Employer brand is the way your employees see your organization as a place for work. It’s how prospective employees perceive you as an employer, which in terms affects the quality of talent you can access and the productivity you can achieve. In a crisis like COVID-19, managing the employer brand is more important than ever before. Due to the pandemic, your staff might be scared, stressed, and burdened with work.
But like John W Holt Jr said, “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” For many businesses, these times are a valuable opportunity to carve out a niche employer brand for themselves. Leveraging these opportunities will ensure that you’ll retain your best employees and maintain your image.
There are a couple of steps that you can take to effectively manage your employer brand.
During times of crisis, people tend to easily believe rumors surrounding a company. It creates problems such as misinformation, confusion, and panic. To counter it, you have to build a transparent relationship with your staff. And the best way to do it through constant communication.
The first step that you can take is creating a clear and concise COVID-19 plan taking into account your employees, vendors, partners, and customers. You should also consider how different groups you’re communicating with are feeling at that time. For example, people working in the US might have different problems than people working in Canada. They should be emailed separately.
Also, create a FAQ to answer the most commonly asked questions. Ensure that leaders and managers of your organization know exactly how to respond to doubts and follow up questions regarding the official communication. Make sure that all communication channels are open, and that you take up any questions employees may have.
2. Address the market regarding layoffs
You might be one of the organizations that have to lay off people during COVID-19. Of course, this affects your reputation in the market. Rumors and stories from unverified sources can harm your company’s name.
It’s better to issue a sensitive and honest press release/open letter regarding the layoffs. Ideally, that communication should come from the CEO or some other company executive. That will protect you against false stories and guard your character.
The other thing you can do is personally deliver the news to terminated employees and help them in their onward journey. You can give them a fantastic review on LinkedIn or a great recommendation letter. This way, the employees will see that you’re making efforts in the right direction.
Many employees these days are working from home. To ensure that all employees are well, try to make work from home easy by incorporating fun activities into your schedules like photography/art class, online games, etc.
You can also send motivational emails to employees. Include appreciation notes from management in them. That will motivate your employees to work better. To further help your staff present in a remote environment, you can do them small favors like refunding internet bills or providing them furniture for their work from home setup. Compassion towards employees goes a long way in maintaining employer brand.
The steps you take during a crisis are what your company is about, as that’s the way people/employees will remember you after the crisis. Make sure that every action you take is in line with your organizations’ values and ethics.
Create the right tone for the voice of your organization’ and stick with it. For necessary emails, you can also use visual aids and statistics to make them better. You can leverage internal communication channels to educate employees about recent changes in company policies and practices.
Doing that will strengthen your staff’s commitment to your brand, increase loyalty, and provide assurance to those who believe in you. It will also safeguard you and your brand from retaliation and adverse response.
5. Future employment
If your company is facing financial problems, it’s better to use a dedicated page for hiring decisions related to COVID-19. It improves transparency and lets people know that there is a hiring freeze or not.
However, if you’re in a business that’s considered essential, you might have to hire more employees to cope up with demand. For example, hospitals are hiring more nurses to take care of patients. If that’s the situation, you might have to start with hiring campaigns to generate attention.
Make sure to improve your employer brand ranking on portals such as Linkedin and Glassdoor. Investing in the right marketing strategies will position you as a smart employer who attracts the best talent. Make sure to highlight things like your company’s reputation, culture, and, most importantly, career progression. Points like these will help you land the perfect candidate for the job.
Of course, a crisis like COVID-19 will have a massive impact on a business and its employees. As an employer, your top priority is to ensure two things: that your employees are safe and that you can handle the workload. Client fulfillment and employee satisfaction are the two most important things that you should take care of.
Creating a great employee brand helps limit the harm caused to the company’s reputation by negative gossip and rumors. A clear and concise tone of voice and proper communication will help distinguish you from other businesses. Even if you have to lay off people, make sure that you communicate it to the world in your voice and help the employees who are terminated.
Remember, transparency and honesty in times like these will ensure that customers and employees trust you after the crisis is over.