By Emmanuel Mutuma
As with the rest of the world, the impact of COVID-19 in Kenya has stretched beyond spheres of public health and actual spread of the virus. Economic development outcomes are expected to be seriously affected by the disruption.
In fact, one of the hypotheses of the impact of COVID-19 in Kenya, and the larger East African region, is its substantive impact on employment, more specifically, job losses. Since pronouncement of confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease in East Africa, at least one million jobs have been lost, according to official statistics.
Plans by organizations to hire more staff may have flown out the window, for now.
Or, conversely, some organizations might be having to hire more people than they ever had to before! Whichever the situation, one thing is certain; how organizations respond to this unprecedented pandemic will define their relationships with future hires, staff, and customers.
Thus, this is a good time to begin considering the human resources that they will need to drive innovation in mitigating impacts and to eventually sail out of the crisis. This will present many individuals with the chance to embark on new career paths and provide organizations with diverse knowledge and experiences.
The onus is on the organizations to identify and bring on board the right skill-sets and expertise for this. Perhaps nothing tests the leadership, vision and patience of human resources professionals, as well as business owners and managers as much as hiring the right employees.
This is due to limited options of candidates and overreliance on traditional methods of recruitment, which focus on academic excellence and qualifications as listed on CVs as the main criteria for hiring.
Consequently, employers have, time and again, ended up with individuals, who are brilliant on paper, but dismal in performance. This is coupled with challenging working conditions that have also, over time, exposed the lack of soft skills in many of the graduates from university and tertiary institutions.
One way to address such gaps in the hiring process, in order to get the best people, is through innovation. Career platform, BrighterMonday Kenya, has picked up these gaps in the recruitment process, following feedback from employers. This inspired development of an Assessment Tool for recruitment, which ensures a more comprehensive evaluation of all job applicants in addition to the normal job interviews, to identify the right hire.
The tool tests a candidate’s core competencies and hard skills required for a specific role, during the hiring process, beyond what is captured on their resumes. It is designed to enhance efficiency in the process of finding the best candidates by assessing candidates’ various skills and gives ranking their performance. This makes the hiring process more accurate.
The tool can also be customized for different job functions. On one hand, it benefits candidates by testing them for different core competencies and knowledge for specific jobs and tasks. Additionally, hiring managers can view a candidate’s scores alongside other filters like education and experience levels with the use of BrighterMonday’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a back-end filter that augments the Assessment Tool. In this way, they can compare candidates’ proficiency, qualifications, and experience levels, at a glance.
Such innovation is timely to maximize chances of getting it right with recruitment. One can only hope that this state of economic decline is temporary. That the world will once again return to needing flights, trains and cars for global and local transport, business and education facilities will be looking to get students and workers back up to speed, and the general public will be only too happy to enjoy the hospitality, retail and entertainment industries even more than before.
Thus, recruitment will be more important than ever before, reinstating jobs lost during the pandemic, and creating even more.
Recruitment is more important now than it has ever been. Organizations have to find ways to adapt quickly to the transformation that is underway. Talent is the lifeblood of a company. Without it, a business cannot hope to survive. The stronger the recruited talent, the better the future of the business.
The writer Emmanuel Mutuma is the CEO of BrighterMonday Kenya