The New Ways Of Working

A J7 reflection on changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic within working environments as well as recruiting and hiring processes in the consulting industry.

The world’s response to COVID-19 has resulted in the most rapid transformation of the work environment. Remote working has become the new normal and most people have managed to change their homes into improvised office spaces. Companies had to change the way they work as well. Interaction with customers and suppliers as well as global communication in general rapidly changed due to the progressing digitalization.

Some companies have discovered new markets and turned the learnings from this lockdown into a new business model. Those companies find themselves in a good position to retain their talent and attract people as soon as the situation stabilizes. Others, on the other hand, had to face the exact opposite. They had government imposed hard dictions to scale down, close offices and thus were not able to adapt fast enough to the changing environment.

All these changes impacted the way the consulting industry works and affects us as junior entrepreneurs, students, and the new generation of employees.

In this article we are taking a closer look on how exactly the work environment has transformed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also focusing on the important topic of recruiting and hiring and cover what it means for young students to enter the job market.

What changes should young entrepreneurial minds have on the radar? How is the consulting industry changing? And what are today’s new challenges in the job market?

An analysis of the effects of Corona on the current working environment

The pandemic did not leave anybody untouched. The current situation we are currently facing is exceptional. Three groups were hit hard in particular: Firstly, those who stumbled into the subject of home offices completely unprepared and had to sort through everything – from acquisition of mobile devices to organizational issues. Secondly, employees who had to master particularly challenging private situations – small home, childcare, family obligations. And thirdly, those who got into economic difficulties due to the lockdown. But how has the working world actually changed?

Corona has become an accelerator of digital transformation, and it will change markets forever. The real obstacle of this transformation have been rigid structures, skills gaps, and reluctance on the management levels. Home office and/or mobile work has proven itself as an alternative form of work and digital (communication) tools have become an omnipresent work tool. The consequence is the end of the of compulsory attendance at all office companies followed by the end of a management mindset where managers still see themselves as watchdogs over employees.
Therefore, we have learned to work in a new way with more independence, entrepreneurial participation while simultaneously empowering the development of all potentials. Giving employees maximum freedom and letting them try out and experience new things in networked and agile teams has something to do with “letting go”. The basic principle of digitalization is networking. Companies become networked teams. In communities, learning is platform-based, knowledge is shared and directly applied. Thus, employees and companies became more adaptive.
But even if remote work is becoming more and more popular, this is by no means an end to on-site work. What is new, however, is a heightened sensitivity to what modern offices must be able to do. The office is not just a place where you go to work because there are no other places to go, but a social system.

Recruitment and hiring in times of COVID 19 with a special focus on the consulting industry

Since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic more and more business are getting in trouble. They have to dismiss their employees in order to save money, wherever they can.
So how do consultancies get through this crisis? Do they still have enough clients, do they still need to recruit and to hire? Those are questions we are all searching an answer for.
For sure there are some consultancies struggling during this crisis as well, but most of them are still hiring and searching for new passionate, young and talented employees. But how to hire during a global pandemic?
Compared to the time before this pandemic started, we saw a lot more social media marketing and online events by consultancies, than ever before. The trend you can see in this branch is moving towards marketing campaigns. Through standard platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram consultancies were able to host Q&A sessions in order to present the life of an consultant and their accompanying consultancy. The connection to students is also kept by cooperating with various career services, , according to Brian Rolfes, McKinsey.
As you can see recruitment has not stopped, it just shifted towards digital spaces and adapted through digital social events.

The way of reaching potential applicants changed. What about the actual recruitment process? Do case studies, interviews and more can work the same way, they did before a global crisis?.
They most likely did not. That does not mean, hiring is not working anymore. It just means, that we are experiencing a new way of the hiring process.
McKinsey, a global leader in strategic consultancy developed a new recruiting system in the last months, according to Brian Rolfes, the partner in charge of global recruiting of McKinsey. The whole process of their business games and case studies are moved to the online meeting platform zoom. The goal of McKinsey is to ensure the same quality and skill level, they had before. This is a trend not only McKinsey is following. We are experiencing a movement towards online interviews of almost every consultancy since the beginning of the restrictions in early 2020 in order to make sure, the applicants are always safe and their health is not affected.
Many people wonder, if the crisis affected the numbers of applicants and jobs to offer in a negative way.
It did not. Most of the consulting companies say, that they are planning long term and qualified personal is needed more, than ever before. Some companies even went as far as to increase their hiring numbers, according to the following chart.

The J7 Network

We, as a J7 network, provide a consulting service that is flexible and adapts to new arising questions and challenges. We can help companies to shift their way of working to a remote work environment. We can push digitalization forward trough new business models or online marketing strategies.

But we also want to help students and young entrepreneurs to enter the work environment. We are analyzing job markets and want to connect students and companies through our consulting projects.

In summary, it can be said that challenges are excellent opportunities to take big steps forward. Even before Corona, the world of work was already undergoing major changes, and now there are opportunities to use the broad brush to shape the world of work for the next few decades – key words being digitization and sustainability. Whether this will succeed depends on whether the desire for further development is greater than the longing to restore the so-called normal state.