How Are You Adapting to Remote?

COVID-19 is a bitch for business, but it's making us adopt and evolve faster.


Protect Your Brand is a Limited Podcast Series. The Chad & Cheese call on a real cast of experienced characters including Gerry Crispin, Principal & Co-Founder of CareerXRoads, Deb Andrychuk, VP of Client Services with Shaker Recruitment Marketing and Steven Rothberg, Founder and President of CollegeRecruiter.com.to answer the questions employers should be asking themselves.


Lead question: How should large employers adapt their hiring of students and grads if those employees cannot work remotely?


Support provided by our friends at Shaker Recruitment Marketing - COVID might keep us at home but it won't keep us quiet!

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Intro:

Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel:

Hey, what's up everybody? I'm Joel Cheesman and I, as usual, are joined by my esteemed cohost-

Chad:

What's up?

Joel:

Sowash. What's up, Chad? Good to see you. We are also joined today by Gerry Crispin.

Gerry:

Hey.

Joel:

Recruiting soothsayer. I guess that's your official title now [crosstalk 00:00:46] Deb from Shaker, Steven from College Recruiter. Welcome guys. We're talking college recruitment, internships, all that good stuff today. I'm going to start with the first question here with ... This one's for Deb. Deb, how should large employers adapt their hiring of students and grads if those employees cannot work remotely?

Deb:

So I believe that if your students cannot work remotely, or new grads. A, unless you're in healthcare, or hospitality, restaurant work, whatever, your business continuity person should probably be fired, or you need to hire one. Because when you think about it, I mean, even our company, we were thinking about risks long before COVID hit. So, kudos to our team and our IT folks who recognize that something could happen and they put a plan in place long ago. And voila, and we were actually able to roll it out this year.

Deb:

But I mean, that's the first thing is I think, the readiness piece. If you're not ready, you better pivot as fast as you can. You better get a team together and get going. If it is indeed some type of role where it's hands on and you have to bring people in, then I think, man, that's just ... That's going to be tough. Because we still are going to need to social distance, you're going to have to supply PPE, you're going to have to be deep cleaning stations every night.

Deb:

You're probably going to have to scale back the number of students or new grads that you can bring in at a time, or you're going to have to get really crafty about scheduling. So maybe it's staggered starts, maybe some people are during the day, some are at night, some are on the weekends, and ... Which is going to mean for folks that are supplying the training, they're going to sacrifice some. Not going to be fun.

Joel:

Yeah. And I guess it's interesting, to think ... So you mentioned healthcare, restaurant. I mean, there's certain jobs that you can't do-

Chad:

Essential.

Joel:

Virtually right? Essential jobs. But even past that, I mean, the Peace Corps, I don't ... Jobs, association charities around the world, construction jobs, these aren't virtual jobs. So I think maybe the first element is who does that include? And if you think about it, it includes a lot of people.

Gerry:

It includes a lot of people, a lot more than most people think. We think, "Oh, okay. IT folks can figure out how to do development work independently." Yes they can. But there's an awful lot of other kinds of engineers besides software engineers, and they're working on materials that you can't have at home for the most part. And so all of the things that Deb just talked about are going to have to be rethought in terms of the physicality of where they're going to be. That's one issue.

Gerry:

And I think it's probably the biggest issue with one exception. I think spouses, significant others, parents, particularly as we ... As it relates to college kids, are going to start weighing in very quickly on where their kids are going to be going to work if they physically have to go do that. And that, I think, the influence of others, if you will, I think is going to have a bigger weight.

Joel:

That's right.

Gerry:

If my son or daughter were thinking about going to some crazy company that wasn't doing all of the things that Deb itemized, and sharing that well in a way that I could understand, I would be a much more pain in the ass father than I would otherwise.

Joel:

Well, Gerry, Gerry we've had helicopter parents for a while now, right? So I think what you're saying is we're going to have those same types of parents, but they're going to be layered in with even more criteria-

Gerry:

Parachuting in, is what I'd be doing. Forget that helicopter stuff, I'd be jumping up and down on whoever it was that was out there. It just, it would be a natural issue. Because I, obviously, this is a life and death for some people.

Joel:

Steven, you've heard the helicopter parent piece before.

Steven:

Yeah. Since 1990. Yeah.

Joel:

Yeah, so I mean, so kind of rebounding off of that. How does this actually morph into something different from that aspect of making the decision?

Steven:

Yeah, I do think that there's going to be significantly increased pressure on employers to adapt, in the short term, the employment that these early careers people are doing. So for example, I'm 54, my brother-in-law's a little bit older than I am, one of my brothers in law. And he is the Safety Engineer who runs the store, in charge of safety for a gas production facility. You can't do that from home.

Steven:

But if he had, and I don't know if he does or not, but if he had an intern that was going to be working side by side with him this summer, I bet you anything that that intern would be given different work. So even though the facility is ... And my brother in law's job would be essential. He would have to be on site every day. It doesn't mean that that intern who was going to be onsite needs to be. And it might be that that intern four days a week can be doing work remotely, and one day a week be at the facility. And if you do that with everybody, now you've reduced onsite head count by 80%. And then you can get that social distancing much more easily. So you might be able to break up the work. And for the next couple of months, maybe the next six months, you look for work that these people can do that is more remote and not bring them on site. To build off of- [crosstalk 00:07:04] Go for it, yeah.

Joel:

Do any of you see geography as a variable here? So think of the military, right? We don't just send people to Afghanistan or war zones. We send them to bootcamp, which is a safe environment that they're not going to get shot, hopefully. I mean, could a company New York say, "No way in hell are we going to bring people to New York City with the current state of COVID-19, but we're going to open somewhere in Boise, Idaho, or somewhere in Montana where it's almost a non-threat. [crosstalk 00:07:37]

Steven:

Some of the sporting leagues are talking about doing that, right? Major league baseball is talking about basically having all of the season played as if it's Grapefruit in Cactus League. So all of the games are going to be in the Phoenix Metro and all over Florida. I'm sure the baseball players are super excited about playing in Phoenix, 120 degrees, a double header, day, after day, after day. That's ... I'm sure they're super excited about that. [crosstalk 00:08:11].

Steven:

But to answer your question, Joel, one of the things that some of these larger employers do is provide housing for interns. That housing is typically college dorms. Colleges are closed, there are no dorms. How do you bring in ... Some of these companies have 200 interns. And they'll basically, they'll take over a dorm building at UCLA or whatever. How do you house 200 people? You can't. If you're not going to do it in a dorm, and if you defer the start of the internship program until it's reasonably safe to do that, and it's October and that student's going to school now in Philadelphia, how does that work? So, yeah, I really think that adaptation is important, and that remote-

Gerry:

A lot of hotels have vacancies, a lot of hotels will take them.

Steven:

Yeah, but what's the liability for the employer too, right? I mean, if I'm Deb's intern and Deb says, "Hey, you got to come and live here in Chicago and you're going to go stay at XYZ hotel," and I get sick, who's liable for that? Right now, it's really unclear.

Gerry:

And what does a company after to make sure if they're sued that they did require masks, that they did require hand washing, that they did require all these things? That's something companies will have to take in consideration as well.

Steven:

Yeah, I mean if my choice is getting fired or getting sick, I think there's significant liability there. And I, quite frankly, I think it's only a matter of maybe a couple of weeks before there's a law passed that absolves employers of that liability.

Gerry:

Let's hope not.

Steven:

So that cost is going to get shifted to employees.

Gerry:

No, not at all. There's enough laws on the books to protect employers who do the right thing. And there's enough lawyers making money right now, advising their companies on every freaking benefit that you can possibly imagine, and the work arounds around that in terms of what they've got to do. I've been on some of those calls and fallen asleep. So it's no question that that's going on all day, every day, and trying to remind every HR person how to do all of this kind of stuff. I got to tell you, that's going.

Gerry:

But I don't think it's the interns that we have to think about. Because I agree with you, I think most interns are on the virtual approach at this point, and there's very few differences. But the early hires, that's going to be really, I think an interesting issue. Because obviously they will be moving someplace new for the first time, and the kind of concierge stuff that you would give to an executive you're probably going to be needing to do for those early hires because they're clueless, and you just don't want them wandering around every neighborhood looking for an apartment, or someone that they can bunk in with, I'm just saying.

Steven:

Yeah. Something that we're seeing with a lot of employers, whether it's interns or the new grads, is a lot more project based work. As difficult as it is to adapt the work for somebody so that they can do it remotely, I think it's just as difficult for the management of that work to be adapted. Managers often manage by process. Are you at your desk by 8:30? Were you until 5:00? Did you make so many sales calls? Whatever.

Steven:

And I think that we're going to see who the good managers actually are, it's going to be a lot easier. Because we're going to see outcomes. Did you actually hit your sales goals? Not meaning number of phone calls, but dollars. They need-

Gerry:

They're constrained, some of those managers. Because they are managing by visual inspection if you will, rather than by performance metrics. And the truth of the matter is if they really are doing it the old fashioned way, they're not going to appeal a hell of a lot to the interns who will want to then work there full time, to be sure.

Joel:

And they never really have. I mean, I think in many cases we've taken a look at the job market, and when there weren't that many jobs, you got really good talent even with shitty jobs, right? But you weren't going to retain them when it flipped. And I think that's one of the things that smart employers learned, and I agree 100%, Gerry is ... And I think this is more leaning toward the leadership than it is management.

Joel:

Because if you're a good leader, you understand all those different aspects of that individual so that you can motivate them to be able to hit that goal. They don't need to make as many calls. They don't need to be on the phone as long, because they're actually hitting their goals. But back to the remote piece of this, I've actually been on calls where some companies sent their employees home with personal computers, not laptops, actual monitors and CPUs-

Gerry:

Gateway computers.

Joel:

Yeah. And so we were so ill prepared for this. My big question is moving forward, do you feel like we've... Anyone, Deb. Deb, do you feel like we've learned our lesson?

Deb:

I think so. I think companies are really recognizing, like I said, I mean if you don't have a business continuity plan, or somebody in charge of that. If you're a large company, I bet you will after this is over, you're getting one right now in place. And I also think that, to Gerry's point, I think companies are starting to recognize that they need to back up just a little bit and realize that people are at home, and when you look at that age range, a lot of those new hires, those new grads, a lot of those ... I mean, those ... They're living at home right now. And so, I mean, I know families that have kids who are four and five years old, but they've got all the way up to grandma, who's 93, living under the same roof.

Deb:

So there's a lot going on, and I think that companies are really starting to understand that we've got to be more flexible. We have to be more understanding. And to Gerry's point, let's look at the outcome and I think assigning work and then letting the person go and have a specific amount of time to get it done, whenever they get it done, who cares as long as they produce the work? I think that is a better indication of whether or not somebody can be successful than if I can hammer out 65 calls in a day. I mean, you and I both have lived that nightmare.

Gerry:

What's going to be important though, for those managers to learn how to ask the people that work for them, "What can I do for you? Tell me a little bit how you're feeling. Tell me a little bit about your family."

Deb:

Yeah, I think you're hitting on something that's ... Yeah.

Gerry:

Some of that kind of stuff is not useful for most H ... Most managers out there don't think of those kinds of things, they want to just deal with the work. But if you look at what's happening right now, that's impacting our society, is more and more people are first asking each other, "How are you? How is your family? How are you managing?" And before we get to work, assuming that you've got the motivation to go get the work done, dealing with the anxiety, the fears, et cetera, is going to be, I think, a permanent part of how better managers will manage.

Joel:

But we're in crisis now. And that's ... I mean, everybody kind of is hyper focused on, "How are you doing?" And what I'm hearing from you, Gerry, is you feel like that's going to roll over. That were really ... Because managers really didn't give a shit before. You think that they're going to care, moving forward? That's a big evolution.

Gerry:

I would like to create the world that I would like to live in. So I admit-

Joel:

That's a fun world, baby.

Gerry:

That maybe I might be overreaching, and I've been told on occasion that we could revert back to bad behaviors, lousy candidate experience, and a lot of other kinds of things. So I do think that the critical component as to which way we fall is really how long this all works. It's been two months. And if you look at the Great Depression a hundred years ago, that was 10 years. God help us all if it's the same here.

Gerry:

So the point is I would hope that it's a much shorter period of time, in the terms of months, but if it gets to be eight, nine months, even a year, I will tell you, it will change the weighting on what we value by a huge margin. We still have ... We'll still put a lot of values up there. I need money, I need this, I need that. But I will tell you that, yeah, the shift as to what's most important will revert to security, safety, et cetera.

Chad:

Hey Steven?

Steven:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)?

Chad:

Actually, maybe for anybody. But I'm curious because we sit, communities sit outside their homes at 7:00 and they clap and bang pots and pans for essential workers, which more or less means healthcare workers. Are you seeing an influx of nursing resumes? Are people looking for nursing opportunities? Deb, are you seeing healthcare facilities that you work with see an influx of people that want to be nurses from this time period, or no?

Deb:

Actually, I have not seen an influx of folks jumping at the opportunity. I've seen the opposite with a lot of my ... I have a lot of girlfriends who are nurses who told me flat out, "I am so glad that what I do is attached to elective surgeries, and so I'm not a part of this right now." I've had a couple friends say that they were called upon to volunteer and jump in, and they did it, but they didn't want to. And they were scared. And I think when you look at how many people have died, and especially how many people in

our country are immunocompromised. And I mean, the littlest things could make you susceptible.

Chad:

So that has not been good recruitment marketing from your perspective? The entire community clapping.

Deb:

And it's funny because everyone thinks that if you are a healthcare organization, that you are just killing it right now and hiring everyone. But the truth is, is that many of these health systems are furloughing people because of the fact that maybe in their community, COVID, hasn't been overwhelming their system. And so they don't need the nurses because they're not doing the elective surgeries. But that's starting to come back now, so I think it'll turn. But I've seen a lot of our clients who are in healthcare do furloughs just in the last, I'd say three, four weeks.

Joel:

I do think that that clapping is impacting the 10 year old, the 12 year old, the 14 year old. I think ... I do think that it has an impact. And I think it's a longer term impact in terms of the kinds of careers that actually make a difference, and the kind of people that do that. And I do think from Deb's point of view, there's the folks who are not risk ... Who are a little bit more risk averse. And there are plenty of folks who got in to it not to be risk averse, but to live up to some imagined view of how this impacts the world.

Joel:

We had Intermountain Healthcare, which is a large healthcare system in Utah, literally sent a plane load, 130 doctors and nurses to New York City to go direct to the New York Presbyterian Hospital at the worst time, when they were overloaded. And they showed up. That's not a small number of folks who suddenly volunteer to put themselves in a life or death situation. So there's some interesting stuff out there that I think inspires, if you will, another generation of folks who talk about showing up when it gets ... When it's important.

Steven:

Yeah, Joel, to kind of go back to what you were thinking. I'm not seeing a huge shift other than for people searching remote. So our site and some others, if you type in the word word, remote, it'll come up with home-based, work from home, telecommute, whatever, different synonyms for that. And that's not all that uncommon anymore, where the job boards are able to do a pretty decent job of identifying those jobs. So that's a big difference, but I think this is really, really different than after 9/11.

Steven:

After 9/11, you saw people who never would have joined the military enlisting. After Pearl Harbor, same sort of thing. And I think people could see at that moment that this was a strategic problem that we had. And so changing your career trajectory made sense. We were going to have this situation for years. I don't think that most Americans think that this is a problem we're going to have for years. I think that most Americans are fooling themselves and thinking that this is a problem we're going to have for weeks, maybe a few months.

Steven:

I mean, we're all in our own little bubbles, but I've been fascinated in reading articles about how liberals and conservatives view all of this very differently, and on how people in rural areas view this very differently than urban areas. I really don't think that most people see that this is going to be something that we're going to be living under some kind of lock down for months, and months, and months.

Steven:

And so I don't think you would switch out of being an accountant and go into nursing. Because by the time you graduate from a nursing program, this is ancient history. But enlisting in the military after 9/11, that absolutely made sense because you knew that by the time you got out of bootcamp, we were going to be in a shooting war.

Joel:

Interesting.

Deb:

And it depends on if you're ... I think it depends too if you've been impacted personally. If you've known someone who has had COVID or had ... Or God forbid has died from COVID. I think that has a lot to do with your viewpoint.

Gerry:

Which suggests that there is a change coming.

Deb:

Absolutely.

Gerry:

As a more changes-

Steven:

As more people who aren't just positive, but who actually are sick. Those are two different things. As we all get to know more people, those changes will become more personal. I see a lot of people saying, "I don't know anybody who's sick. I don't think this is a big deal." And then when your cousin, or your brother, or you get sick, all of a sudden it becomes a big deal.

Joel:

And that is going to be a problem with some companies in protecting their brand, but we're going to go ahead. We're going to wrap this up. Don't forget to check out our discussion segments, this is one of four. It'll be posted at ChadAndCheese.com, probably over at Shaker, College Recruiter, Gerry's going to be giving them out at Christmas. We really appreciate you guys and we'll see you next time. Until-

Chad:

That's as bad Santa, right there.

Joel:

We out.

Chad:

We out.

Outro:

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