Over the past decade, the war for talent has been ever-present. This is no different when times are challenging – every organisation needs the right people to adapt to unanticipated change and ensure business continuity.

Although it may seem sensible to focus on the payroll burden if revenue takes a hit, this short-term reaction may leave your organisation vulnerable. When the market comes back, having talent in the pipeline will be a strategic advantage.

This could also be an opportunity to make changes that may not have been possible before. As long as your company has the cash flow to keep operating, this is a unique window of opportunity to upgrade your talent pool. It also send a positive signal to the market. In times of uncertainty, confidence in your brand and its financial strength and strategy could be more attractive than the salary package for new hires.


Here are five ways to make a proactive recruitment plan:

- Get the basics right: Word of mouth matters with recruitment, and in time of crisis people ask for recommendations to make the right decisions. People are looking for employers they can trust, so make sure your people know they are your first priority. Freeing time in the operational rhythm may also give you a chance to onboard people in a more structure way. By co-ordinating all parts of the business, HR managers can think about how resources can best be allocated to make things happen more effectively.

- Differentiate between short-term setback and long-term change: Some industries are experiencing sever disruption to demand – such as travel, hospitality and logistics. Others are seeing new opportunities emerge as people change consumption habits – think eCommerce, food delivery and virtual working applications. Specific opportunities in your sector will shape the talent you need now, and in the longer term. For organisations that need to make hard decisions about staff numbers due to cash flow challenges, they should do whatever they can to retain their top talent.

- Size up your people: Use a scientific data approach to analyse every profile in the organisation to work out where your high potential talent is, and what new opportunities you could give them. “We work loosely with clients to assess their bench strength and succession programs, and help them make more objective hiring and firing decisions. If you have that data in place now, you will be ready to act when it becomes necessary,” notes Gladdy He.

- Consider new alternatives: Some organisations are now willing to take a risk on putting younger talent into their pipeline. This might be a “leap of faith” for organisations that have relied on a top heavy, experienced senior management layer in the past. You can also consider different recruitment processes and structures.

- Recruit for resilience: People need to be able to communicate effectively and authentically across digital channels, and manage their productivity remotely. Organisations are looking for people who can create new opportunities, rather than stay stuck in the old ways of thinking. A positive mentality could become more important than experience.


Recruitment is essentially a way to build new capabilities and enable strategic changes to business models and culture. Whether the recovery is U-shaped or V-shaped, you will need good people in place.


You can see the webinar here. In this webinar, Mike Distefano, discuss with Korn Ferry’s experts what organisations need to do in the areas of:

   - Leadership,

   - Employee Engagement,

   - Culture, 

   - Rewards and performance management,

   - Recruitment.


Next article will approach the adaptation to a “new normal”.

Download the Leaders’ Playbook here.

Communicated by Korn Ferry

Publié le 12 mai 2020