Employer branding for a pandemic bruised world

During a time of crisis, how your business treats its staff, customers, suppliers and the broader community has significant potential to influence how your staff and future talent prospects feel about you as an employer.

An effective employer brand strategy can help build feelings of connectivity, loyalty, and safety. If managed poorly, efforts may be at risk of seeming token, insincere or lacking authenticity. So what can you focus on to help steer your business through a pandemic-bruised world?

Understand what is important to your people

Your employer brand exists in the eye of the beholder, based on an individual’s experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of your business. Essential to building a strong employer brand, then, is your ability to deliver a consistent human experience that brings your employee value proposition (EVP) to life and exceeds the expectations of your employees and external talent communities.

While your post-COVID-19 budget may not allow for glossy marketing campaigns to reinforce your employee value proposition (EVP), if you are concentrate on supporting your people, continue to invest in learning, and ensure you apply skills mapping strategies to minimise redundancies, you will already be communicating that your people are valued and that your company is a great place to work. In fact, by focusing on creating desirable experiences, rather than shouting about what you offer, you’ll develop and nurture an authentic employer brand that resonates with your people and generates positive word-of-mouth - which is extremely valuable, particularly when you are working with a modest budget.

You can read more about reviewing and developing your EVP here.

Focus on candidate care

From an external talent perspective, it is important that you ensure every touchpoint a candidate has with your business is positive. Many businesses still fail to acknowledge receipt of a job application and others, to let candidates know that they have been unsuccessful. It sounds very basic, but you must respond to every job application that your business receives. I am a huge fan of the Circle Back Initiative, a growing group of employers who are clearly committing to providing application updates to each and every applicant.

Right-size your talent team

With rising unemployment, you can expect an increased volume of applications per role so you must also ensure that your recruitment team is adequately resourced and that your technology is configured to support them.

Following an interview, take the time to give each applicant constructive feedback and think about how your team can help people. That might be providing some advice to improve their CV, or putting together some helpful guides on job searching, networking, or using LinkedIn. For a volume hiring process, where 1:1 feedback can be difficult, you could consider running webinars or group Q&A sessions to provide support. During a time of increased job seeker stress and anxiety, you will be remembered for the time and support you give.

Review new policies carefully

Employer branding is about creating positive people experiences that deliver a consistent message that conveys the essence of your business - its culture and values. In times like these, when businesses must respond quickly with new policies and processes to ensure business continuity, it is essential, therefore, that we still take time to consider broader social and economic influences when making key people decisions. For example, while working from home suits some, for others, isolation, domestic violence or crime, might mean that home is not a safe place. How can you effectively support those employees and their families and ensure their safety?

If the business change COVID-19 demands (and will continue to demand) is to be effective, our policies, processes, and employee support mechanisms must be well thought out, inclusive, and sustainable.

Be authentic

Those companies that have taken an integrated approach, combining relevant and accessible support to employees with authentic and visible CSR strategies, such as donating computers to vulnerable people to help them find and maintain work or funding telehealth and mental health programs, are those standing out in a positive and memorable way in the current crisis.

Think about what matters to your people, what you want to be remembered for and also, how your pandemic-related CSR activities can be more than a short-term initiative. Aligning your employer brand and CSR activities in a strategic, sustainable, and authentic way will be more valuable to your brand than any recruitment advertising campaign.


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