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Wendy Alexander | 30 June 2020

How are you really?

Walking through the streets of the CBD during the working week, most things look normal. But they’re not really.

At Kin, people are at the heart of everything we do. Clients and candidates are the reason we exist, and we strive to make every interaction they have with us one to remember.

Our team have been back in the office for over a month now. In that time, we’ve seen encouraging signs of recovery in our market. I often think that recruitment is a good barometer for business confidence; if an employer is comfortable hiring permanent employees, things must be starting to look up.

As recruiters, we are privileged to have many conversations with business owners, business leaders, and with job seekers. We’re well connected to a sizeable network of organisations of varying sizes and across different sectors.

Things may be starting to improve, but there is a common theme of un-normal behavior out there in the market. Business confidence might be edging up in small increments, but the behavior of many is often quite out of character. I am certain this behavior is driven by recent stress; it’s as though we’ve forgotten what ‘normal’ feels like and are just not match fit for the market improvement. We might be out of our homes and doing our bit to breathe life back into the economy, but many of us are not 100%.

Some employers, normally very clear about what they’re looking for in their new employee are wobbly on decision making and feeling a need for more control over the recruitment process. Job seekers want closer and more frequent communication, lots of reassurance, and if things don’t go as they hope or expect, some go from 0 – 60 pretty quickly.

And it’s not just the corporate world where behavior is out of whack. In retail, employees seem more interested in talking amongst themselves than delivering a positive customer experience. I’ve seen the same in cafés and in restaurants.

Closer to home, many in my close network are struggling with a vague black cloud, one that’s hanging around with no apparent reason. I was under one myself a couple of weeks ago – it's a bleak and isolating place to be.

I know we’ll all get back into the swing of things soon. Right now, it feels as though we’re not yet match fit and have lost the confidence to get back to being ourselves. It’s a strange vibe out there at the moment.

Within the Kin team, I continue to say it’s OK not to be OK. We start each daily stand-up meeting with the question how are you really? and openly share when we’re having days where we’re feeling out of sorts. I hope that all leaders are having similar conversations with their teams.

The last few months have changed us all; for some in big way, and for others in smaller ways. One thing is for certain; 2020 will be a year that we’re not likely to forget. Let’s keep being kind and hold on to our humanity while we reclaim our equilibrium.

How are you feeling?