Employer branding is not just meant to attract and hire new talent. A large portion of it also covers ‘employee experience’. Do you treat your employees with dignity? Do you care for them? Amidst the pandemic when many businesses are forced to make the tough decision of streamlining their business processes or switching to a remote working model, employer branding is now put to test.

We are already experiencing a lot of talent out there who are discussing how a certain company is helping its employees to set up their home office, or how a company is not offering any more sick leaves, or how a company has gone flexible with its stringent policy of work hours. So, it is evident that a lot will matter and reflect in the coming days depending on how you support and treat your employees during this time of crisis.

Here are two examples of companies that have just done right with their employer branding during the pandemic. 

Airbnb’s Communication

Amidst the pandemic, Airbnb had to let go of a huge number of their employees. It is said to be one of the largest layoffs in Silicon Valley during the pandemic. But, the way the Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky has communicated the news to its employees will surely pay off in years to come.

First of all, he had been completely transparent to his people, he made a clear point on the cuts that the company was making which made it obvious to eliminate the roles and not the people. Finally, his empathetic and compassionate tone set the right tone for this extremely difficult communication. Surely, Airbnb would be looked upon as a preferred employer in the coming years.

Here is a portion of the note that Airbnb sent out its people. 

Walmart’s Communication

Here is another example of great employer branding from Walmart. Quite opposite to the Airbnb story, Walmart is one of those few organizations that did well during the pandemic. They had to do a mass hiring of 150,000 employees to meet up with their demand.

The Walmart CEO Dough McMillon visited many of the Walmart stores talking to its frontline employees during the pandemic. He took it to his LinkedIn profile to talk and share the experience so that his employees and future employees can know what their leader was doing during the pandemic – caring for his people. Take a look.

If you want to improve your employer branding during the pandemic and beyond, here are some pointers for you:

  1. Employee First: The first step towards building a positive employee experience and strengthen your employer brand is to build on an ‘employee-first’ culture. Be empathetic, flexible, engaging with your employees. Understand their plight and respond with dignity and care. 
  1. Build a positive brand across the PESO media: PESO or paid, earned, shared, and owned media covers every aspect of branding and building brand awareness. Now is the time to build your positive brand image across the PESO media. Write a blog, share a post, put a video message. Leverage social media. PESO media helps you to connect and engage with your present and future employees positively when done right.
  1. It’s time to put your leadership skill to test: During trying times like this, employees look up to their leaders for guidance and assurance. How you deal with the situation now will impact your business in the coming years. Lead them with a lot of compassion and empathy, at the same time be determined and resilient.
  1. Communicate: Increase your brand loyalty by communicating with your employees. Leverage social media platforms to engage with your present employees along with your future potential employees. Proactive and frequent communication helps build trust, especially in times of such crisis. 
  1. Be honest and transparent: When amidst a crisis, you need to maintain transparency at all times. Be honest in all your communications. Keep it simple and straightforward so that there is no room for assumption which may lead to anxiety or panic. 
  1. Take care of your customers too: While it is important to take care of your employees, it is equally important to keep your customers in mind too. Brands that take care of their customers have a significant impact on increasing the trust in their brand and employer branding too. 

As Randstad mentioned in one of their reports, the strongest brands are going to be resilient and would be able to limit the damage. If you’re neglecting your employer branding it is high time you pay attention to it. As Randstad says, “…companies that are going to ignore employer branding altogether now, and not give it any attention again until the economy and the labor market start to recover, will be the losers of tomorrow’s labor market.”