This week in the UK, many businesses are considering how to safely return their employees to construction sites, field work and offices in larger numbers. Schools, nurseries and - dare we hope - shops, bars and restaurants may follow in June and July.
What does your pre-lockdown workplace look like today? Is it an empty office or a packed manufacturing facility? Wherever your employees and colleagues are, their health and safety may never have been more important.
Post-pandemic, the vigilance around employee care will move from wellness to health. Not to downplay a strong wellbeing policy and it's cool to have a yoga studio, but it's important to provide protection from harm. Government guidelines will likely mean that’s not a matter of choice but it’s not legislation alone that will drive this cultural change.
Some new examples of business responses are highlighted in the BBC Business article linked below but high-risk environment businesses have recognised this for a long time. I worked for a time with an offshore drilling company who set ‘Safety’ as a cultural objective for all employees. The sound reasoning - a payroll clerk doing their job with unerring accuracy gives someone on the platform one less distraction on the job.
How does this impact recruitment and talent acquisition?
Candidate Experience – in your communications plan, information on health and wellbeing positioned not only as a benefit but mandatory information. Recruiters and interviewers demonstrating higher levels of responsibility and care to candidates, including guidance on safely accessing your sites.
Technology – implementing virtual hiring solutions can help to protect your employees and candidates by eliminating face-to-face interactions while allowing you to continue moving forward with your recruiting needs.
Employer brand – in late 2020, if I was a prospective employee and I wanted to understand a company’s culture and values, I’d ask the person interviewing me how they and their colleagues were treated, and how well they were cared for, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a way that feels new, but people and culture are most companies’ greatest assets and many brilliant organisations recognise this and demonstrate to their employees and candidates. Protecting your people needs to be more serious now but it’s likely always been a priority. Haven't you always been a health business?
“We used to say every business will be a digital business,” said Gianfranco Casati, Accenture’s chief executive for growth markets. “But today we say every business will be a health business."