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The Dev Review

How to navigate your way through a hiring freeze

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The last few years have felt incredibly challenging for business leaders. There has been so much turbulence and instability, and it’s not like there is any sign of that uncertainty ending any time soon.

From Brexit to the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine to the cost-of-living crisis – all of these and their subsequent ripple effect significantly impact how we live and do business.

One of the most considerable effects has been on the acquisition and retention of talent.
Recruitment has become increasingly difficult, and conditions could even plunge many organisations into a hiring freeze. What's the best way for companies to navigate such an occurrence?

How real is the great resignation?

The 'great resignation' is one of the most talked-about trends in HR in recent years. It alludes to the fact that vast swathes of the working population are actively seeking new roles or about to embark on such a journey.

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 41% of employees are likely to consider leaving their jobs within the next year. People have been spurred to find new roles for many reasons, including a better work/life balance, more hybrid working, a post-pandemic willingness to spread their wings, better remuneration, and a company whose values more closely align with the employee.


But circumstances change quickly. The cost-of-living crisis I mentioned above will be painful and could affect people’s willingness to change jobs, with many preferring to stick rather than twist. With tough economic conditions starting to bite, it’s not unreasonable to think that companies’ hiring plans will drastically slow down or halt entirely. Even when employees leave, many organisations will try to see the period through without replacing staff.

Establishing and maintaining company values

Navigating a hiring freeze places demands on both employer and employee. Retaining talent is always important but becomes even more pressing during a time of uncertainty like now. Employers must therefore do their best to create a work environment that ensures more people want to stay than leave.

This includes competitive compensation, commitment to hybrid working, benefits, progression, maternity leave and shared leave. But even more important is a company’s values.

For us, they underpin everything we do. I am convinced that our values - seeking audacious adventures, empowering collective genius, following your wisdom and being radically candid - and how hard we work to embed them in everything we do, is key to both our overall success and low employee churn.

Being flexible about recruitment

It cannot be ignored that there will be times when an obvious and pressing need for more headcount or a specific skill set arises, even if a business is not looking to hire. This is when flexibility must come to the fore. There are ways of filling a gap temporarily that will achieve the desired results and will not affect the company culture.

Recruitment agencies and freelance websites have been popular, but there are more modern and effective ways to manage this, new models for resourcing talent from a vast ecosystem of vetted and certified teams. Such models – talent marketplaces - provide access to talent as and when an organisation requires but also offer greater flexibility, a variety of engagement models, and often even cheaper project costs.

There is never a one-size-fits-all solution. But with the right matching algorithm, clients can be intelligently matched with the right team and be underway in a matter of weeks, whether their need is in finance, development or somewhere else in the business.

Hiring freezes pose a number of challenges for any business leader, but with a flexibility of approach and a willingness to embrace modern solutions, they need not be insurmountable.