Just a few months back, working from home and hiring someone without a face-to-face meeting were issues that were always up for serious discussion in any office; but not today.
The pandemic has driven organizations to transform, adapt, change, and become flexible – key requisites of a good employer branding strategy in the post-COVID-19 times.
Let’s look at what it means to build a good employer brand post the pandemic, and how organizations can realign themselves to stay relevant as employers.
But first, let’s look at a few good examples of companies that have managed to maintain their employer brands through the pandemic and beyond.
Take for example AirBnB– with the travel and hospitality sector hardly hit, the company had to lay off 25% of its employees. The CEO of AirBnB, wrote an honest, transparent, personal and compassionate note to all the employees, clearly explaining their decisions and plans.Walmart, on the other hand, had to hire additional employees to handle its increased workload. The key takeaways from Walmart’s case are the lessons of great leadership during a time of crises. The president and CEO, Dough McMillon, visited the frontline workers in stores and wrote about it on his LinkedIn profile.
These are just two examples of how the leaders and companies are contributing to handling, building and maintaining their images of employer branding. Insights gathered from the industry point to three key factors of employer branding for organizations to think about: the tone and language of communication, new ways of working, and building talent pools.
1. To be the best employer and brand, what should an organization do in talent and talent acquisition communication across social media, websites and advertising?
- Employers need to share positive messaging and practical advice.
- Employers need to remain sensitive while communicating.
- Let employees know about the company’s plans and how it is managing the situation.
- Encourage empathy and support for one another among the workforce.
2. What should organizations do to accommodate new ways of working and hiring – video interviewing and digital onboarding to virtual working?
- Employers should be transparent without causing an alarm.
- Build trust and relationship with employees, new hires and candidates.
- Adjust the hiring process and let candidates know about it.
- Share all the details about how the hiring process will work.
3. What should organizations do to prepare for their goals of building talent pools, re-imagining talent acquisition, and more?
- With companies fighting for survival, some roles may become redundant. Employers must address reskilling and up-skilling needs of existing employees.
- Organizations must ensure they have the right tools and resources to acquire new talent, think checks on references, background checks and a task force to source potential candidates.
- Organizations discovered a new side of themselves and their workforce – remote work and flexibility is possible and works. These can be selling points to attract new talent in the future.
While the above three factors are key cues, experts at the Harvard Business Review cannot emphasize enough on the fact that “long-term thinkers will not only survive the post-COVID-19 phase, but thrive”. They call this time, a once-in-a-century hiring opportunity. Here’s what companies who want to improve employer branding, should do:
- The top-level management should list down a few people that they had wanted to hire in the past and then check in on those people if they’re open to new roles.
- Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
- Bring in more than one but not too many interviewers and compare notes with them.
- Motivate the best candidates. High level of autonomy, mastery, and purpose are key attractions.
- Make sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent a priority.
Layoffs, downsizing, right-sizing, new talent sourcing, and retaining talented employees – these are all a key part of organizations resetting in the post-COVID “new normal”. But experts state – the “new normal” could be a myth, and that companies would now have to build brands that can thrive in the face of continuous turbulence. Are you ready to revive your employer brand for the future?