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Hiring for impact: An unparalleled opportunity for Australian businesses

June 29, 2020

Believe it or not, Australia has not stopped hiring.


Many organisations are avoiding hiring freezes and continuing to hire. Some organisations are scaling up and rapidly, while others are using this time to handpick the best talent out of the market in preparation for the upswing.

But, some of the very best of the bunch are hiring because they know it’s good for their company, good for the economy, and great for society. It is actions like these that will help our economy recover faster.

 


There is no doubt about it. We are moving through an era of shifting workplace environments and significant economic change.

For many Australian companies, COVID-19 created an ambiguous landscape and incredible volatility. It has also placed immense strain on industries, societies and individuals. Many of the organisational leaders I speak with are in full swing, implementing the strategies that will steer their ships through these choppy economic waters. Each leader’s response is as unique as the company they lead.

For those organisations that can, this is a vital time to hire. By pulling more people out of unemployment; this is how we can heal our economy faster.

Now, this isn’t for everyone. Some businesses are facing challenges too high, with some being forced to downsize. Even some major industries and sectors are disintegrating, which is why the companies and organisations who are thriving must act in a way that works toward keeping the Australian economy developing and growing.

If we look through the time machine of the bygone past, we will see history points us in the direction of how we might do this, and it is rather simple. Keep hiring and lifting people out of unemployment. Those of us who can hire should continue to do so.

The visionary organisations and leaders acting in this way will fuel the fire for post-pandemic recovery, inspiring other businesses and industries to follow suit. With more people unemployed presently than our recent history has ever seen, the availability of versatile and robust talent is ripe for the picking. Working to hire great people now could be the opportunity that sets your company apart in the future. We must do the groundwork for rehabilitation.

 

 


Companies that continued to hire through the GFC came out best.


Economic hardship has knocked on our door before. While the temptation to instate company-wide-hiring-freezes may seem productive, that kind of all-or-nothing thinking resulted in hardship, talent bottlenecks and a delayed return to growth. What we know looking throughout history is that the consistent willingness to invest in talent no matter the current economic climate is often the determining factor of future success.

It’s easy for companies to make the mistake of putting a pause on hiring in economic downturns, and unfortunately, this is a mistake made too often. When hard times hit, we tend to forget about our long-term goals and focus instead on the moment at hand. But this has proven time again to be an ineffective tactic for further growth.

Evidence of this can be seen in the lessons learnt during the 2008 GFC. BCG and the European Association of People Management surveyed 3,400 executives at this time, finding that the most likely action for organisations to take was to scale back hiring and recruitment. Despite this, many survey participants agreed that selective hiring of high-performing individuals was considered one of the most effective strategies in staying afloat during a crisis.

Likewise, a study completed by Harvard Business School of the last three recessions echoed similar findings. In an analysis of 4,700 companies, 9% of those were able to come out of these periods stronger, directly relating to the forward-thinking approach. These companies became more selective in their recruitment process rather than battening down the hatches; their crucial point of difference was how they hired people. They viewed people as an investment, and by doing so, they were able to alter their path in the face of recession, finding success.

In Australia, similarly, during the recession, organisations reported that hiring freezes had a long-term negative impact on their ability to acquire top talent. It was discovered that often the most crucial talent comes to the market in an economic downturn. And, those who could see the opportunity in this have always been able to capitalise.

 

 

 

Hire now because it’s good for your company, good for the economy and good for society.


There is no shortage of successful people who speak about the importance of learning from the past to find success in the present, and growth in the future. The learnings we can take from the GFC present an excellent case for the continuance of hiring, even in economic slumps.

For companies with the capital to do so, hiring is the key to future success and also offers companies the opportunity to own their corporate responsibility, to show up for the Australian community and help our economy heal.

 

 

“I am proud to see so many leaders continuing to hire. I am proud that so many organisations recognise this as their opportunity to contribute to the defence of our economy and ensure we eventually sail into an economic upcycle with more Australians in jobs and the wind in our sails once again.”

– Liz Kingston, Founder and Executive Director

 

 

Big businesses and companies know that both community and business benefits from keeping people employed. Successful industry leaders recognise the importance of protecting the economy as a means of protecting the people. For organisations that are in the position to hire for future success, now is the time to do so.

 

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