Integrated Human Capital

Building a Strong Employer Brand Through Coronavirus & Beyond

June 11, 2020

In the current state of affairs, the adage “actions speak louder than words” seems to have taken on renewed vigor. Given the sudden upheaval resulting from the coronavirus, companies of all sizes have been rallying their communication efforts around empathy, support, and safety to show their commitment to the well-being of their employees and the community. In doing so, these companies are also developing their employer brands.

Well-thought-out communication is key to creating an employer brand that builds trust with your employees, and cultivating a trustworthy brand can directly impact your hiring costs and even your bottom line. According to LinkedIn, a positive employer brand can reduce your recruiting costs “by roughly 43%,” and the Harvard Business Review has noted that, based on observational data, for every one-star increase in employer ratings on Glassdoor, there was a corresponding 1.3-point improvement—on a scale of 100—in regards to customer satisfaction scores.

But communication isn’t the only aspect of creating a strong employer brand. In fact, the relationship is more reflective of a process of action preceding communication. Henry Ford put it best when he said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Creating a strong employer brand requires dedication to continuously improving the workplace with employees’ well-being in mind, and it’s important to treat this process with the same regard as you would any other KPI. In fact, successful brand-building strategies should incorporate their own unique metrics.

If you’ve given any thought recently to measuring your employer brand and employee experience, you’re not alone. According to Jeanne Meister, a partner with Future Workplace, via Forbes, in Future Workplace’s 2020 HR Sentiment Survey, employee experience ranked first among 50% of HR and business leaders surveyed in regards to top initiatives for 2020.

Figure 1: Source: The 2020 HR Sentiment Survey, Future Workplace LLC

Whatever position your company is in, here are 5 key considerations when you’re ready to acquaint yourself with or revisit your employer brand:

Your employer brand plays an important role in determining your retention rate now and in the future.

You will always have positions being filled and new ones opening, but you have some control over the rate at which you’re gaining and losing employees. As The Muse puts it, by delivering “on the employer brand promises you make during the recruiting process, you’ll enable your company to make better hires and retain more employees.”

How you react during this pandemic will have a lasting impact on how your organization is perceived by current and potential employees.

It may seem like there isn’t a clear end in sight, but we will eventually leave this pandemic behind us. However, you won’t be able to leave perceptions as an employer behind with it. Consider how your actions and communication now will impact the way current and potential employees will perceive your company.

Your employees are your best resource for understanding how your employer brand is perceived.

Your employer brand is based on your employees’ perceptions, so it’s important to measure employee satisfaction to understand if the brand is in alignment with your goals. A low-impact way to gain insight into brand perceptions is through surveying your team. Google Forms and Survey Monkey are two user-friendly options at little to no cost! Try to ensure that your questions are quantifiable rather than qualifiable. This will allow you to benchmark your results and measure improvement. And be sure to survey consistently to continuously engage your employees. Employees’ motivations and priorities are subject to change, as has been evidenced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Choose the right hiring partner that understands your employer brand and recognizes its impact.

If you partner with a staffing agency to assist you with your talent search and recruitment efforts, make sure they understand your employer brand and your value proposition. Ask them how they’re presenting what being an employee of your organization is like to job seekers. Staffing firms are an extension of your company, and they often provide the first impression potential employees will have of your business.

Priorities have been shifting toward well-being and remote work options; COVID-19 has simply sped this up.

Employee priorities had been on a consistent trend toward favoring perks and benefits outside the norms (competitive salary, employer insurance, paid time off, etc.), including work-from-home options and flexible hours. With so many businesses having shifted their employees to remote work or staggering hours to reduce the number of people in the workplace to mitigate the coronavirus’ spread, a significant portion of the workforce has been thrust into a new reality where these perks are commonplace. Companies like Nationwide and Barclays have already stated that some positions that weren’t remote before the pandemic will remain remote permanently.

If you haven’t already, now is the time develop your employer brand’s message and to ensure that your words are representative of your actions. By putting in the work, you’ll better engage employees, reduce hiring costs, and create happier customers. In whatever way you choose to tackle managing your employer brand, you can’t go wrong in being consistent, supportive, and positive amid the chaos.

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We’re dedicated to delivering customized staffing solutions and ensuring a best-fit match between employers and job-seekers. Our business is driven by the relationships we build with our clients and employees. IHC is your partner for success!

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