Employer brand holds a lot of attention in the HR community, to the extent that 80% of talent acquisition managers think it significantly impacts a company's ability to hire and 86% of HR professionals say recruitment today feels more like marketing. And all this is for good reason, as 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important and 50% wouldn't take a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if it came with a pay increase.
Unfortunately, important but not urgent priorities like employer brand have a way of falling out of the spotlight when crisis strikes. While some industries are surging with demand and bringing on new hires, others are making tough decisions in the interest of cost-cutting.
Before you make any decisions, it's important to consider that your employer brand will stick with your company through and long past the impact of the coronavirus in 2020. So, instead of losing all of your progress by backing away from investing in your employees and your reputation, we want to offer three simple ways you can continue to build and grow a positive employer brand:
1. Respond to COVID-19 in a way that aligns with your company values
In one study, Glassdoor found that 75% of respondents think companies whose C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about their core mission, brand values, and purpose are more trustworthy. That's why it's critical your organization step up to respond to the coronavirus crisis in a way that's in alignment with its company values.
For example, Walmart, which has built an employer brand focused on the community, has organized relief funds for local communities, adjusted its attendance requirements for employees affected by COVID, and added two weeks of paid leave for any employees with symptoms, extendable up to 26 weeks for both full- and part-time hourly employees.
And the online bank Ally, with an employer brand focused on support and care, quickly crafted an extensive list of employee supports, such as a $1200 tax-free payment for employees making less than $100,000 in annual base compensation, paid medical leave for COVID-19 diagnoses, expanded childcare support, and more.
Both of these brands will see the value in these investments in the response of employees and prospective hires long after shelter-in-place orders are lifted.
Keep Reading: How to Help Employees Avoid Fearing Shutdowns
2. Don't cut benefits - use them
The average company spends $100-1200 per employee on health and wellness benefits throughout the year. Typically this is just considered part of the benefits package. But during COVID-19, these line items become potential costs to cut in order to save money.
Of course, your organization needs to do what it needs to do, and that may involve cutting or suspending certain benefits to weather the crisis. But if it's just one of many alternatives, you could build significant goodwill with your employees by leaning into these benefits and making the most of them during a tough time.
For example, many companies opt to cover employee's gym subscription costs with national chains like Gold's Gym and Crunch, which have responded to the pandemic by streaming virtual exercise programs. Instead of cancelling these benefits during COVID-19, it could provide much needed stress relief and team-building to organize optional remote workouts during business hours. Encourage employees to explore and use other benefits like tele-medicine, remote nurse lines, and digital tobacco cessation programs offer opportunities for self-care throughout a challenging time.
3. Be a resource to your employees
Media consumption is estimated to spike as much as 60% as the knowledge workforce relocates to remote home offices, which has led to reports of overwhelm in work, life, media, and more. As the current state of quarantine and social isolation continues, employees will feel torn between a desire to be informed and a desire to protect themselves from media burnout. And this is the perfect opportunity for companies to organize need-to-know information in one place and act as a resource to employees.
Keep Reading: Don't Let Social Distancing Stop Employee Development
Several companies have taken this approach, with examples like Amazon's dayone blog, which is updated daily, and Google's The Keyword blog continuing the trend. For your organization, this could be as simple as creating and maintaining a COVID thread in your Slack or Teams platform where employees can go for relevant updates, or a weekly internal newsletter or web page - what matters is that your employees feel you are doing your part to keep them informed about what's relevant to them. And use Company Updates on Glassdoor to keep the broader community of job seekers and Followers appraised of what you're doing as a company to keep your people safe and secure.
Investing Now Builds a Better Brand for Later
In recent headlines, business mogul Mark Cuban implores companies to be careful during the pandemic, noting that how organizations approach this time will define their brand for decades. We couldn't agree more. So, even as your organization puts first things first to maintain operations during COVID-19, it's critical to consider how you will continue to support your employees and build an employer brand that serves you in the long run.
Glassdoor's COVID-19 Resources