In times of rapid change (hello, Right Now, how are things?), it’s inevitable that organizations assess their talent acquisition function to determine how to support today’s climate and tomorrow’s needs. While we may be able to shift some responsibilities, we simply cannot remove core areas that allow us to thrive as a talent acquisition function. One particular area that comes up during times like this, is “Do we still need resources to manage our Employer Brand?” The answer is “YES! Absolutely!”
Here are just a few things to think about before considering any changes in your employer brand management resources.
The conversation has shifted
If we think about prior to 2001, those of us fighting for IT talent found ourselves talking with candidates about the happy hours, the free sodas and foosball tables in each hallway. Candidates wanted to brag about all of the cool perks (and the high salaries) that were included in their offers. Then 9/11 happened. After learning how to deal with the grief and the shock and the unknown, candidates were no longer asking for bragging rights. They wanted to be closer to home. They wanted a work-life balance. The candidate’s values changed and employers needed to explain how they shared those same values.
And here we are today, in the midst of a global crisis. While we’re still living with quite a bit of uncertainty, we know yesterday’s conversations won’t have the same relevance. We may not know yet what that new conversation will be. If you have an employer brand team, they will certainly keep a pulse on the talent audience and help you pivot. If you don't, seriously consider tapping a team resource to monitor your brand. This isn’t changing who you are as an organization, it’s ensuring your talent audience hears what is valuable to them. One topic you can guarantee everyone will want to know is “How did the employer support their employees during this time.” Many lost family and friends, many more lost jobs. Both are unforgettable moments in everyone’s life. Support just might be that one value that bubbles up to the top like work-life balance did after 9/11. Keeping an eye on your employer brand will help guide you through this shifting conversation to continue delivering your authentic self as an employer.
According to the corporate communications team at government contractor KBR, they are focusing on telling stories that highlight the strengths of their people in the face of crisis.
"We’re now delivering messages that focus on the resiliency of our employees and their ability to continue 'business as usual' in these unprecedented times. We also want to tell stories of our employees helping their coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members in any way possible. Some of our recent social media posts regarding COVID19, particularly ones with the hashtag #InThisTogether, speak to that regard."
The available talent audience has grown
You’ve worked so hard to get your message across to your personas in a tight market. You’ve done a pretty good job creating a candidate experience that is reflective of how your organization operates. You’ve done this while working in an environment with as low as a 3.5% unemployment rate. With projections of 12.5% and rising, you can expect your voice to be heard even by those who never thought of you before. Making sure your authentic message connects to your target audience, will not change, however, it’s equally important that your message doesn’t connect with the wrong target audience. Continuing my 15+ year cry of “you don’t want everyone, you only want the right ones”. With so many more ears listening, you’ll need to articulate your story with the notion of wanting those who aren’t a fit, to self-select themselves out. Control the message to help potential candidates recognize you’re not the organization for them while providing more opportunity to focus on those who are right for your organization.
Employer-driven market shouldn't mean a poor candidate experience
As mentioned above, we know there will be quite a bit more candidates in the marketplace looking for a great place to work. They may also consider roles where their qualifications may be a bit more of a stretch for the roles to which they may apply. The number of candidates along with their expanding interests, you can expect to see an increase in less-qualified candidates. Don’t forget their experience matters just the same as those who match your needs. The old adage will never go away - people are more likely to talk about a poor experience than a positive one. Without a positive candidate experience, the negative experience will only be amplified with the volume you can expect to have. It’s important to have a resource to ensure a positive candidate experience is received by all, no matter where they may be connecting with your brand.
This is a trying time for everyone. Not losing sight of your employer brand is as important today as it always. Neglecting to shift the conversation, not allowing the talent audience to self-select out and creating a poor candidate experience, will only make your recruiting efforts more challenging than ever before.
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