We are no doubt facing difficult times, with the global coronavirus pandemic unraveling and possibilities of a recession looming closer.
Despite all the uncertainty that lies ahead, it is certain that the crunch for talent will still remain and will eventually intensify. How your business reacts at a time like this will absolutely reflect on your brand.
Here are just a few reasons why:
Although there might be reductions in hiring now, companies will still need talent possessing the right blend of business knowledge and managerial skills to fill critical positions
When the economy starts to rebound, the war for talent will be amplified, making it more challenging than ever for companies to attract, develop and most importantly retain key talent
Sure, more people might be on the hunt for jobs then - but that doesn’t mean they have the niche and specialised skills (which are also the ones in higher and increasing demand)
This is why employer branding matters right now - even when it feels like the world seems to be slowing to a halt. You don’t want to be playing the waiting game for the right talent to come along later on, while witnessing your business competitors swiftly bouncing back onto the road to recovery.
Whatever industry you are in, there is no better time than now to think through and re-evaluate your talent strategies - these strategies should aim to not only attract and retain talent, but also motivate your current workforce for the long run.
Working on your Employer Brand and Culture
The goal here is to make your brand a talent magnet, particularly to the talent pools out there possessing the capabilities to help your business achieve strategic goals and competitive advantage.
We all know there are a myriad of ways to strengthen employer branding, from having a clearly defined vision and mission, social media, digital content, to candidate experience. Most companies already have some form of employer branding in place which expresses their organizational culture and values.
Some ideas to consider when crafting your branding strategy are:
Who are you trying to attract? For example, if you’re looking to grow a young team of millenials, think about what engages them most. Whether it be flexible working arrangements, CSR programmes, or training budgets, find a way to make these drivers an integral part of your employer brand.
What makes your organisational culture unique, and what kind of talent will thrive best in this culture?
What are the vision, mission and goals of your business?
Do you already have a robust employee engagement and branding team/system in place? If not, what can be done to focus on such efforts?
The key here to really strengthen your brand is to make it stand out from the rest, and also be consistent. Identify the unique qualities of the business which fulfil people at work and make people enjoy working there, and from there work on your messaging and engagement efforts. If you are curating messaging to cater to varying demographics and talent pools, remember to make sure to keep it consistent and aligned with the overall branding as well.
An example of a brand with strong employer branding and culture is PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) - On their careers page you’ll see them say: “At PwC every career is different. That’s why we help you design your own. At PwC you will have personal ownership of your career path...”
You’ll then also see employee stories showcasing individual employees through their own stories, Q&As and career path. This helps to give job seekers an engaging form of preview into how PwC could help meet their long term career goals, and also the kind of inspiring people and environment they will be exposed to should they come onboard. The content they constantly push out also showcase how they provide staff with the tools and resources to help flourish on both the work and personal front. By backing what they say with real people and stories, PwC definitely does a stellar job in selling a lifelong career in accounting (which I know personally, is not the most attractive)!
The existing culture in your workforce and employer branding also goes hand in hand. When both are strong and aligned, people who are already in the company can also become effective advocates for your business, as they thrive on the robust and unique connection between them and you, the employer.
Last but not least, this is not solely in the hands of the HR or Communications department. Whether at the C-suite or at the individual employee level, employer branding is everyone’s responsibility, to live, breathe and sustain the brand.
Investing time and resources in employer branding during such times might seem counterintuitive; It’s no easy feat for sure, to keep costs low while also working on the long term appeal to those crucial talent pools. While we don’t know for sure if a full-blown recession is in the works, what we can do now is to look far ahead and continue to position our businesses and brands to achieve that lasting advantage in key talent markets - you’ll reap the rewards down the line for sure!