Formerly busy streets have been deserted, conference rooms remain empty, and workers all across America continue to adjust to a different kind of business day. There’s absolutely no question that the novel coronavirus has changed the world as we once knew completely upside-down.
After more than 50 days of self-isolation and social distancing, several states have begun lifting their shelter-in-place orders and rolling out individual plans to reopen their economies. Although the strategies seem to change daily, it appears that many will unfold in phases, which means it still could be months before we see any semblance of normalcy.
If COVID-19 has negatively impacted your staffing agency, know that you are certainly not alone. Sadly, many companies (both large and small) have had to furlough employees while others have lost significant contracts. We recognize that your calendar may have a lot more free space than it had only a matter of weeks ago, so we’ve compiled a list of activities that you can work on now to endure this period of uncertainty:
Personal Branding & Networking
- Improve your LinkedIn Profile – Often, the professional networking platform is the first place people visit when looking for talent or searching for a new job opportunity. Increase your chances of being found by the right person by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
- Participate in networking – There may not be many in-person networking events happening given the nature of the situation, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with others. Look to LinkedIn and other social networks to grow your network.
- Author a personal blog – There are dozens of benefits to creating a personal brand, including earning trust, gaining authority and developing an “always-on” funnel of opportunities. Spend this extra time by building your voice and showcasing your expertise on a personal blog.
- Explore other marketing channels – Anyone marketing a business in today’s digital world knows that marketing plans are always evolving. If you’ve been hoping to add another channel to your strategy, such as creating a podcast or developing videos, there’s never been a better chance to get your feet wet.
- Reach out to clients, candidates and contracts to check-in – Chances are you are not the only one in your network feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus. Take a moment to check in with all of your contacts to see how everything is going. Remember to keep the current economic state top of mind, by focusing on providing helpful resources rather than selling.
- Participate in outreach to thought leaders and authorities – Right now, it seems everyone is determined to help out during this time of need. Consider reaching out to thought leaders and other authority figures to learn more about their current take on the industry and any other feedback they may have garnered during this unpredictable time.
- Focus on community development – Times of crisis hold the most opportunity to make direct connections in your community. If there is a certain area that holds a special place in your heart, volunteer to lend a helping hand during this time of need. If you are one of the lucky few who has not lost business due to the pandemic, you may want to consider participating in charitable giving.
- Create COVID-19 resources – After connecting with clients and candidates, you will likely notice patterns in their situations. Use these insights to develop COVID-19 specific guides or other practical resources to help others navigate through this challenging period. After all, too much information doesn’t exist in a time like now.
- Create a scholarship program – What better way to support your community than by helping a deserving student offset the cost of higher education? Here’s what you need to think about when starting a program.
- Clean up your ATS/CRM – Isn’t CRM/ATS management just one of those tasks that always falls to the bottom of the priority list? Now, there are no excuses. Take some to review your database by updating contact information and changing the status of your applicants. Your future self will thank you!
- Clean up your workspace – Science has proven that a clean desk helps immensely in the productivity department. If a previously busy schedule has been keeping you from giving your workspace a thorough deep cleaning, now is the time.
- Enable your team to work remotely – We are in the midst of a revolution. Many believe the WFH era is here to stay, even after the coronavirus has ended. Work with your team to enhance the virtual workplace. Consider asking for feedback from your team to see if you are capable of making their work easier.
You may also be searching for ways to build team camaraderie remotely, think about incorporating an instant messaging tool (if you haven’t done so already,) and setting up weekly one-on-one video chats and virtual happy hours. Take a look at these other fun team-building activities.
- Improve your home office – Since you have been primarily working from home, you may have noticed your home office is not set up nearly as nicely as your typical workspace. Now that you’ve had a chance to acclimate to your new office, take some time to recognize its downfalls and work to find the right resources. Here are 18 must-have items.
- Evaluate your finances and save money – Unless you have a specific passion for numbers, bookkeeping may very well be your least favorite job of business ownership, and may often get pushed down to the bottom of your To Do List. Place more of an emphasis on the evaluation of your bookkeeping, reconcile your transactions and run reports to see how the year was progressing before COVID.
Marketing & Branding
- Adjust your messaging – Avoid sounding tone deaf to the struggles of others. Be genuine and sincere in your messaging. Take down ads that might miss the mark during these times. Create ads that focus on brand awareness rather than conversions. “When this is all over, we’ll be here to help you get back to work” rather than “Apply now to land your dream job”.
- Redesign your logo – Although it may be hard to believe, remember the pandemic will eventually come to an end. Prepare for that period by taking a good hard look at your brand. If your logo is in need of an update, this might be the right time to move forward.
- Create graphics – One of the most challenging elements of digital marketing is having the necessary graphics readily available. Work with a creative employee or freelance designer to create an image library of digital assets. You may want to consider display ads, infographics, brochures, flyers and more.
- Participate in reputation management – When was the last time you googled your business name? Take some time to research your business’ reputation. Review online comments from clients and candidates to identify whether or not internal circumstances may be contributing to negative publicity. Brainstorm ideas on improvement tips, if necessary.
- Improve business listings – When reviewing your online reputation, you may find old or incorrect business listings with the wrong phone number or address. Update them by using a service like Moz Local or Yext. These tools will also allow you to create new local business listings. If your company is mostly based on referrals from local traffic, focusing your efforts on creating consistent citations is a great place to start.
- Analyze Google Analytics – If you already have Google Analytics set up, you know what a priceless resource it can be for acquisition, but up until now, you may not have logged in as often you should. To get the most value, identify potential conversion tracking improvements, identify referral sources that could be nurtured, exclude spam traffic, and look for additional content opportunities. Stay tuned to find more ways to improve your company’s Google Analytics account.
- Review your website’s SEO – Determine how much of your website traffic is coming from search engines. Dig into Google Search Console to discover keywords with ranking that could be improved upon, and find pieces of content that are working well. Begin recognizing patterns and find more ways to do more.
- Audit ad accounts and conversion sources – Use Google Analytics and your ATS/CRM to identify lead sources that outperform others. Use this newfound information to influence your future marketing efforts.
- Improve conversion tracking – If you can’t currently see where candidates/clients are coming from in your ATS, find a solution to integrate tracking. Knowing where client and candidate leads/conversions are coming from is imperative to your marketing success.
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis for advertising – More than likely you’re familiar with the old adage, “Half of my marketing is wasted – the problem is I don’t know which half.” Become a smarter marketer by creating a cost-benefit analysis. Determine your ROI for your advertising campaigns by comparing Indeed vs Monster vs Google Ads.
- Conduct a survey or a poll – As we mentioned, we are all living in unchartered territory, which means that we’re all amateurs learning as we go. Take some time to conduct a quick survey or poll to gain more insight on what the current economic state means to clients and candidates. Don’t forget to distribute your findings to your network later on!
- Host a webinar – We guarantee that you are not the only one with time on your hands. With that understanding, use this opening as an opportunity to share your knowledge with others through a webinar. Possible topics could include optimizing your LinkedIn profile, learning how to negotiate or improving your resume.
- Improve your website – Before physically reaching out, a client or candidate will likely already be familiar with your company based on your website. Take some time to improve and think about user experience. Take off your owner hat and put yourself in the shoes of your visitor; determine what they may be looking during their visit and how your website holds up to the challenge.
- Write content – After reviewing Google Analytics, you may notice “holes” in your content, or pages where visitors are most likely to drop off the site. Determine if there are certain pieces of content that may help the visitor through your sales funnel. A few ideas to get you started include FAQs, blog posts, or other informational pages. It may be helpful to begin with keyword research to get a better idea of what people are looking for during certain search queries.
- Improve your job board – Again, after reviewing your website analytics, you may notice trends on your most valuable pages, including your job board. Seek out opportunities to improve the search-friendliness, conversion rate and user experience. Don’t forget to create a benchmark now to monitor your progress.
- Write better job descriptions – Today’s job seekers are looking for more than just a job, they want a fulfilling career with an organization that shares their values. That’s why in 2020, it’s not enough to simply outline the position opportunities. Take a good hard look at your company’s job descriptions to see where there may be room for improvement. Check out this recent post on job description best practices.
- Evaluate mobile responsiveness of your website – You never get a second chance at a first impression. Since we know that over half of all job searches start on a mobile device, it is imperative that your website and job postings are mobile-friendly. See how your site scores on the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Upgrade your hosting – If you’re like many business owners, you chose the most cost-effective hosting option when developing your first website. Now, you may be left wondering if the starter package is still the best option. Check out these signs to know if it is time for an upgrade.
- Research competitors – Do you remember the last time you were able to keep an eye on your direct competitors? If you’re like many of us, it was probably your first month on the job. Take a few spare moments to follow their social media profiles, sign up for their newsletters and review their websites. Familiarize yourself with their services and look for areas of improvement within your own organization.
- Research verticals or revenue opportunity – Have a list of ideas for vertical services that you have been saving for a rainy day? There may not be a single cloud in the sky, but the day has arrived. In today’s day and age, recruiters with a niche focus have the upper hand due to their specific experience in the field. Start exploring new industries and service offering expansions to increase your agency’s competitive advantage.
It’s been said dozens of ways: we are all living in unprecedented times and watching history unfold in real-time, but trust us, the pandemic will eventually come to an end. By accomplishing a handful of these tasks now, you will be prepared for worklife post-COVID.