We’re in the express lane toward the end of 2020 and right now it’s safe to say the COVID-19 global pandemic is not subsiding as many thought people back in late February and early March. As employers ease themselves into what’s now known as a ‘the new normal’ in terms of recruitment and employer branding/brand management, what’s clear is that managing your branding, enhancing your branding, and making sure your branding remains consistent and front of mind in today’s passive and active job seeker is more important now than ever.
But that 40,000-foot-view philosophy is perhaps easier said than done given the myriad of tasks and challenges today’s recruitment professionals face. As companies confront furloughs, lay-offs, staffing shifts, and COVID-related policy updates and pivots, employer branding and brand manage can be too nebulous a concept for recruiters to get their arms around.
The good news is, much like driving in inclement weather, small corrections can often make the different. With this in mind, let’s examine how to best manage your employer branding during the COVID-19 crisis and the small actions you can take for the betterment of your brand management.
Partner With Your Marketing Team
The cliché strength in numbers has never been apt as companies must move fast to do more with less – whether that’s staff and/or resources. If you’re organization is lucky enough to have an in-house marketing and/or communications team, now is the time to work across organizational silos and collaborate on new or existing messaging to the current talent pool.
Whether it’s refreshing your website, reevaluating your social media strategy, analyzing metrics via career sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, or simply reaching across the proverbial aisle to learn more about how your marketing team is adapting to new challenges, fostering creative partnerships and opening the lines of communication with those outside of your direct recruitment team can not only unlock productivity pathways during these difficult times, but also create avenues for further collaboration down the road.
You’ve spent time, money, and manpower to create an effective employer branding and recruitment strategy in the digital space that has provided dividends both 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 simply remain visible throughout the pandemic.
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 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 ensuing downturn in the global job market. Right now, the tone of your messaging is being scrutinized by the jobseeker 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 in order to hit all the right notes that at put the jobseeker at ease but also show your company culture is able to bounce back, adapt, and find small beacons of light in an otherwise dark timeline.
Address COVID Concerns
Even though sometimes it can seem like it, nobody lives in a bubble, and employer brand management and recruitment strategy and content needs to be reflective of the current climate. It may be tempting for companies to simply avoid discussing COVID-19 so as not to ‘beat a dead horse’ or pull attention away from the branding and strategy the company has worked so hard to create and manage. But as we discussed a moment, tonal awareness is key and will continue to be key in the months ahead, and that applies to the substance of the messaging and not just the style of the message.
What is your organization do to combat COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of your employees? Is your organization partnering with other companies in charitable or outreach ways to impact your community? What precautions are being taken to ensure interviews are conducted with proper PPE, required social distancing mandates, sanitation guidelines, and other necessary steps to maintain business as usual in a way that does not put employees or applicants at-risk?
For example, if your organization has transitioned to Zoom-only interview for the foreseeable future, 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 livestream or other video platforms – again, this is another talking point to address COVID-19 and remain a competitive, industry-leading voice in the mind of the current job seeker.