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How to ensure your employer brand weathers the COVID-19 storm

While you may have taken all the right steps to safeguard your employees’ health during this pandemic, what about your employer brand?

How your company deals with the challenges from COVID-19 makes a big difference to whether your employer brand weathers this storm.

Here’s a few ways to steady your brand ship and keep it on course.

Think about what more you can do for your people

Treating your employees with compassion during these challenging times is one of the most important ways to nurture your employer brand. Whether they’re working from home, or transitioning back to the office, they’re still coping with a major shift in their work habits. That’s stressful.

As an employer, think about what you can do to ease their concerns. Perhaps an employee is worried about coming into the office as they have a vulnerable family member. Can you help them out with a temporary remote working option, and revise over time?

Or maybe a team member is struggling financially as their partner has been made redundant. Can you bring forward a bonus payment, or tweak your pay schedule to ensure they get paid earlier?

The bottom line here is this: any type of support you can offer financially and/or emotionally will be appreciated by your employees. But most importantly, it will be remembered. This secures some fierce loyalty that will do wonders for your employer brand.

Be transparent by sharing your roadmap

Saying nothing, or saying very little, about how you’re dealing with COVID challenges isn’t the best tactic. It can lead to employees to speculating and drawing their own (usually negative) conclusions.

Developing and sharing your roadmap for how you intend to move forward with your employees and wider community (which includes potential talent) is a key step in looking after your employer brand.

This involves:

1 Defining your message

Formulate your main messages for both employees and potential candidates, focusing on what each audience wants to hear. Cover touchpoints such as safety measures, job security and future business projections.

Explain how the actions you’re taking now – which may be negative – are aimed at safeguarding employees and the business down the track. If employees can see short-term pain is for long-term gain, they may more readily accept it.

2 Checking your message for tone and culture match

Data from a recent LinkedIn report shows employer branding messages have changed since the pandemic hit. It reveals that posts with the most engagement used words such as ‘health, support and help’. They were also very people-centric, with a focus on employees, frontline workers and local communities.

With this in mind, consider your messages’ tone of voice. Aim for authenticity over promotion, and avoid using humour as it can easily be taken the wrong way.

Lastly, check your messages align with your company mission, values and vision. Any mismatch here can breed mistrust, and that seriously hurts your employer brand.

3 Delivering your message properly

Ensure your message is clear and delivered consistently across all your communication channels – emails, meetings, socials and website. This helps employees and prospective talent easily understand what you’re doing to address the current challenges, and hopefully be impressed with your proactivity.

While nurturing your employer brand during this time may not be high up on your priority list, leaving it untended may damage your reputation beyond repair.

We hope these tips help you care for your employer brand, but if the task feels a little onerous, please let us know. We’d love to offer our support to see you through this trying time.


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