As the economy gradually reopens across the nation, it’s time for businesses to assess how to bring their workforces back to full force. While the recent economic upheaval has been challenging for many companies—not to mention the uncertainty of this global health emergency—it has also presented an opportunity to review your current processes, make changes and grow stronger.

A Deloitte survey of over 600 companies across a variety of industries revealed that about a third of businesses had moved at least 20 percent of their workforce to under half capacity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some companies were still providing full pay to employees working at less than full capacity, but many were not. Workers may have been laid off, while others might have left if the situation became untenable.

While most businesses surveyed didn’t expect to return to normal operations by Q2 of 2020, many anticipated doing so by the third or fourth quarter of 2020. So what will a “return to normal” look like for most businesses, and will it be good enough for the next normal? Does it make sense to approach hiring the same way? How about the retention of employees, benefits administration and compliance?

Staying organized and polishing up on strategy are always recommended in times of change and upheaval. Here are five hiring and rehiring best practices we’ve gleaned from experience and research.

Procore Career Board

Hiring and rehiring best practices

Working remotely, shifting marketing methods or product offerings, and taking stock of budgetary excess has forced companies to look at where their operations are inefficient. It’s forced them to ask: Where are we getting snagged on time-consuming processes? Would it hurt to try doing this differently?

The burning questions for many construction and field service businesses that scaled back due to the pandemic will be these or similar ones:

  • Won’t it be easier to find and hire the right workers now that unemployment is so high?
  • Does it make sense to rehire employees who left voluntarily or who were laid off?
  • How can we engage in targeted, competitive hiring in this chaotic hiring market?

When to hire back former workers

Rehiring former workers can be tempting when looking to fill a position quickly. But there are both practical and legal pros and cons to welcoming back members of your team who were let go or left on their own. If you’re smart about it, you can approach the question practically and make the best decision on a case-by-case basis.

Seriously consider why potential “boomerang employees” left or were let go. Was performance a first or second factor in choosing to lay off certain employees? If the employee left voluntarily, was it purely for practical reasons—i.e. because you had to reduce their pay during the pandemic and they couldn’t afford to keep working for you, or because they were offered more money somewhere else?

If the employee was let go or left for financial reasons, it might be a great decision on both sides to welcome this person back, as they are already familiar with your company and culture and will not need training.Otherwise, if there was any history of dissatisfaction, or if letting them go didn’t involve some hand-wringing about how the loss would impact your business, then maybe they weren’t a great fit—and there are quite a few other fish in the sea.

Remember that happy workers are more productive. An Oxford University study released last year showed that workers who were happier made 13% more sales. This is a significant amount of added revenue. When considering bringing back someone who may not have been happy at your business, you should give this some thought.

Consider your future leadership possibilities. This is never easy to do when you have to hire hastily, but having openings to fill is an opportunity to pause for a moment and ask yourself: Do we have employees on our team who are well-groomed for future leadership? Was someone who left or was let go “the one that got away” who had great potential as a future leader? Or do we need to cast the net wider to make sure that we are creating strong leaders who can help our company thrive?If you do expect to rehire, make sure your company has a formal, legally vetted rehiring policy. For example, some companies draw the line at rehiring an employee who was laid off. Also remember that employees who received “final pay” before their employment was severed may necessitate new hire paperwork.

When adding new roles or employees to your team

Procore Career Board Sometimes change happens for a reason. Maybe it was time for a shakeup. If you decide that some of your employees were let go or left for reasons beyond necessity and practicality, or if your company needs to redefine the positions left vacant and possibly shift the pay scale, you might look at bringing on some new faces.

Here are a couple of essential best practices when positioning yourself to rehire in this uncertain climate.

Don’t assume that hiring great workers will be a breeze now. Just because the unemployment rate has increased significantly doesn’t mean that it will stay high for long, or that competition won’t be fierce among every company who slowed down or downsized to rehire the cream of the crop. And reaching top talent quickly can still be challenging, let alone impressing them in the hiring process so they want to join your business and not someone else’s.

Have you had any frustrations in recent months (or years) when hiring, such as feeling like you aren’t reaching and attracting the right audience, or that your business isn’t nimble enough in the hiring process to hold onto the best candidates?

Streamlining your hiring process with a proven Applicant Tracking System could help you fill the positions you need to fill now more efficiently and appropriately.

See the slow-down we’ve had as an opportunity to improve your workforce management and HR compliance process.  Onboarding is the brief but crucial window for getting employees started on the right footing. In this climate, you need top performance from every worker.

Do you feel your business is setting the right tone for optimal worker performance and success when onboarding? This is your chance to approach onboarding and employee development a little bit differently.

In these uncertain times—with stress running higher for many workers and their families—the last thing your business needs is a compliance issue or dispute surrounding your benefits management, hiring or labor tracking practices. A compliance aid in the form of automated Benefits Management software can ensure you are providing employees with the information they need, when they need it.

Free construction career board

When you’re ready to look for your next hire, target your search with the new Construction Career Board brought to you by Arcoro and Procore. This fully-functional, completely free job board for employers and employees is sure to quicken your search.