Your employer brand has always been important. But in the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, getting it right now is imperative.
Hiring trends are fluctuating hugely across industries. Healthcare, IT, warehousing and transportation are scaling up at pace while many in aviation, hospitality and corporate services are putting their entire businesses on ice. For these industries, hiring is probably the last thing on their minds.
However, regardless of industry and current hiring demand, now is a key time for organisations to carefully manage their employer brand strategy with an eye on the future and longer-term goals.
How organisations respond to today’s world of work will have long term implications for their employer brand
Businesses not only need to keep existing employees engaged, but they also need to communicate in a human way, ensure furloughed staff aren’t completely isolated and be mindful when sharing content externally.
If your business is reacting well to the coronavirus epidemic in an authentic way, the logic suggests that people are more likely to want to work for your business in the future.
The digitisation of the workplace
Rapid digital transformation is happening across almost every industry. Businesses across the globe are utilising technology to help bring people together, even as most people are isolated at home.
Workplace conversations are shifting online, both within businesses and through trusted networks like LinkedIn to share and view content. According to a recent LinkedIn study, 30% of their members are checking their social media more often to stay up to date as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
So rather than shrink back through the nervousness of saying the wrong thing, it’s important to be part of the conversation, be transparent and share how your organisation and your people are managing the crisis. This is an ideal opportunity to showcase the best of your company and to connect with your audience on a more human, organic level.
Four content themes to consider
Executive leadership response
What are your people at the top doing to reinforce company values during this challenging time? How do they lead in a crisis, while communicating a sense of community and shared purpose?
Encourage your leaders to share stories of hope and optimism about the future, both internally and externally. Video content is a great way to engage in this way and showing senior people in a less formal context makes them more approachable and accessible.
Corporate social responsibility
Are you showing solidarity with other areas of the community, fundraising or offering support in other ways? If so, share your stories.
New ways of working
Have you streamlined a recruitment process to make it more virtual or introduced new technology to ensure business continuity? How are you making your employees or customers lives easier during the pandemic? Are you encouraging virtual learning or introducing a new wellbeing initiative for example?
The best people to tell your brand story and showcase your culture? Employees. Loosen your grip a little by trusting your employees to set their own narrative, albeit in an interesting and coordinated way. A story series based around a particular # for example is a creative way to drive and direct employee engagement via social.
While this approach may unsettle some business leaders, content consumption behaviour has changed substantially over the last decade.
Instead of trying to gain full control over the narrative, brands are now learning to harness raw and unpolished content channels such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok for their corporate brand and employee advocates. Even on LinkedIn, we’re seeing raw, realistic content come to the fore as people are forced to work from their sofa or garden shed.
Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity
Whatever you choose to focus on, authenticity is vital. Your employer brand content needs to be both personal to your company and relevant to your audience, otherwise, it will fall flat.
This is also a great opportunity to sense check the validity of your EVP and your company values if you haven’t yet established one. Are they authentic, do they hold up, are you behaving and communicating consistently with the values you’ve expressed or is it time for a re-think?
Despite our ‘new normal’ there remains a place for non-pandemic related employer brand content. Indeed, many are already suffering from the negative drain of unceasing coronavirus content, so positive employer brand content is in many cases a welcome respite. Just stay vigilant of your tone of voice and remain empathetic to the wider context.
Above all else, be true to your organisation and focus on the quality of your employer brand content, not the quantity.