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Pandemic-Friendly Employer Branding – Guest Article

Employer branding has been a hot topic over the last few years, with the concept growing exponentially in size when the job market became more candidate-driven in the 2010s. Already in this very young decade, we’ve seen a switch to a more employer-driven market due to the impact of Coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean employer branding is going away. US-based Hinge Research Institute have just produced their Employer Branding Study, which shows that employer branding is just as prevalent and important as ever.

Employer branding is all about what makes you the kind of employer that someone wants to work for. It gives candidates an idea of your culture, your values and your beliefs. While employer branding took off predominantly to allow companies to differentiate themselves from competitors, it also serves three other purposes which remain significant even in this switch to fewer available roles for more available candidates.

  1. Googling

Since the introduction of platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed, candidates have moved more towards researching potential employers as part of their recruitment process. In fact, the Employer Branding Study found that job seekers rated the Company culture as being as important as salary and compensation when considering roles, putting these two criteria at joint first place. If no employer branding is present or there are negative reviews online, this can prevent talented candidates from accepting offered roles.

  1. Culture Fit

For employers, cultural fit was cited as the most important thing when recruiting new talent, deeming it more important than work history and relevant experience. A strong employer brand and clarity around the culture can prevent candidates from applying to organisations with the wrong culture for them, and this isn’t a bad thing. While change in culture from a new person being brought in can sometimes be a good thing, it’s often a catalyst for further issues down the line, including retention of other members of staff.

  1. Business Impact

Consumers’ Purchase Decisions and Employer Image (Rybaczewska et al, 2020) found that employer brand and employer image influenced consumers’ decisions over whether to purchase goods and services, stating that, “Employer image was considered as similarly or even equally meaningful as the network brand, originality of the marketing activities, media campaigns and image of the network as a service provider.”

So now that we understand that employer branding is just as important even during the COVID-19 period, how can employers manage this during these unprecedented times? The Employer Branding Study found that employees were more likely to be actively seeking work if they were dissatisfied with their employers’ responses to the pandemic. Of those employees who were actively seeking work, 56% expressed negative views of how their employer had handled COVID-19, as opposed to just 7% of non-job seekers. When analysing the reasons behind the negative views, 56% of employees cited a lack of plan or delayed action as the biggest reason why they were unhappy with the organisation’s pandemic response, followed by poor communication. Obviously, it’s not possible to have a concrete plan during such an unpredictable environment. However, it’s evident that some kind of plan needs to be in place. Employers need to understand this and implement adaptable, flexible and contingent pandemic response initiatives that are well-communicated and regularly reviewed. Having some kind of plan, even if it’s likely to change, is evidently more favourable to employees than having none at all.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a pandemic response plan? What issues have you faced with employer branding during the pandemic?

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