Kevin Wheeler is somewhat of an authority when it comes to recruitment trends. For several decades, the Founder and President of The Future of Talent Institute has researched the future of work, talent acquisition and learning. Wheeler implements his wisdom by helping organisations and start-ups improve their recruitment and learning processes. Suffice to say: when Wheeler speaks about work and recruitment – you listen.
‘A catalyst for change’
In a recent newsletter, Wheeler talks about his strong belief that pretty much everything about recruitment, work and the workforce will change post-COVID-19. “Assuming a vaccine is at least a year from being available, how we work and how we live will have to change. The coronacrisis has presented us with the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and implement things we have thought about doing or wanted to do, but needed a catalyst to start.”
“The coronacrisis has presented us with the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and implement things we have thought about doing or wanted to do.”
In the working field, Wheeler expects mostly remote and virtual work to occur. Practically, it will consist of “perhaps an occasional get together with 3-10 fellow employees wearing masks and practicing as much social distancing as they can.” Wheeler expects constant testing of employees, with no one allowed at work with a cold, fever or other disease. The working environment will also see its fair share of adjustments. “Walls, doors or, at least, plexiglass partitions between each workstation. And touchless ID systems in place for both signing in and lunch breaks.”
The end of business travel
Wheeler expects that over 70% of business travel will completely cease, with opportunities for virtual reality (VR) on the horizon. “Only a handful of business people will travel and then only for significant meetings or for the inspection of a factory or the introduction of a product prototype where VR is not adequate.” With office buildings generally emptier than ever before, he sees an opportunity for the spaces to be reimagined and used as ‘safe spaces’ for meetings.
“Organisations will be smaller, flatter, and far more agile than they have been.”
With so many people working at home, Wheeler also predicts a decrease in managers within an organisation. “People working remotely probably don’t need them”, he says. “Tasks matched to specific skills will be the norm versus sets of tasks assigned to one individual. Organisations will be smaller, flatter, and far more agile than they have been. Lots of administrative overhead will disappear.”
Fewer permanent employees
The workforce we once knew will also start to look vastly different, if the overhaul hasn’t already occurred. In general, Wheeler expects organisations to employ far fewer permanent employees – with flexibility again a key-word. “Remote workforces will be made up out of temporary, part-time, or contracted labour that provides flexibility and in-depth skills when needed”, he says. That will also simply result in fewer recruiters, Wheeler writes, with instead organisations depending on RPO and agencies.
“This leads to an expansion to a truly global workforce, virtually tied together through technology.”
Both the location of the organisation and the workforce will also matter less for both parties, due to the fact that workers are now able work remotely. “This means an expansion to a truly global workforce, virtually tied together through technology”, he says. Wheeler also expects this to lead to more internal mobility. With organisations looking to promote from within, or look for current staff-members to take on different or multiple roles. “Part of an agile strategy is for people to take on more than one role and develop new skills as needed, which reduces the need for more external hiring.”
With fewer face-to-face interviews, Wheeler expects most screening and assessment to be automated. Whether it’s through virtual job tryouts, video interviewing, simulations or gaming. “Virtual reality, whose development and adoption will be accelerated, may also replace the face-to-face interview”, he writes. “Personality testing will be augmented with passive tools that use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to determine a person’s personality, emotions, and engagement.”
Wheeler also expects all hiring, onboarding and administrative work to be done virtually, through either automation or augmentation with technology. Background screening will certainly be automated according to Wheeler. “It will include 180 degree feedback tools and other ways to gather info on ability, skills and potential”, he says. The tools that are already able to do that, will now subsequently grow and be accepted.
With no coordinators, fewer managers or leads – it will lead to more distributed recruiting and competition.
Finally, Wheeler expects organisation recruitment to simply ‘change’. With no coordinators, fewer managers or leads – it will lead to more distributed recruiting and competition. Wheeler sees opportunity for 2 to 3 people to work the same requisition, and simply see who fills it first. “Flatter, smaller and more agile, and able to respond quickly by using an array of recruiters located everywhere and with varied skills.”