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Hiring in a lockdown: What lessons have we learned from our China business?
With the lockdown having already been in place for several weeks, measures like working from home where possible and social distancing are becoming something of a new normal for many of us. Whilst the vast majority respect the necessity for these temporary measures, it is natural that thoughts are starting to turn to the UK’s lockdown exit strategy. Clearly, there will be a level of uncertainty over how this will play out, and what it will mean for everyone’s daily lives, including their working lives.
One of the many advantages of being part of the global PageGroup business is that we already have numerous learnings we can take from markets, particularly in Asia, which have not only been dealing with the outbreak for longer, but have also entered - and then exited - lockdown measures similar to those in place in the UK. Many of our markets in this region are already returning to good levels of activity. In China and Taiwan, 100% of our staff have now returned to being office-based, showing incredible resilience in the face of this unprecedented global emergency.
To discover some of the lessons that can be learned from how professionals in APAC have been dealing with the global pandemic, we spoke to Mark Tibbatts, Managing Director for PageGroup in China.
Without a doubt we will all remember this period for its challenges at home and at work - but it will come to an end, he begins. Here in China we’re already seeing glimpses of better days ahead.
These are some of the key learnings from his region:
Communication has been key
"One thing I’ve noticed is how much more we’ve all been communicating during these difficult times – we’ve been way more connected than normal, and it’s been great! It’s been extremely important not only in making business decisions, managing our operation and staying close to candidates and clients, but also vital for our mental health. China is a huge country and there are literally thousands of miles between our offices – but in recent weeks we’ve brought our dispersed team a lot closer together which has enhanced our impact both internally and externally.”
We have truly embraced technology and adapted processes
"Our ability to introduce and widely adopt new technology has been eye opening. In 10 weeks, we’ve embraced new ways of working and we now know so much more about how to work effectively remotely - something we’ll be able to harness in the coming years.
"In China, we’re seeing some businesses approach recruitment processes differently and fully embraced digital methods for hiring, such as video interviewing. Sectors such as retail, transport and logistics, social care, and call centres are all actively looking for workers.”
Standards, policies and training have been a big focus
"Once we were through some of the initial connectivity challenges it was clear that operating remotely required new skills from everyone. In China, we had few formal work from home policies and standards, our managers had never had to manage remote colleagues. As time progressed though, we got better and better, so we know that with the right approach – we can be more dynamic in the future.”
We have learned to trust more
"Because of the restrictions forced on us we’ve all had no choice but to trust each other more. Bridging the trust gap will enable us to really take advantage of opportunities in the future and we may all reflect on this period as one which helped us do that.”
Here in the UK, as in China, PageGroup is facing the challenges of the global pandemic head on – and are committed to helping you to do the same with your business. Across multiple sectors right now there are urgent talent gaps that need to be filled and we are adapting our operations to be able to support our clients with whatever types of roles they need our help with, however unusual they may be. Our consultants are available through email, landline, mobile, and video to assist you in all of your recruitment needs. To get in contact with us, please request a call back by clicking here.