Lessons we learned – and reasons for hope – from 2020

Staffing lessons learned from 2020

It would be easy – and certainly forgivable – to simply write off 2020. Yet, despite everything we’ve collectively endured (and continue to), we’ve nevertheless seen some bright spots—and have been lucky to play a role in some positive matches for both Kansas City companies and job seekers.

We asked some of our recruiters to share some of the lessons and stories that stood out as they look back over this crazy year, and how we all might celebrate a little good and learn from the experience as we approach the turn of the calendar.

Flexibility paid off

Pam FinnellThe past year has forced us all to be a little more adaptable, which turned out to be a valuable trait for many job seekers. Pam Finnell, recruiting manager in the Human Resources division, shares a story of one candidate who found herself out of work, stuck at home, and in need of something new:

“I mentioned a contract position to her, and even though it wasn’t at the level she was accustomed to or necessarily what she was looking for, she was thrilled to accept it. The chance to get out of the house while also using her skills was VERY appealing to her. The best part? That little bit of momentum opened up her dream job just a few weeks later!”

When one door closes…

Brian PriceWhile the pandemic and accompanying economic ripples wrecked many of our local industries and companies, we also saw a lot of new opportunities arise—opening up possibilities for many candidates.

Brian Price, director of our Sales, Marketing & Operations division, shares one of those opportunities:

“When the pandemic hit, many of our clients were able to smoothly transition to a work-from-home model. One of those clients is in an essential industry, and even with the looming shutdown, they began hiring additional staff for their marketing and operations teams. We were proud to help them staff five people for their group from April to June to keep them running!”

Contrary to the bad job market news, Pam Finnell was able to quickly help one local company who needed to grow its team right away:

“We received a call on a Wednesday from a new client who was getting ready to hire around 100 people for a big project. They had to ramp up fast, and asked us for candidates for five HR positions available for them to interview by the following Tuesday—and we did. Our commitment to move quickly at their pace has ensured a long term relationship with this company, and we’re excited to see them doing so well.”

A time to make a change

It turns out a pandemic can actually be the perfect time to make a complete career pivot, to try something completely new and explore a path you’ve always wanted to try. Many Morgan Hunter recruiters met with candidates who were doing just that, including the Human Resources team, which helped provide resources to ease the transition. Pam Finnell explains:

“The pandemic has caused many people to dig deep and think about what’s important to them—and that often means a complete career change. We do a LOT of listening, offering suggestions, and helping them work through what that process looks like. We also match candidates to a great career coach, a woman we’ve worked with for years who’s very helpful to those looking to reshape their career. It’s been so satisfying to help many of these job seekers explore that dream career they’ve always wanted to pursue.”

The year we learned how to listen

Ryan HaggertyIn addition to learning how to be more adaptable, most of us have learned the value of slowing down a bit to really hear each other. Ryan Haggerty, recruiting manager in our Information Technology division, said he’s seen firsthand how important communication has become this year:

“I’ve been fortunate to speak with hundreds of local job seekers, and if there was one piece of advice I could share, it would be this: The biggest favor you can do in your job search process is to communicate! In this day and information age, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that no one else ever knows exactly what you’re thinking, and the best way to set yourself up for success is to communicate clearly, specifically and frequently. That’s the differentiator I’ve seen for top talent successfully landing positions throughout this year.”

Pam Finnell agrees:

“One of my favorite phrases to clients this year has become, ‘Let’s keep the conversation open. Let’s keep talking.’ It’s been such a year of change, and companies don’t know what positions they have open from day to day. They don’t know what their budgets are, and corporate offices change demands and requirements on a whim. We have to be flexible and creative to provide great service to our clients.”

New hope for a new year

Most of all, we heard from our teams just how much more satisfying every placement was this year. We were able to help job seekers find a new career path or even just land a temporary position to get them through a rough time.

“I placed a candidate who had been unemployed for many months into a contract position with one of my favorite companies,” Finnell said. “She was so grateful! I could hear the joy in her voice, and she was nearly in tears. I’m so thrilled for her and feel privileged I was able to help.”

It’s been a tumultuous year, to be sure, and we know many challenging months are ahead, but we close out 2020 with a bit of hope and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Our sincerest thanks to all our valued Kansas City clients and candidates, and we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and new year!