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The Top Recruiting Moments of 2020

Source | | Bruce Anderson

2020. It’s the year whose very numbers suggest perfect vision. But no one saw this coming. Pandemic. Global protests against systemic racism. A cratering economy. An acrimonious U.S. presidential election. (OK, maybe we saw that coming.)

The year was particularly tumultuous for recruiters, many of whom lost their jobs as their companies paused hiring or even laid off workers. But it was also historic and, at times, exhilarating as recruiters pivoted to remote hiring and internal mobility, a more intense focus on diversity and inclusion, and the need to find the workers for hospitals, disaster relief organizations, and even ventilator manufacturers (pictured above is a box with some of the first ventilators assembled at GM’s plant in Kokomo, Indiana).

Few will be sad to say goodbye to 2020 but before we do, let’s take a quick look back at the most memorable developments:

1. Businesses embrace the move to remote work

 Almost overnight, countless millions of employees around the world began working from home early in the year. And they hardly missed a beat. With impressive agility, this home-based workforce tapped into personal technology and improved digital connectivity to keep the global economy going. Soon, a parade of companies — including SiemensTwitterNationwideHitachi, and the State Bank of India — announced that many if not all of their employees would be allowed to work from home indefinitely. 

WFH is not without its challenges — for talent acquisition professionals, remote work brings videoconferencing interviews, online recruiting events, and virtual onboarding. To address these challenges and more, a number of companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and GitLabcreated positions for heads of remote work. The workplace will never look the same. (Tee up the kids and the golden doodle running through your Zoom meeting.)

2. Companies step up their focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity

In the wake of sustained police violence against Black people and worldwide protests against systemic racism, corporate America took a hard look at itself and didn’t like everything it saw. Most companies issued a statement of solidarity, and many made public commitments to changeNASCAR banned Confederate flags from its events and the NFL’s Washington team dropped the use of Redskins as a mascot. Collectively, companies pledged over US$1 billion in money and other resources to fight racism and support Black Americans as well as other members of underrepresented groups. 

A number of companies, including AppleCoca-Cola, and Estée Lauder, committed to spending more with Black-owned businesses. Most significantly, perhaps, many organizations were very specific about how much they will diversify their workforces. For example, Microsoft pledged to double the number of Black “people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025”; Facebook promised to double its number of Black and Latino employees by 2023 and to increase its number of Black leaders by 30% over the next five years; and PepsiCo said it will increase the number of Black managers by 30% by 2025 and add a minimum of 100 Black employees to its executive ranks. Recruiters, of course, will be absolutely critical to any of these ambitions becoming reality.

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