Hiring and Retaining Employees During a Pandemic

With state orders constantly changing, and a fear of a potential “second wave”, the future is still so uncertain. Every company will continue to make their own business decisions as time goes on, but the safety and well-being of employees should always remain top of mind. To prepare for the weeks and months ahead, it’s helpful to clearly understand what employees want/need right now, while staying up-to-date on the constant changes to the labor market and hiring trends during this time.

Before the pandemic, we were experiencing historically low unemployment rates in a candidate driven market. Because of this, companies were already used to offering top-notch benefits to lure in and/or retain great employees. However, it’s important to note that employees’ priorities have drastically changed.

Here are some of the perks employees want/need right now that will help your company retain or attract employees during this pandemic:

Safety: Most important! Promise and ensure safety, making their health a priority. Employees need to feel safe at work, or feel safe to start a new job in general. This means more than just providing easy access to masks, creating ground markers and barriers between office spaces, and administering daily temperature checks. If able, let employees stay home until they are ready/feel safe to return to the office on their own terms. 

Flexibility and Trust: Allow flexible work hours to deal with personal matters, and allow employees to continue working from home to deal with these matters if possible. Change your expectations as necessary. Some companies have stopped tracking PTO, trusting their employees will get their work done by the given deadline.

Family-friendly Perks: Again, flexibility. Offering more days of family leave or a flexible work schedule to provide for children is huge during these times. Find and share virtual entertainment or educational material for your employees’ children to enjoy during work hours. Instead of the office snacks you once provided, consider covering food delivery fees. (a generous and creative perk for all employees, not just parents!)

Sympathy, Support and Workplace Wellness: Make mental health a priority. Wellness webinars would be a great perk employees would appreciate. Always be present and supportive, as all emotions are heightened right now.

Appreciation: Continue to show immense appreciation not only to employees in the office, but remote employees as well for all of their hard work. Genuine appreciation is FREE and is easily overlooked or forgotten. 

Your company brand will shine if you treat your employees well, especially through the hardest times. Continue to adapt and switch gears when needed while focusing on keeping your employees happy and healthy.


Due to the drastic change in the unemployment rate, the quality of the labor pool is significantly better than it has been in a long time. In addition to the millions out of work, many employed individuals are simply not impressed with how their current employer handled this crisis, leaving them totally disengaged and applying elsewhere, too. And if you removed all geographic barriers and are now allowing remote workers from all over the country apply to your open positions, you’re probably drowning in applicants.

Although this may sound like a great problem to have, it’s insanely time consuming sorting through all of those resumes and narrowing down your options to find the perfect candidate. Between having to make constant changes to meet the newest state regulations and coordinating projects between in office and remote workers, there is hardly any time left for you to focus on pinpointing the next new hire your team desperately needs.

You’ll need some help speeding up your hiring process before the best candidate lands a job elsewhere. The staffing industry thrives on flexibility and creativity, which are key factors to survive during these chaotic times. We are always working with talented and qualified candidates who we have already interviewed and tested, and we are always prepared to quickly handle the sourcing and recruiting processes for you. Let us know how we can help.