The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | October 2020

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Here is your October guide to the latest trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.

BRANDS WILL NEED TO STRIKE A NEW TONE WITH HOLIDAY ADVERTISING

October marks the beginning of the holiday season with stores — mostly online but also physical — beginning to sell various Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas products. This 2020 holiday season is much different than years past — and not just because Prime Day started earlier than usual — with a global society still mired by a health crisis, an uneven economic recovery, societal polarization at an all-time high, and an upcoming election that has already gotten off to an untraditional start. Families are trying to create a sense of normalcy in these abnormal times, impacting their mindset and advertisers’ approach to messaging. 

Brands will have to engage a society in the midst of change; striking a tone that captures the hopefulness of the holidays, with greater recognition of the small things that in this new light mean much more.

There are also many emotional and tonal options for brands. Multiple anxieties may make consumers want to do the holidays BIG. Whimsy, humor and light-heartedness will all be welcome. Supporting togetherness is a big driver. Disposable income, for those who have it, may be lavished on the holidays in light of limited other outlets. Sentiments such as togetherness and gratitude may translate to supporting brands that help those in need.

Read More: Five things for advertisers to think about for the holiday season [Ipsos]

Employers marketing job opportunities during this time should also consider their tone, focusing on their support of employees and communities and how the company rallied together as a quasi-family in support of each other over the past couple of months. This way, they can tap into this hopefulness to position the idea of a new start with a new opportunity — driving a message of a positive future.

EMPLOYER DEI BRAND COLLIDES WITH TECH COMPANIES’ MOVE TOWARDS GREATER TRANSPARENCY

Tech companies continue to come under scrutiny for the role their platforms and services play in intensifying or managing contentious discourse and misinformation. In the wake of the social justice movement currently gripping the nation, and increased prevalence of cyber-racism, the conversation has quickly moved from solidarity and understanding to a demand of explicit visible action as a more salient indication of companies’ stance on DEI and anti-racism.

In early June, Yelp added functionality to help its users find Black-owned businesses and this month the company has released a new feature to help users report racism associated with a business. If there’s ‘resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions’ by a business owner or employees, such as using racist symbols or slurs, Yelp will apply a ‘business accused of racist behavior alert’ and link to a credible news source to provide users with more information.

Read More: Yelp will alert users when a business has been accused of racist behavior [The Verge]

On first blush, this may seem to impact how potential customers view and patronize particular brands. But as the view of employer brands trends more and more towards the PR footprint of the company, this trend, if sustained beyond platforms like Yelp, will have a broader impact on active transparency no longer solely in the hands of employers. 

GAUGING COGNITIVE LOAD… THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT TOOLS

As companies settle in to working from home as more of a norm — Microsoft recently announced permanent remote work — than an exception, there will undoubtedly be an increased focus on virtual onboarding and training platforms. 

While there have been virtual reality (VR) training tools on the market for some time, the main focus has been on simulating real-world experiences and environments in a virtual setting to support learning a new skill. The HP Omnicept VR training platform takes a slightly different focus, attempting to provide insight into the user’s experience of learning, measuring eye movement, face and lip movement, pupil size and even heart rate.

… An “inference engine” will be developed using the headset’s sensors, creating algorithms that can study elements of behavior and attention. It will start by measuring cognitive load: how overwhelming a task could be to someone, and how much an individual can process at a time. Pulse, eye movement, pupil dilation and facial expressions will contribute to estimating those results… It’s also being designed to comply with GDPR privacy standards…

Read More: HP says its face-tracking, heart-rate enabled VR headset knows when you’re overwhelmed [CNET]

More on AI and training: See the May edition of The Scoop, “Could Data-driven Insights from Gaming Improve How Employers Develop Tailored Upskilling Programs?”

ROUNDING OUT THE SCOOP: PSYCH, SOCIAL, LABOR AND TECH

  • As more companies look to unseat Zoom as the favored video conferencing platform, innovation will have to go above and beyond to provide value. A new start-up in the space, Headroom, is leveraging AI to provide enhanced, tried and true functionality, but also new features like gesture recognition to help shift the conversation. Read More: Headroom, which uses AI to supercharge videoconferencing, raises $5M [Techcrunch]
  • Necessity is the mother of invention: as uncertainty looms over the global economic recovery, industries hard hit by the pandemic are exploring other ways of making money. Singapore Airlines is creating pop-up restaurants in their grounded planes — the price of the meals range from basic ($34) to first class ($474). Read More: Singapore Air’s A380 Restaurant Tickets Sold in 30 Mins [Bloomberg]
  • Are we heading towards smaller echo chambers… that vanish without a trace? Even as Facebook comes under immense scrutiny from regulators who are wary of the company’s dominance in mobile messaging, Facebook is in the process of rolling out cross-platform messaging with features such as disappearing messages. In this highly brand-visible market, increased conversations on the fringes may start to gain traction. Read More: Facebook launches cross-platform messaging on Instagram and Messenger [The Verge]
Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

About Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

Jahkedda has many years of experience providing strategic guidance, data, and insights on job-seeker trends in support of TMP Worldwide and its clients. She has also worked in-house on the candidate attraction team for a large fortune 500 company. Jahkedda has a passion for psychology and storytelling; understanding why we do what we do and how to change behaviors...only using her powers for good. Jahkedda is a member of TMP Labs: a design thinking focused innovation lab.

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