Originally published in In-Business Magazine, Australia
International Employer Brand Strategist and Chairman/CEO of Employer Brand International, Brett Minchington offers readers some insight and tips on how to manage your employer brand during the economic downturn.
What shape will your employer brand be in when it’s all over?
In the wash up of the shifting of financial markets over the past 12 months there have been massive layoffs by companies once seen as the 'poster child' of their industry where everyone wanted to work but only top talent could get in.How times have changed in such a short time, these same organisations (and whole industries in some cases) who once enjoyed 'preferred employer' status are now off the list of talent looking to switch jobs or graduates looking to enter the job market for the first time. The recruitment industry was one of the first to be impacted by the downturn with clients implementing hiring freezes, lay-offs and shifting their focus from hiring to retaining almost overnight. Those without a game plan to react quickly have been hit hard.
How you manage your employer brand during the downturn will not only impact on current and future sales, it will determine your attractiveness as an employer when the economy starts to grow again. We have recently witnessed consumer boycotts of products of companies who have recently announced massive lay-offs. This is a good example of the link between your employer brand and your corporate and consumer brands.
10 Tips to stay in good shape.
Minchington suggests some initiatives you can undertake now to manage your employer brand during this period and ensure you come out the other side in good shape.
- Ensure open communication across the lines. This will help to squash rumours in their tracks before they spread and be perceived as fact.
- Continue to undertake staff research to ensure you have a good handle on how employees perceive the employment experience.
- Treat people with empathy, respect and communicate honestly if layoffs are necessary and provide every opportunity to ensure they are 'fit' to move to another role outside the organisation - treat them like family! Stay in touch with them as you might wish to re-hire them again.
- Undertake audit work on your employer brand to develop your strategy for implementation so in 12-18 months you are best positioned for when the economy improves.
- Invest in building capabilities in your employees through integrated learning and development programs.
- Encourage coaching and mentoring programs to keep your leaders close to their people and enhance engagement.
- Audit your existing materials, channels, themes and messages to ensure these are best-fit for the next 12-18 months and ensure your internal and external communication strategy is relevant.
- Continue to celebrate individual and team success. A simple 'thank you,' or 'well done' can be much more powerful than a movie ticket!
- Use the time to get good stories about your employment practices out into the media, and
- Most of all, stay focused on the tasks at hand, keep an open mind to what's reported in the media about the crisis and let your staff feel confident the leadership team have a well thought out strategy for managing the company through the next 12-18 months.