How to Obtain and Retain Talent During a Pandemic


With the current pandemic, talent shortages, and economic uncertainty, many companies are left searching for more innovative ways of obtaining and retaining talent. In complement, the current crisis has also shed light on the significance of workplace culture and leadership — especially for companies who are finding themselves struggling to keep employees engaged and to reduce employee turnover. 

Accounting Today recently conducted a survey specifically asking firms how they have responded to the current pandemic in terms of their staff and day-to-day operations. Fortunately, it seems that most smaller firms have not been significantly affected by the pandemic; but rather, it’s the larger Top 100 firms that have had to experience major layoffs, and have therefore paused hiring.

With that being said, there is a decent pool of recent (or soon-to-be) graduates ready to be picked up by firms who are still recruiting. “At this point, it’s all about connecting with colleges that have a strong firm recruiting presence,” Karina Khadaran, PHR, SHRM-CP, a former Campus Recruiter at KPMG and current Marketing & Business Development Manager at UWorld Roger CPA, explains. “The most important thing to remember when recruiting is to directly communicate with the schools.  Find out what the school is doing now and how you can work with them.” It’s likely that schools have already been planning for virtual Meet the Firms events and utilizing online tools that allow for resume drops or virtual career fairs.

Jeanniey Mullen, Chief Innovation Officer at DailyPay, highlights the importance of digital technology to manage communications, productivity, and recruitment. “ Industries need to immediately shift to a heavy reliance on digital for all aspects from recruitment, interview, onboarding and even termination pay,” Mullen explains. “The use of digital job boards has become more popular … Anticipating a re-emergence after the global health crisis calms down, we’re not only focused on today, but hiring for tomorrow.”

In terms of retaining talent during these uncertain times, large and small companies alike are putting their employees first, with a main focus on flexibility and engagement.

Lack of job flexibility is hands-down one of the most consequential reasons why employees leave a company. Recent Gallup research found that roughly 54% of office workers would leave their current job for one that allows them to have more flexibility, with companies who allow remote work seeing a  25% lower employee turnover rate compared to those who don’t. Another study confirms, finding that 74% of employees would be willing to quit their job for another if it offered more flexibility. Especially with the closings of schools and child care centers, many people are finding that their typical work days are no longer as practical as they used to be. suggests that managers should allow their employees to set their own hours, as it is one of the “simplest and most practical ways to reduce stress and even increase productivity during this time.”

While great management is a must, employee engagement research has found that employees’ mindsets can actually matter more than having a great manager. It is important to note, however, that positive, resilient mindsets are validated by those in leadership positions. For example, when working remotely, it’s much more difficult for employees to feel validated. To combat this, managers should make an effort to make their employees feel special and valued by promoting positivity and productivity. This can be done via virtual activities such as virtual happy hours, mindfulness workshops, or other unique activities (like virtual tiny campfires or spreadsheet pixel art competitions).

We hope you found these recruitment tips to be helpful — and if you’ve been successful in obtaining top talent, make sure you have a structured training and/or onboarding experience in place to ensure you retain your top talent. Learn how to virtually train and onboard interns in our recent article, “How to Train and Onboard Interns and New Hires Virtually.”

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