April 14th 2020
By: André Durivage

HR word: Assessment After

Everybody agrees that the current situation will have an impact on the way we will do things in the future. HR, and more specifically “Assessment & recruitment” is no exception. But what can we expect in the short term? Here are some thoughts:

The magnitude of the changes will depend on our ability to keep things moving during the crisis. If it is limited to three or four months and the Government maintains our economy afloat, we should expect some changes that will not fundamentally modify the way we are doing things but that will likely have a permanent impact on the way we do HR, including assessment and recruitment:

  • The practice of doing assessment on site (including individual and group interviews) will decrease tremendously. Organizations do not want to face the same challenges twice and online testing will become the norm.
  • Telework will become more and more frequent. However, not everybody is suited for that type of work. Assessments geared at identifying those who are well suited for this type of environment will be more common. Identifying the challenges of those who will do teleworking will also help organizations putting in place HR programs that will minimize these difficulties.
  • We should see an increase in demand in some areas. For instance, we should expect that the shortage in the IT area will be even more acute. Applications necessary to sustain telework and doing business remotely will require more and more programmers. At the same time, more people will be needed in the Health sector. In other words, the staff shortage that was the norm in the past decade will likely increase in the years to come.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the economy will mean that some enterprises will face financial problems and will either have to close their doors or to release some of their employees. Similarly, it is expected that Governments will decrease their level of hiring once the worst of the crisis is over. In other words, this means that jobs will be cut, that massive recruitments will slow down and that many people will have to reorient their careers in order to reintegrate the workforce. Assessing people for their career interests and helping them acquire new skills will be on the rise.
  • The reliance of our economy on international production of goods will likely decrease. This means that there will be a need for more qualified labor in the manufacturing area. The current shortage of employees in this sector will probably increase. Assessing people for their capacity to fill these positions will be necessary, mostly for people reorienting their career.
  • The pressure on management will increase exponentially. Managers will need to maintain production, engagement and motivation even though organizations will likely reduce their workforce and more people will work from their home. Quite a challenge. Assessing managers on their leadership abilities will be essential in order to choose the right people for management positions and to help those in place improve their capacity to lead.

No matter what the outcome of the crisis, we will no longer approach work in the same way. The era of virtual communication in companies has just taken off at high speed. A challenge? Perhaps. In any case, certainly an opportunity.

André Durivage, Ph.D.

President, EPSI inc.
Professor UQO