Organisational agility and adaptability has been critical in surviving the Covid pandemic. Now employers face a different test of their adaptability – assessing the desires of candidates, and how to respond to those desires, in a post-pandemic world.

It is a test that makes demands of an organisation’s recruitment strategy, branding and values, approach to benefits and the work/life balance. The importance of it cannot be understated. According to data collected by the online collaborative software Workplace from Facebook, 58 percent of UK employees said they would consider leaving their jobs if company leaders failed to show empathy to staff needs.

1 – It’s not all about money

Many businesses might assume that increasing starting salaries is enough. While it is certainly desirable for candidates and should never be ruled out, be careful that you aren’t also – literally – throwing money at your problems with a one-size-fits-all approach. Offering increased salary packages the defining solution for candidate concerns is also unhelpful for smaller businesses who may not have the resources to increase salaries off the back of the pandemic.

There are smarter, more substantive ways to use financial resources to address the needs of candidates and shore up the work/life balance. Benefits such as childcare arrangements, mental health initiatives, opportunities for training and improving skills will all contribute to the wellbeing of employees and make your organisation a more attractive, healthier and happier proposition for candidates.

Mental wellbeing in particular is an essential aspect of post-pandemic recovery. Even before the pandemic, work-related stress, depression or anxiety had been on the rise in the UK and Europe. It is important to make employees feel comfortable in speaking openly about their mental health and to create an environment where it is natural to do so. There are ways of fostering a general sense of wellbeing among staff which improves organisational values at limited financial cost, for HR leaders and employers to adopt.

One measure in particular is greater flexibility over working environments, which brings us to point two…

2 – Adaptability through flexibility

A late 2020 Gartner poll of HR leaders said that the most enduring change driven by COVID-19 in the workplace was the widespread adoption of hybrid or remote work. 90% of those surveyed said that they expect that employees will be allowed to continue working in a hybrid or entirely remote model. This has proved so. HR leaders must consider the critical skills and competencies that employees need to collaborate in increasingly digital environments and think about how these new models of working will affect assessments of employee performance. Does your organisation need to adopt new methods of upskilling and training? Does your organisation need to provide employees with sufficient hardware and software to carry out their responsibilities in a remote or hybrid work environment?

The potential gains for recruitment are huge. The UK-based Behavioural Insights Team conducted a field trial in collaboration with global job site Indeed, and found that job listings that promise the benefit of flexible working attract up to 30% more applicants than equivalent roles without flexible working. The promotion of hybrid and remote work models and the development of substantive benefits will all help regain a robust work/life balance and improve your employee value proposition. The candidate wins and the organisation wins.

3 – Examine your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Transparency and stability is key – it follows that after such an unstable period for society and the economy, that potential employees are more careful about where to place their next step.

A close examination of your employee value proposition will tell you if your organisation is one that appears desirable to candidates – because after the pandemic, those traditional values have shifted. Carolina Valencia, the VP of Gartner, says that there is too much focus on ‘what we give employees’ rather than ‘why.’

Candidates seek clear communication over the opportunities a role presents, but also the potential adversities that will arise – so avoid sugarcoating! Increasingly, organisations are being assessed for what they provide candidates in terms of personal and professional development, and as such, potential employees are more selective about the organisations they might work for. As Gartner have termed it, it is time to build a more ‘human-centric’ EVP.

Final Thoughts

The opportunities for personal and professional growth remain central to the desires of candidates, but in 2022, motivations are becoming more complicated.

Increasingly, employers must make a pitch on behalf of their organisations; to provide a good reason for employees to join them and to offer something for candidates to buy into that goes beyond financial reward. Communication of brand and organisational values is key. After two years of economic and social instability, we are at a point where employees want to feel the ground under their feet, with secure opportunities for self-improvement and a sense of common purpose with their employer.


Continental Search Alliance recruits for mid-level to C-suite executive positions from scalable startups to the world’s largest tech firms, combining tech and digital expertise with extensive reach across EMEA and APAC. 


Written by Tom Boughen for CSA.