COVID-19 Recovery: Here’s Why Your Employer Brand is Vital

Getting your employer brand right in readiness of a post-COVID-19 revival

Employer brand is the reputation your organisation has with your own employees and the wider employment market. In real terms, your employer brand brings to life your employee value proposition which facilitates recruiting and retaining talent. 

Facilitate recruiting, talent acquisition strategies and increase employee retention with a strong EVP

In straight forward terms, your employer branding is how you market your organisation, both internally and externally, which means the better you are at building a strong employer brand, the more likely you are to have the best pick of talent available.

The benefit of having a strong Employer Brand?

But what’s the benefit of having a strong employer brand?

Well, a strong employer brand is vital for the success of your organisation, which is only as good as the talent it has operating within it. Which means having a strong employer brand is critical in the pursuit of attracting & retaining the talent you need to take your organisation forward, whilst competing in ever competitive and increasingly challenging markets.

This is especially true now, as despite the current challenges presented by the Global Coronavirus pandemic, and despite the downturn of some business operations, there continues to be, in many essential business sectors a continuation of the highly competitive need to acquire top talent.

“The job market is tougher than it’s been since The Great Depression,” says Eleesha Martin, recruiting process outsourcing manager of G&A Partners

Demand for talent consistently outstrips supply, in sectors such as technology, engineering and healthcare and it’s safe to say, that the uncertainty and instability of the ongoing pandemic, hasn’t impacted many of those critical sectors from talent.

This coupled with the global talent shortage having doubled in the past decade, more than half of international businesses polled, at 54%, reported skills shortages, according to a report by Manpower Group on closing the skills gap.

Closing the Skills Gap: What Workers Want | Source: ManpowerGroup
Closing the Skills Gap: What Workers Want | Source: ManpowerGroup

This quite simply means that if you’re a business operating in any sector, with a need to attract, recruit and retain talent in any one of the most in-demand, top 10 areas which include:

  1. Skilled trades: Electricians, welders, mechanics
  2. Sales & Marketing: Sales representatives/managers, graphic designers
  3. Technicians: Quality controllers, technical staff
  4. Engineering: Chemical, electrical, civil, mechanical
  5. Driving and Logistics: Truck, delivery, construction, mass transit
  6. IT: Cybersecurity experts, network administrators, technical support
  7. Accounting & Finance:  Certified accountants, auditors, financial analysts
  8. Manufacturing: Production & machine operators
  9. Construction: Labourers
  10. Healthcare: Doctors, nurses & other non-nursing health professionals

Then focusing on your employer brand, to ensure it is strong, compelling and truly representative of your employer value proposition (EVP) is all the more vital right now.

Why focus on employer brand now?

There’s no mistaking that the pandemic has proven to be a difficult time for employers and employee’s alike. With many organisations having little choice to accept the guidance issued by the UK government to cease operating temporarily or change the premise of operations as a short term response to halt the spread of Coronavirus.

These actions have for many organisations inevitably resulted in redundancies, pay cuts and lengthy furlough periods. Which will for you as an employer, resulted in your workforce having decreased. Conversely, for many critical service organisations, there has been a period of significantly increased demand on the services or products your organisation provides.

Yet as the recovery from COVID-19 gathers pace, with workplaces in manufacturing and construction having already begun the re-opening process. And none essential retailers, poised to resume trading again from the middle of June onwards, it’s a probability that the focus on recruiting and retaining talent will also need to return to focus once more.

However, we now find ourselves in a time where people are evaluating the response and handling of matters in response to the pandemic, and this evaluation process is extended firmly to organisations of all sizes.

The somewhat inevitable questions being asked by prospective employee’s and current ones are, “how did the employer treat its employees through this really difficult time”? “Would the behaviour of this organisation in response to the pandemic, align with the values that I have myself and be ones that I would want to become a part of”?

A good example of how people are now thinking about brands in their response to COVID-19 can be seen in a ranking of high street brands compiled by Lewis Cotter a communications and design specialist. The ranking details everything from how an organisation stepped up to provide additional or concessionary services to front line workers, through to how many redundancies have been made, along with how suppliers of the organisation were treated, as the pandemic unfolded.

Coronavirus: Which shops have treated workers well?
Coronavirus: Which shops have treated workers well?

This evaluation is a strong example of the performance and rating culture we more widely find ourselves in and is evident in employer ratings available via the company compassion site Glassdoor. As an insight into organisations, the website provides ratings, reviews and internal insights into the ways in which an organisation operates and what it’s like to actually work for them. With all reviews written by people who both work there, or may have worked there in the past.

With the knowledge that current employees can rate your organisation for all to see and that prospective employees can easily access this information, the case for ensuring you’re managing your employer brand and value proposition is made all the clearer.

How valuable is an employer brand in attracting quality talent?

Given that the demand for talent continues to outstrip supply, potential employees find themselves in a position of strength and choice. Potential employees are also faced with a more emphasized desire to potentially stay put in their existing role, particularly as any move to a new one, would result in reduced employment rights and protections, resulting from their having less than two years service.

Yet despite the fact that HR professionals and business leaders alike are currently faced with a time of so many conflicting and challenging people priorities, placing the employer brand towards the lower end of the burgeoning priority list is not the right move.

The best workers do the best and the most work. But many companies do an awful job of finding and keeping them

The value of having a strong employer brand and the benefits to be achieved by having one, is evident in a report by Mckinsey on attracting and retaining the right talent. Within it, the data demonstrates how from a study of more than 600,000 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and athletes found that high performers are 400 per cent more productive than average ones.

Studies of businesses as part of the report went on to show similar results to those captured within the study, whilst also revealing that the gap grows with job complexity. This means that “in highly complex roles, the information and interaction-intensive work of managers, software developers, and the like—high performers are an astounding 800 per cent more productive.” 

This insight into the advantages to be gained by your organisation in the attraction of top talent, offer a strong rational into why getting your employer brand right and placing the focus on this, will pay dividends in the long term thanks to the talent you’re able to attract.

How to adapt to the demands of this period

It’s also valuable to remember that employer brand is not only about recruitment, but also about retention and employee engagement. How successfully organisations are able to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will depend partially on the engagement of current employees.

Your employer brand from an internal standpoint, at this time of pandemic will include how well your organisation communicated changes in working patterns, remuneration or bonus payments. How well, your organisation handled consultations should redundancy situations have occurred, how active your organisation was in supporting the wider efforts by front line workers and those impacted by Coronavirus. And crucially how prepared you were as an organisation to go above and beyond in supplying your employee’s with everything that was needed to perform their roles safely.

Everything that your organisation can do at this time to support engagement and morale, is essential to your employer brand.

What should an employer branding strategy focus on now?

The focus for employer branding strategy now is two-fold, focusing on the engagement and retention of current employees, whilst ensuring your brand reputation is managed effectively.

With thousands of employees who may have been furloughed or working away from the typical office environment, a lot of employees will be evaluating the ‘why’ in the roles they perform, along with contemplating whether your organisation is one in which they see themselves operating in for the long haul.

The opportunity presented to employer branding strategy by this pandemic is to focus on what your organisations ‘why’ is, whilst ensuring the message on this is well understood by your current and prospective employee’s. This is also a call to action for HR leaders and business leaders, to really address any issues that may not have been effectively tackled pre-COVID.

How well are your people policies and initiatives serving your employee’s? How progressive has your organisation been in adopting innovative ways of working, through flexibility and agility? How good has your organisation been at supported employee’s learning, development and upskilling in pursuit of advancement? It’s these core areas of focus that not only strategise your employee brand but go a long way to helping ensure your organisation is a truly great place to work.

Bringing it all together

The vitalness of your employer brand in the COVID-19 recovery is unmistakable.

Taking the steps to shift or renew focus on wider people strategy, evaluating the effectiveness of your HR software solution is an essential part of your employee brand readiness.

Having a strong employee brand is one high-value component of your people strategy, but having HR software that effectively supports your endeavours to take your brand to market, is high value too. You’re really seeking software like the offering from CakeHR, which can accelerate your recruitment process with automated tracking, on-demand applicant screening and advanced analytics. Which when you consider how vital the recruitment process is to cement the strength of your employer brand in the mind of potential employee’s, there’s no mistaking the value-add that your HR software solution will provide.  

Jade.


HR management software app system CakeHR human resources
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HR management software app system CakeHR human resources
HR management software app system CakeHR human resources

CakeHR is an award-winning HR software company that provides attendance, performance and recruitment management for customers worldwide. More information at www.cake.hr

Written By

Jade Taryn Graham

Founder of Inspired Talent.co a people & talent strategic consultancy working with tech, finance & startup companies worldwide. Jade is a contributing writer for CakeHR and shares her knowledge on people, process & strategies to improve the world of work.