The bubble has burst and it’s not all bad

More than 10 years on from the global financial crisis of 2008, most companies were on the up and up. By 2019, the waste management and renewables industries were enjoying incremental growth. And with increasing global awareness of environmental and climate change issues, expertise was in demand. Additionally more funding and opportunities were opening up for products and services relating to recycling, clean energy and more sustainable business practices.

There was a great deal of talk about the climate crisis and the circular economy, workplace wellbeing and creating more opportunities for women and minorities that were previously disadvantaged. And then COVID-19 happened, resulting in national lockdowns and impacting everything. All the well-thought-out strategic growth plans went out the window as businesses fought to stay alive and navigate the new normal. Some businesses sadly didn’t survive, but those who did, have emerged stronger and wiser.

Now as the economy hesitantly opens up again, how can we take the lessons learned from 2020, to build back more resilient and sustainable businesses?

Exploring new possibilities with a remote workforce

For many companies the transition to working from home was a little bumpy. Not only did they have to equip staff with a home office set up, they also had to muddle their way through the challenges of managing teams remotely. Endless online meetings, countless family interruptions. Additionally, many companies were operating with much smaller teams having put most of their staff on furlough. By the end of 2020, most people had adapted, recognising the benefits of remote working. Companies found that the concerns over lowered productivity were unfounded. Instead studies showed that productivity had actually increased by 44%. Most importantly, what remote working did for companies was highlight the related possibilities and opportunities.

Benefits of adopting a more flexible corporate structure

You often hear managers talk about empowering employees to be able to simply get on with their work, and to be able to take ownership of their roles. Companies that have experimented with this have found it fosters better productivity and employee engagement. Yet many managers struggle to let go of the managing side. They feel that they’re not on top of things if they’re not constantly checking up on everyone. Remote working changed that, managers and employees had to adapt. And after realizing that Zoom fatigue really was a thing, they also acknowledged that there are real benefits to a flexible working environment. 9 to 5 is not essential if the work gets done, and the time saved not having to commute to work on a daily basis is a real benefit. In these stressful times employers have had to become more empathetic and those that have, are realising that it’s good for business.

Leveraging diversity to generate a competitive advantage

Remote working has opened up other opportunities that support diversity and inclusion. With almost everyone working from home, it really doesn’t matter if people are based in the same location or halfway around the world. Not being limited by geographical location is giving companies the opportunity to hire people with specific skill sets or expertise that they wouldn’t normally have access to. It also removes barriers such as visa or relocation costs and helps companies to look after their bottom line while gaining key expertise – a distinct advantage in current economic times.

Changing approaches to hiring

Traditional methods of hiring with in-person interviews often results in bias. The hirers are influenced by an applicant’s appearance or the way that they speak, and they make hiring decisions based on how they feel about the candidate rather than a candidate’s ability to fulfill the role successfully. With remote working becoming the norm, companies are now much more open to telephone and video interviews.

At WasteRecruit we find that companies are trusting our recruiting process to assess candidate’s skills and experience and provide evidence of suitability. It’s also much more efficient in terms of the amount of time companies have to dedicate to the recruitment process.

Hiring has become less about intuition and preconceived ideas about what type of person will be the best candidate. Instead, using an evidence based approach, companies have access to a broad range of expertise from diverse backgrounds. All candidates are put through an identical assessment and interview process. The shortlist that companies are presented with showcases people who are qualified in terms of skills, experience, and personality. In the end it results in a successful hire.

Throughout 2020, WasteRecruit has continued to support companies in their hiring efforts, helping them to become more efficient and placing people that add genuine value to the business because they are the right people for the role.  The new way of hiring is here to stay and there is much benefit to it.