Recruiting in the Post-COVID Era – Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Talent in Asia

Posted by Written by Lindsay Shi Reading Time: 5 minutes

As employers across the world confront the Great Resignation, we examine changes to recruiting in the post-COVID era and discuss smart strategies for enterprises to benefit from the shifts in work attitudes and employment priorities. Flexible hiring practices, customized work assessment policies, and effective employer branding will allow enterprises to attract the best talents and achieve staff loyalty. Companies may also need to opt for a more distributed workforce and adopt telecommuting. While retaining their traditional workforce, this new flexibility in recruitment policies will help enterprises cast a wider net for skilled and “compound” talents, who may have previously been unavailable due to mobility and location challenges or time constraints.


The COVID-19 crisis has had a serious impact on every part of the world. As the crisis continues to develop, it has also brought unprecedented challenges to the production and operation of enterprises and the management of human resources.

However, the post-pandemic era also presents a host of new opportunities in the field of recruitment, and if your HR team can overcome these challenges, you can successfully craft teams made up of an excellent group of people. In this article, we will discuss hiring and retaining employees in the post-pandemic era, and what the future of recruitment might look like.

The impact of the pandemic on recruitment and employment

Change in hiring priorities

The biggest change in hiring since the Great Recession has been a shift to a largely virtual recruitment process. But the hiring priorities of many companies have also changed. Now, hiring managers no longer only pay attention to candidates with the requisite skills. The talent that enterprises really need are “compound talent” with skills and professional knowledge that is adaptable to market development and economic progress. Compound talent refers to a type of person that has one main professional skill as well as expertise in another field that is in short supply in the talent pool and which the enterprise is in urgent need of.

Employer branding becoming more important

Company culture is playing a bigger role in recruitment so the importance of employer branding is growing. Currently, many companies do not have their own employer branding strategies, a concept some people may even be unfamiliar with.

Employer branding is composed of external and internal branding. External branding establishes the company among potential employees. It includes messaging on why the company is a good place to work and explains the reasons why employees choose to work at the company and existing employees choose to stay at the company.

Internal branding, meanwhile, establishes the company’s value among existing staff, and can act as a kind of commitment by the company to its employees. It represents not only a means of establishing a relationship between the company and its employees, but also a way to communicate the unique work experience that the company provides for both existing and potential employees.

Growing demand for more flexible work arrangements

The development trajectory of work will naturally be accompanied by some tension between employees’ judgment of the future employment trends and the current available options. We may not know exactly how work habits will continue to develop in the next few years, but the shift to more flexible work arrangements is already well underway.

Although the current challenges that HR departments are facing – such as demand for more flexible work hours and better work-life balance – have been many years in the making, they were considerably exacerbated by the pandemic.

This has a lot to do with the psychological changes of workers in the post-pandemic era. First, the diversification of current social employment forms has impacted the traditional eight-hour working day. Under the same salary benchmark, personal free time has become increasingly important for workers.

Secondly, psychological adjustment during the epidemic has intensified workers’ reflection upon planning their lives. In the face of a global public health emergency, people have become more cognizant of the shortness and fragility of life and this has forced them to take stock of the things that matter the most to them and how to live a more fulfilling life.

Distributed workforce becoming more common

One of the most exciting changes to the hiring process because of the pandemic is more and more employers are adopting “telecommuting”. Through telecommuting, a company’s workforce is distributed across a country or region and do not work in traditional offices. The distributed employees may telecommute for long periods of time or may choose to telecommute only temporarily.

Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, globalization trends and advances in office technology were driving the steady growth of telecommuting. The coronavirus outbreak has sped up this trend, which has, in fact, benefited hiring.

Thanks to telecommuting, the talent pool has greatly expanded irrespective of the location of the enterprise. Recruiters will, however, need to adopt new hiring practices and expand their search far beyond the traditional geographic boundaries they might once have adhered to. It also provides job opportunities for people with disabilities and mobility problems. The model could appeal to people who need to work flexibly, such as parents with young children.

Strategies for recruitment in the post-epidemic period

With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, it is becoming increasingly important for HR professionals to understand how to improve the employer branding of the company to cater to the trends discussed above. Below we provide some strategies.

Building employer branding and cultivating company culture

Employer brand value is increasingly gaining widespread attention and recognition and has become one of the best indicators of a workplace culture for job seekers. Establishing a strong employer brand will therefore help your company stand out in the job seeker market and ultimately help you attract and retain better talent.

Company culture is an indispensable part of any company. It can create a positive workplace environment, improve the staff’s cultural exposure and ethical standards, and allow internal employees to naturally form a cohesive and tightly knit team. Company culture is an indispensable spiritual force for the development of enterprises – it can help enterprises play a positive role in the work lives of their staff as well as assist in rationally allocating enterprise resources to improve competitiveness.

To effectively build a good company culture and a positive employer brand image, we suggest adopting the “4P” strategies, namely: People, Product, Position, and Promotion.  These concepts can be understood as follows:

  • People: Identifying the type of people and desired skills and expertise your company wants to attract – to inform the development of your brand image.
  • Product: Regarding the company as a product and identifying your company’s unique selling proposition, such as what experiences and benefits your company can offer employees and prospective employees.
  • Position: Identifying your company’s brand positioning in the employment landscape and refining your brand message using concise and effective language.
  • Promotion: Promoting your employer brand – remember, your current employees are your most effective advocates and the best resource for promoting your company as an employer.

Adopting strategies to retain talent

Retaining talent, especially excellent talent, is a top priority for any enterprise.  Keeping employees loyal, productive, and employable is an important skill for every leader and HR department to have today.

The first tactic to improve employee retention is to increase flexibility and set boundaries.  Flexibility is one of the things most employees will focus on. Younger workers prefer to be measured by performance rather than time.  A flexible schedule that includes the option to work from home, flexible start and finish times, paid vacations, career breaks, choice of location, and shorter weekly working hours are attractive perks that companies can offer to seek and retain top talent.

The second tactic is to make work fun and give good feedback. Whether they are at the office or at home, leaders can have a big impact on their employees’ work. People who are happy at work will stay longer. The company should also provide good, actionable feedback and motivation in a timely manner. Feedback is crucial for employees to learn and grow and helps to foster loyalty and retain employees. People also need to receive respect and approval for their work, which can come from constructive feedback.

Employee incentives can help satisfy the various needs of and stimulate their enthusiasm for work, so that they maintain a positive mood, enabling them to fully explore their potential. This will not only improve the efficiency of the company itself, but also empower its employees to achieve professional progress and achievements.

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About Us

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Russia, in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative. We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh.