Accenture and Verizon lead collaborative effort to help furloughed or laid-off workers find a new job

April 14, 2020, 10:30 PM UTC

With COVID-19 upending the world as we know it, nothing is happening as traditionally done right now—including hiring and job searching.

Job seekers would usually take it upon themselves to search for opportunities, going through their contacts and applying to recruiters. But as of this week, unemployment in the U.S. is believed to be at 14.7 percent, the highest it has been since 1940. These numbers may not account for the temporary job losses, since many companies are furloughing workers.

Discouraging as this may seem, companies are still hiring. “This crisis has created massive job loss and people need help finding work,” said Pat Wadors, chief talent officer at ServiceNow at a press release. So her company, along with Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, and Verizon, have come together with a way to help.

People + Work Connect, a collaborative initiative launched on April 14th, allows companies who’ve laid off or furloughed employees to work together with other businesses with an urgent need for workers. The tool, developed pro bono by Accenture and in collaboration with the four companies’ Chief Human Resources Officers, is meant to facilitate the transfer of products and services in the workplace. It is free for employers across all industries, although only companies with 100 or more jobs to fill or employees to place can join.

“By connecting companies that are hiring with a talented and available workforce, technology is truly acting in service of people,” added Wadors. Not being alone while looking for employment during the crisis is indeed a jumpstart for struggling job-seekers—especially when the average successful job hunt spans five months in a non-COVID-19 situation.

But this transfer of employees is a smart move for companies, too. About 40% of US companies oursource a part of or their complete hiring processes, according to 2019 data from Korn Ferry, and the usual recruitment process across all industries can range from 25 to 46 days.

People + Work connect allows employers to access a prescreened talent pool, all ready to go. As the platform is exclusively for employer-to-employer communication, former employees cannot check for opportunities themselves. They must rely on human resource workers at their last company to search for them, but this doesn’t limit their searches elsewhere.

While this platform was quickly created to help workers and employees face the consequences of COVID-19, the creators believe that this type of job search could last long after the impact of the virus has dissipated. As Christy Pambianchi, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Verizon mentioned, “We expect this type of collaboration to become the norm going forward. Now is the time to build a more resilient workforce—for today and tomorrow.” 

More must-read careers coverage from Fortune:

—How Fortune 500 companies are stepping up during the pandemic
—3 ways to put your best foot forward on a video job interview
Everything you need to know about furloughs—and what they mean for workers
How freelancers can pivot to make it through the coronavirus pandemic
—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEO
—WATCH: 401(k) withdrawal penalties waived for anyone hurt by COVID-19

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