps the company’s competitiveness, it will help refine the hiring process. Why? Because if you know what qualities make someone successful in their job, you can use that insight to your advantage during your search.
Developing your talent acquisition strategy will do the following:
- Enable growth: an organization can grow at its own pace, equipped with the talent it needs.
- Use the data: talent acquisition data will help you identify hiring loads and turnover rates so you can set appropriate and effective hiring goals.
- Encourage collaboration: brain-storm—and not just within HR. Broaden your perspective by talking to current employees. They can help you identify how to attract your next hire.
- Develop your branding: qualified candidates will receive more than one offer and will compare companies. Create an employer brand that attracts the talent you seek.
- Focus on candidate engagement: hone your efficiency to keep the hiring process moving forward. The experience your candidates have will influence their decision to come and work for you.
Pulling the pieces together: working as a team
Your talent acquisition specialist should have an in-depth understanding of the company’s expected growth and possible hiring requirements. With the guidance they provide, your company will devise a recruitment plan that caters for your company’s future needs as well as those of today. Working closely with your HR department, they will be responsible for the whole recruitment cycle. How this manifests itself will largely depend upon the size of your company, but their responsibilities will include writing job descriptions, sourcing and screening candidates and being responsible for the candidate’s overall experience. They will also help with the ultimate hiring decision, onboarding and future evaluations.
You can support hiring efforts by doing these things:
- Creating a brand that a candidate wants to associate with.
- Providing ongoing, deliberate training to employees to develop the skill sets upon which the company relies.
- Motivation of current employees to encourage them to stay and want to do their best. This goes beyond remuneration:
- Structured on-boarding to increase employee retention.
- Promotion of a unified, capable workforce that can work towards the company’s goals leading to client satisfaction and ultimately better business performance.
- The employment of an organization-wide structured approach with delineated roles/tasks resulting in increased efficiency.
Ready to increase our headcount, but finding it difficult to find the right people?
If it is any comfort, you are not the only one struggling to find the right candidate. Not only is the hiring process lengthy, but there is no guarantee that once complete, it will be successful (i.e. your new hire is wooed by another offer after six months and walks out of the door). There are a number of reasons why it is so difficult to find the right person, including these:
- Your company lacks an effective strategic hiring plan.
- It’s a buyers market; the EdTech market is booming and job seekers have plenty of options.
- Lying on resumes: applicants looking to present themselves favorably may enhance their skills, experience etc…
- Candidates lack key skills, professionalism, a work ethic or critical thinking/problem solving abilities.
- The X factor: a resume demonstrates experience, knowledge and/or success but for some intangible reason, the hire does not work out.
Don’t be daunted. Do ask for help. The pandemic has thrown the ultimate curveball and if it’s time for assistance with talent acquisition, PIP is here to step in. Partner in Publishing has a deep network of accomplished EdTech professionals with decades of experience to help you build a successful team. From scheduling initial consultations to creating short lists of eligible candidates, PIP’s experts can help you find the right candidates to fill your roles. Contact us today to learn more about partnering with PIP, supporters of the best and brightest in the EdTech space