With all the uproar and preparedness planning as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, companies are scrambling to come up with remote working strategies for social distancing, having discussions on how to best manage existing talent and pipelines, going back to the drawing board on hiring forecasts for the year, and more. These are all essential adjustments necessary to ride this bumpy road. There’s so much to work on that front, that companies may overlook the fact that a time of crisis can often be the best opportunity to let your employer brand shine.
As an employer, how you handle challenges (especially those affecting your employees) speaks to the true nature of your employer brand. Whether you have an in-house recruitment marketing or employer brand team or you need outside assistance from an agency partner, now is the time to get to work. Here are some things to consider:
- Adding appropriate messaging on your website about how you're handling this difficult situation when it comes to your employees and candidates.
- If you're still interviewing, are you doing it in-person or virtually? In either case, make sure any modified hiring process is clear to candidates. You may want to create a best practices or FAQ landing page to help candidates and hiring managers to navigate the process.
- Take advantage of the remote interview confirmation and scheduling communications. Those instances are ideal to let candidates know you are putting their health and safety first. Make sure to use the right tone.
- In the near future, you are most likely not continuing with in-person events like career or hiring fairs. Make sure you handle communication about cancelations appropriately. The same goes if you are moving to virtual event options - use that communication to showcase your company DNA.
- If you are putting a hold on interviews and hiring, make sure to proactively communicate with those already enrolled in your pipeline. Messaging tone in this situation is even more important, so proceed carefully, but please proceed.
- Do you have a talent network (folks that raised their hand with interest to hear from you by providing you with an email address)? Now is the time to message them - you want to make sure your company remains top of mind as an employer.
- Don’t forget job descriptions. It may be worth modifying messaging in job descriptions of key roles to let your candidates know, how your company is handling the coronavirus situation and the steps being taken to protect employees. This is particularly important if you are in industries that will be ramping up hiring like healthcare or gig. Work with your recruitment marketing team on how to best promote those updated roles.
- When communicating careers/hiring-related information to candidates in this difficult time, it’s important to craft messaging with the appropriate tone for each channel - email, social media, and others.
- If you are using a chatbot on your careers site, make sure to update information and content to reflect questions that you may be getting regarding the new topic. Make sure to pay attention to the tone and use this as an opportunity to give your brand the personality that is aligned with your employer brand.
- Make modifications to your content strategy on social media. Are you still showing the “happy employee” during their workday? You may want to think about tweaking it a bit, you can keep it positive but closer to the actual reality of the moment. Here are some ideas:
- Possibly explore a ‘trust’ angle in your messaging and highlight what the company is doing to go through this difficult moment. Make sure to include how employees are contributing to the ultimate company goal.
- Possibly a ‘wellness’ or ‘safety’ angle would allow you to explain not only what the company is doing to keep employees safe, but also how employees are adapting with remote work and staying productive. You can showcase how communication flows internally to, ultimately, include and inform everyone.
- Promote remote digital activities (virtual interviews/career fairs) and how the company is adapting to the new way of doing business and recruit.
- Public shout outs to individuals and teams that are being creative and outperforming during this time would do great things to morale and also show externally that you are quick to recognize good work.
- Consider providing tips for candidates on how to proceed with their job search and job interviews (which now are most likely being done remotely).
- Recognize that many of the social content you will be sharing works not only for recruitment and employer brand, but also for the company overall brand. When you highlight what you are doing for your team and publicly recognize employees, you are showcasing to your clients and partners that work is still happening to the same level that they are used to, putting them at ease, as well. This is a great opportunity for you to start or improve your relationship with corporate communications. (If you share social channels with corporate communications, this article may be helpful for you.)
- Partner with corporate communications to showcase content that would benefit the employer image - using a mix of internal and external efforts to keep employees engaged and proud. This is a great moment to recruit employee advocates to promote the sense of pride in working for a company that is putting key steps in place to ride the wave the best way possible.
- If you have a culture of transparency, are you proactively communicating internally to appease employees' fears? If that communication is outstanding, it could be “leaked” to the public and showcase your company as an employer in the best light possible.
Most importantly, be thoughtful and careful with all the decisions and communications made during this time, or any time of crisis.
- Communicating with Employees During a Crisis (SHRM)
- 6 Crisis Communication Plan Examples & How to Write Your Own [Template] (Hubspot)
And don’t forget, you have an opportunity to elevate your employer brand if handled properly, but if not, you also have the opportunity to damage it. See this Wall Street Journal communication that leaked and generated a lot of chatter on Twitter.
Remember that how you handle the “storm” directly affects your ideal candidates’ perception of your company as an employer. If you give it the appropriate attention right now, you may be able to reap the benefits once the storm has passed. You have a chance to increase your reach and even improve perception if you thoughtfully and authentically showcase your employer brand in times of crisis.
We’d love to hear what you’ve been doing to showcase your brand during this time, make sure to connect with us on social media. Would you like to discuss more ideas on how to promote your employer brand? We are one email away.
Want more recruitment marketing resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak? Check out our information hub.
Posted by Adriana Kevill
Adriana has over 20 years of experience working on marketing and digital strategies. She has also been part of the localization industry - giving her a unique insight into different cultures and international business. The “why not?” attitude that stems from her fiery personality combined with the fact that she is seldom satisfied with the status quo, enabled her to build two departments from scratch: Search Marketing and Social Media. By helping clients from several industries (financial technology, engineering, healthcare, etc.), she is equipped with a distinctive vantage point on recruitment marketing strategies, challenges, and opportunities. Getting personal: • Incurable chocoholic • Small talk defiant • Lover of lattes, flip-flops and white sandy beaches • World traveler • Wine over beer • Admirer of great art and design • Crazy mom in beta • Professional observer enthralled by the ‘social’ web