Managing Employer Branding During a Pandemic

As we approached the end of 2020, it became evident that the COVID-19 pandemic was far from dissipating, contrary to what many believed earlier in the year. Employers had to adapt to the "new normal" when it came to recruitment and brand management. What emerged from this situation was the realization that effective branding, maintaining brand consistency, and enhancing brand image were more crucial than ever before.

Employer branding during COVID-19

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However, this strategic approach can prove to be more challenging than it sounds, especially considering the multitude of tasks and obstacles that today's recruitment professionals are faced with. With companies dealing with furloughs, layoffs, staffing changes, and constant updates and adaptations to COVID-related policies, employer branding, and brand management can often feel like abstract concepts that recruiters struggle to grasp.

However, it's important to remember just how employer branding is, especially in times of hiring crisis. Consider these statistics:

Fortunately, just like navigating through challenging weather conditions, even small adjustments can have a significant impact. Keeping this in mind, let's explore the most effective ways to handle your employer branding amidst the COVID-19 crisis and the minor steps you can take to enhance your brand management.


Partner With Your Marketing Team

The saying "strength in numbers" holds in the fast-paced business world as companies strive to do more with less. If your organization is fortunate enough to have a dedicated marketing and communications team, now is the perfect opportunity to break down the barriers between departments and collaborate on fresh messaging for your current talent pool. By leveraging the expertise and creativity of your colleagues, you can create compelling content that resonates with job seekers and strengthens your employer brand.

Whether you're revamping your website, reassessing your social media tactics, analyzing data on platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn, or simply collaborating with your marketing team to navigate the challenges ahead, building creative partnerships and fostering open communication with those outside of your recruitment team can not only boost productivity during these trying times but also pave the way for future collaborations. After all, employer branding is the ultimate recruitment tool, and your marketing team is there to help you nurture it.

Remain Visible

You've spent time, money, and manpower to create an effective employer branding and recruitment strategy in the digital space that has provided dividends in employer recognition and filling your most critical positions – don't let the pandemic erode any inroads you have made in this journey. And the best way to avoid such erosion is to remain visible throughout the pandemic simply.

Even if you're not engaging in recruitment efforts or campaigns, continuing to post and share content to your social channels, updating your website or blog with interesting, relevant content (perhaps discussing how employers are adapting during this global crisis), or continuing to engage your company's followers on Indeed or LinkedIn are ways to remain visible and active with the passive (and active, of which there may be more soon) jobseeker.

But there are also other ways to remain visible in a public-facing way, such as:

  • Revising or streamlining your applications for ease and clarity
  • Aesthetically tweaking or refreshing your application templates
  • Regular email campaigns continue nurturing potential talent for future recruitment campaigns

Pay Attention to the Tone

Perhaps one of the more egregious mistakes employers make when it comes to their branding or the messaging of their recruitment campaigns is tonal deafness – and that is exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing downturn in the global job market. Right now, the job seeker scrutinizes your messaging in a way that we've only seen a handful of times in the last 15 to 20 years.

Is your tone one of strength and stability? Is your messaging such that the jobseeker feels your organization is unified and well-positioned to overcome the challenges of COVID-19? If part of your brand management and recruitment strategy is a more playful, laid-back, and casual messaging voice, is said voice well-measured with the seriousness this current crisis warrants? On the flip side, do your brand standards provide some leeway for humor or playfulness to cut the tension and anxiety of the jobseeker and demonstrate your ability to roll with the punches?

These are the tonal concerns recruitment specialists must weigh to hit all the right notes that put the jobseeker at ease but also show your company culture can bounce back, adapt, and find small beacons of light in an otherwise dark timeline.

Address Immediate Concerns

Although it may sometimes feel like we live in our own little worlds, the truth is that nobody is immune to the impact of the current climate. As employers, it can be tempting to avoid discussing the pandemic in order to focus on our branding and strategies. However, it's crucial to remember that tonal awareness is essential, not just in the style of our messaging but also in the substance of what we communicate. We must address the concerns and challenges of the present moment while staying true to our brand and values.

How is your organization tackling the challenges posed by the pandemic and prioritizing the health and safety of your employees? Are you collaborating with other companies to make a positive impact on your community through charitable initiatives and outreach programs? What measures have you implemented to conduct interviews safely, ensuring the use of proper personal protective equipment, adherence to social distancing guidelines, sanitation protocols, and other necessary precautions that allow business operations to continue without jeopardizing the well-being of your employees and applicants?

For example, if your organization has transitioned to online-only interviews, emphasize that messaging as a demonstration of your adaptability. Instead of on-site job shadowing or campus tours, perhaps you've pivoted to video tours or virtual job shadowing events via a live stream or other video platforms. Again, this is another talking point to address the pandemic and remain a competitive, industry-leading voice in the mind of the current job seeker.


Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding? Find out more!

Nick hails from Northern Illinois where he writes, runs, home brews, and spends time with his wife, daughter, and pug.

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