The COVID-19 global pandemic impacted business, and economic and international development across the Pacific Islands and saw organisations pivot focus to respond to the public health national emergencies and challenges, and adjust their operations to the changing priorities and resource availabilities.
Link Personnel Services, a recruitment and employment firm in Vanuatu, was there to help organisations continue their operations throughout the pandemic. Given Vanuatu’s closed international borders, LinkPS worked closely with their clients to adjust, where necessary, workforce plans and role expectations, and to find the people within Vanuatu who could work in support of their businesses and programs. While this created unforeseen challenges for many organisations, this change in circumstances gave many ni-Vanuatu more opportunities to develop their competencies and expertise given the sudden departure and absence of many international workers.
With a local skills database to tap in to, LinkPS was able to quickly source suitable workers, and in many cases, contract and manage the teams and staff in country on behalf of their clients when they were unable to establish themselves in Vanuatu.
Like many other companies around the world LinkPS quickly adapted to new technologies to enable online work given the requirement to work from home and preference for physical distancing. With meetings and interviews moving online, and with the nuances that is felt with face-to-face communication missing, it was important to establish a strong rapport and develop a deeper understanding of person preferences and role responsibilities to help support recruitment activities. Increasingly, clients also needed candidates who could demonstrate abilities in adapting to changing circumstances, work independently, and be flexible while having the discipline to focus on achieving outcomes.
On the other side of this global pandemic, what recruitment lessons have we learnt? The challenges brought about by the pandemic brought into focus the importance of engaging and connecting with clients to fully appreciate and have a clear idea of what is wanted, and what is needed. As the experts of the local Vanuatu labour market, LinkPS was able to help manage expectations and provide the best staffing solutions and advice so that organisations could continue to operate in the face of the unexpected.
While nothing beats the value of face-to-face connections, especially in the Pacific Islands, we have learnt how to attune to online meetings and interviews and improved the art reading and engaging with people across a screen. We have embraced technology to enable efficiencies in recruitment and opened our minds to different models of working to meet staffing needs.