Companies have paused, reset themselves, and are slowly working towards building their recovery plans to face what has now been termed the new or the next normal. Even global employer branding leaders of the largest renowned brands, such as Vodafone, Airbnb, Amazon, and Rolls Royce have confirmed that they do not have the answers right now and that they are learning as they innovate. With employee engagement central to organisations more than ever before, one thing that they are paying close attention to is how best to reframe and reposition their employer value proposition (EVP) in order to deliver on their employer brand promise.
In employer branding, the EVP is the message that reminds employees why they are working for a company and tells potential candidates why they should consider that company to be an ideal employer. The pillars that typically make up your EVP need to hold relevance as they impact how your organisation is being perceived through the pandemic. Jörgen Sundberg, CEO of Link Humans shares a great podcast on how to effectively review and communicate the thinking around the various pillars to address our present crisis.
These pillars need to be reviewed to cater for how companies are communicating to their audience segments both internally and externally.
‘Passion’ and ‘purpose’ are popular values that many companies share within their EVP but can be understood differently from one company to the next, depending on how high they sit on organisations’ respective hierarchies of needs. In sectors providing essential services such as healthcare services, food supply, and vital public services, ‘passion’ and ‘purpose’ will indeed be key drivers that motivate unsung heroes to continue working.
Likewise, these reasons might attract future candidates yearning to work for an organisation that serves a great cause.
Once employer brand leaders have redefined their EVP’s to resonate with the talent market sentiments, the following factors should be considered:
1 Develop a Covid-19 communication plan
Identify your various audience groups (that is, your. employees, candidates, recruiters, hiring managers and external recruitment partners) and map out the nature of the ongoing communication content and Covid-19 guidelines, and ascertain the most effective and ideal channels of communication. Employees are seeking recognition, support, openness and transparency with ongoing communications from their leaders. Authenticity and personalisation are now key to how the employee is receiving care from their leaders.
2 Audit your existing content
Conduct a full audit on the content pieces, scrutinising all your social media channels and any email marketing that you have possibly scheduled to ensure that your messages don’t come across as “tone deaf” and insensitive.
Ensure that all imagery and creative elements are appropriate and that the tone and narrative of all your communication are positive, empathetic and reflects information relevant to all your current talent management activities. All automated communications generated by your ATS (Applicant Tracking System) must contain the appropriate messaging to candidates.
3 Now could be a good time to create an EVP
Some employer branding specialists believe that if you have not developed an EVP yet, now would be a great time to start. Alternatively, reassess and redevelop your pre-existing EVP by checking in with leaders and employees to hear whether it still aligns with their realities of our changing world.
4 Drive your EVP through employee-generated content
Companies are placing their employees at the forefront when creating and sharing their stories thus bringing their EVP’s to light. Demonstrated behaviours, values, and cultures of companies are being brought to life through employees and leaders providing everyday hero stories or relaying activity around remote workers holding team sprint meetings, coffee breaks, town halls and the like. Vodafone’s #stayconnected campaign is a great example of this.
5 Partner closely with marketing to address your global community
During a crisis, all audience labels/identities should be eliminated, with employees, candidates, customers and followers being considered as part of your collective community versus separate entities. Essentially, everyone is sharing similar concerns, anxieties and hopes and through partnering with your marketing and communications department, some of their great principles can be applied to employer brands.
6 Reassess the value that leaders bring to the table
With many companies having placed their recruitment on hold, now is the perfect time for you, as leaders to take an inward focus on reassessing how you can extend your value beyond recruitment and HR. Employer branding is associated with talent attraction and candidate management, with consideration seldom given to branding from the inside out. By infusing the brand across all the touchpoints in the employee lifecycle, you can enhance the employee experience to one of engagement and retention.
It is in times like this that all levels of hierarchy are stripped and the culture and values that companies profess to instil are being put to the test. This crisis is “the equaliser” where collective innovation from the entire organisation is required. ”Never let a good crisis go to waste” Winston Churchill.
(first published by CHRO South Africa on 24 May 2020)