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Recruiting Amid COVID-19

January 4, 2022

Top Executives Discuss New Talent Strategies

Amid what many are calling the “Great Resignation,” COVID has exacerbated pre-existing talent retention and attraction issues and dramatically changed employees’ workplace expectations while increasing stress, both at home and work. As employers adjust to an extremely tight labor market and explore the impact of advances in remote work practices, top executives explain how they are adapting their talent strategies to changing pandemic realities.


Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young

“The pandemic has affected all our people in different ways, and we have emphasized the importance of well-being. Early on, we focused on helping our people adapt to working remotely and feeling supported. Today, it’s about supporting their continued resilience through benefits focused on well-being and maintaining flexibility to provide an optimal hybrid working environment. When people feel supported holistically – truly seen, heard and valued – they’re empowered to show up as their best selves and have a strong sense of belonging.”

President, Great Lakes District, UPS 

We’re proud of our role as an essential service provider helping to keep the U.S. and global economies running. We connect people and businesses with the things they need to live their lives and run their businesses. We care about the health and safety of our people and take extensive measures to keep them safe. We follow CDC, state and local guidelines, including physical distancing, providing all employees with PPE, regular cleaning and disinfecting of work areas.” 

Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Detroit Medical Center 

At the DMC, we are rethinking workforce planning strategies, including how we attract and retain the best talent. It’s critically important to understand the shifts in how people work and relate in order to differentiate from an experience standpoint. From our work policies, tools and resources, we are creatively looking at the future of work and adapting to the new normal to ensure our organization’s continued success in delivering the highest quality care to the communities we serve.” 

Chief Talent Officer, Ford Motor Company 

“Moving to a flexible hybrid work model and recruiting virtually allowed us to widen our talent pool and level the playing field for candidates who we normally may have never met. We accelerated our use of technology across our recruiting ecosystem for how we reach, interview and assess candidates, as well as onboard new hires, in ways we hadn’t considered in the past, all while creating a personal, cultural experience with high engagement and satisfaction.” 

President and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgewater Interiors LLC 

We have put more resources into recruiting and retention over the past 18 months than we have in as many years. Our approaches have varied based upon location and region, but include retention bonuses at two and four months of service, referral bonuses for current employees, increased starting wages, and increased off-shift premiums. We’ve also significantly expanded our internal and external communications and service recognition efforts to better engage our team members and more consistently acknowledge their efforts.”