Employer Branding Strategies for the COVID Era

Coronavirus (COVID-19) employer Recruiting

The employer brand is an essential component of your recruiting and talent acquisition process. A company’s brand helps define the type of culture that’s in place and showcases what it’s like to work there. A strong brand is vital for attracting top talent, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, is branding as important as it was pre-COVID-19?

New survey findings released by The Manifest reveal just how important the employer brand is in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Manifest surveyed 500 hiring managers to find out which employer branding strategies businesses should employ, which could benefit them during COVID-19.

When sharing the survey’s key findings, The Manifest also took it one step further and offered some ideas on how HR professionals and hiring managers can revamp their strategies in the COVID era. These key findings include:

  • 98% of companies promote open positions online.
    • COVID-19 Tip: Companies must keep positions up to date to avoid confusing or disappointing jobseekers.
  • 57% of hiring managers have used social media to promote their company’s employer brand in the past year.
    • COVID-19 Tip: Social media is a fast way to reach millions of people looking for jobs, so try posting your job openings to various social media sites for better candidate reach.
  • 71% of HR professionals use job boards to promote open positions online.
    • COVID-19 Tip: Implement HR software to help hiring managers keep positions up to date on multiple platforms at once.
  • 70% of jobseekers value a commitment to diversity in potential employers.
    • COVID-19 Tip: Hiring managers should promote their plans to create a more equitable environment in their workplace.
  • 91% of hiring managers promote benefits to attract job candidates.
    • COVID-19 Tip: Consider promoting benefits such as health care and paid time off (PTO) as part of an employer brand.
  • 33% of hiring managers promote flexible remote work options in their employer brand. 
    • COVID-19 Tip: Avoid promoting in-office perks while hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creating a COVID-Friendly Employer Brand in 2020

Let’s face it: A lot has changed rather quickly in 2020. We went from record lows in unemployment numbers to record highs in a matter of weeks, and as employers begin to reopen and bring workers back, a COVID-friendly employer brand will make all the difference in your quest to attract top talent.

Fortunately, Kelsey McKeon, a content writer for The Manifest, shares four ways your organization can revamp its brand in the COVID era:

1. Job posts must have accurate information. Imagine what kind of first impression you’re giving jobseekers if they apply for an “open” position with your company only to receive an e-mail saying your company is in a hiring freeze. This frustration can lead to a bad candidate experience, and even though we’re in the COVID era, candidate experience is still an important aspect of the recruiting process.

“Employers must share accurate information about available jobs during COVID-19 and when jobs are no longer open or available,” says McKeon. “As businesses begin to hire again during and after COVID-19, hiring managers should use employer branding channels to keep prospective applicants in the loop about hiring plans.”

2. Showcase your diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. With 70% of jobseekers saying a company’s commitment to D&I is important when evaluating a potential employer, it is imperative that your D&I initiatives be front and center. To showcase your D&I efforts, you can start by adding an equal opportunity employer statement on your career pages that addresses your hiring practices.

And in the current climate of Black Lives Matter protests, McKeon suggests taking it one step further and showing your support on social media or through press releases. “Sharing any statements of solidarity also helps demonstrate to potential hires your company’s commitment to equality in the workplace,” McKeon adds.

3. Highlight your COVID-friendly benefits. Gone are the days of trendy perks like beer carts and Ping-Pong tables; it’s worth noting that this trend was starting to phase out before COVID-19 even came along. But now, given the change of events, these types of perks can officially come out of your benefits package. The last things jobseekers are looking for are networking perks that don’t allow for social distancing or could put their safety at risk.

Instead of highlighting your outdated perks, it’s time to bring back the basics! Jobseekers want healthcare insurance during these uncertain times, so be sure to list the benefits your insurance policy offers. Sick leave and flexible schedules are also a huge bonus for jobseekers in the COVID era, as many workers have to adapt to the new way of work/life: students stuck at home and partners/spouses sharing the same working spaces.

And on that note, this brings us to our last strategy:

4. Be transparent about flexible working arrangements. “Companies should promote flexible working options when advertising open positions instead of focusing messaging on in-office perks,” suggests McKeon. “The recent rise in remote work might mean job seekers expect greater flexibility with remote work in their next opportunity.”

McKeon also suggests that hiring managers should use social media to show how the company’s employees are making the most of their remote working arrangement. Not only is this a great way to attract new hires, but it’s also a great way to keep workers engaged.

Annette Harwood, Head of HR at M Science, recently shared with us in a “Faces of HR” interview that she has created virtual events to keep her workers engaged. “We did a virtual yoga all together on Zoom. We did a virtual meditation on Zoom. I did virtual coffee breaks during which I actually broke everyone up by six to eight people in the company. And everybody had to connect for a half an hour,” Harwood recalls. “I was just doing these little things early on. I’ve been trying to do at least one type of virtual event from HR a week.”

“I like having this extra culture reinstatement and giving people that security,” she adds. “We are saying, ‘Hey, we’re here for you.’ We also let them know all the time we’re putting their health first. We ask them to put their health first.”

It’s ideas like these that can highlight your virtual culture and attract jobseekers who are the perfect cultural fit. If you’re in the market for a revamped employer brand that’s COVID-friendly, keep these tips in mind! And to read the full findings from The Manifest survey, click here.

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