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Employer branding in COVID times

Stepping into 2021, we all hoped it would be better than 2020 and thought we were now ready to handle the COVID work regime better. However, as the year ends, the realisation is a little different. But the way most of the companies, globally, have dealt with the crisis this year is commendable. However, the number of employees who would like to switch jobs increased from 35% in 2020 to 52% in 2021. Why did this increase happen in a single year?

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Stepping into 2021, we all hoped it would be better than 2020 and thought we were now ready to handle the COVID work regime better. However, as the year ends, the realisation is a little different. Things didn’t get better and in terms of us being able to handle, well, it has become difficult as it keeps changing now and then.


But the way most of the companies, globally, have dealt with the crisis this year is commendable. However, the number of employees who would like to switch jobs increased from 35% in 2020 to 52% in 2021. Why did this increase happen in a single year?


The biggest problem is- while the companies have almost recovered from the impact of COVID financially, most of the companies are not being considered as employers. So, what should be done? Simple yet tricky- employer branding.

Vijay Arcot

Director, Talent Acquisition at Y Media Labs

Employer branding is the key factor in attracting the right talent. As we are hiring across borders now, for example, recently, we have hired 40 people from outside India to work for the Indian office. From Vietnam, Bhutan. We have even hired a couple of Dev-Ops candidates from Pakistan as well. All these employees get paid in dollars and work for Indian hours.

 

So we have started strategising differently to approach candidates from across borders in the remote work set-up. Earlier, not many people had heard about YML in these specific countries, so we started creating our social media presence dedicated to sourcing and engaging candidates – all connected to the YML LinkedIn page. This has helped us to increase to broaden our talent pool.

But before we dive into the how-to, let’s first look at the why. Why do we need to have a strong employer brand? 

Why Employer Branding is the need of the hour to build a great candidate talent pipeline

Competition is tougher

 

These days competition is not limited to the marketplace concerning your product or service. The shift from employer centric to candidate-centric market has made it difficult for companies to find suitable candidates to join them. In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, 69% of candidates said they would remain unemployed rather than join a company with a bad reputation.

 

 And the top candidates already have at least a couple of offers in hand even when they are not looking for jobs. Plus, the whole remote setup has removed the need to be in the same geographical space to work with a firm so, the employees are making the switch faster than ever before. So, if you want candidates to choose you, you need to have excellent employer branding in place.

 

Candidates are looking at you

 

Candidates are now doing extensive research before taking the call of joining a firm. In fact, in a study, 75% of candidates said that they check the company’s online presence even before applying for a job. Candidates look for reviews about the company’s work culture, and in the current time of the social network, they might even contact the ex or current employees of the firm. This move helps candidates understand the inside story of the firm. So, make sure that you brand your truth because the candidates will know the truth one way or the other.

 

Employees will quit

 

92% of employees would consider changing jobs if a company with a better employer brand reputation offers a role. At times employees won’t even look for a raise in such a situation or a better position. This happens because the employees don’t feel that they are being treated right. Most companies still think that a raise is what makes up for a high retention rate, whereas it’s more about how your employees feel working with you. 

 

An employee should feel respected and valued to stay in the company. If you treat your employees like they are some machines, they will prove you right and just call it quits one random day. So, in order to boost your employee retention rate, you need to focus on bringing more to the employer branding than just a competitive salary package.

 

Feedback matters to your business too

 

If you believe that a lack of solid employer branding would only impact your recruitment process, then you are wrong. Having a lack of a good employer brand increases the cost per hire by 10% and affects the market standing of your firm. If investors know that you treat your employees and have been your employees for a long time, you win their trust too. But if your company has negative feedback, you might end up losing them too.

 

So knowing what importance impactful employer branding holds, you should be relooking into it. But what can you do in such trying times where nothing seems to be a foolproof plan. Well, there are certain things that you can immediately start implementing which will help you in the long run. But then, the question is, How to manage it?

 

Be mindful of employees emotional health.

 

There’s no denying that these are challenging times, and not just physical but everyone’s mental and emotional health has also gone for a toss. So, try to be mindful when you reach out and talk to your employees or potential employees, for that matter. Understand that there is a lot going on in everyone’s life and mind, and everyone is mostly stressed. Allow them a breather, cut them some slack here and there, or have a therapist on board if you can afford it. Encourage your employees to talk it out and resolve their issues. This will show your employees that you are concerned and want to help them.

 

Wisely handle the tough news

 

Employers often have to make the tough decision to let go of their employees due to a crisis. And though there is no good way to deliver bad news, there is always a less strenuous way to take the call. If you have to lay off your employees, make a good plan for both your firm and the employees. Make a solid plan and protect your employees for as long as possible. Never rush into delivering such news. Cushion your blow, cliche as it may sound, but that’s what you need to do.

 

Showcase your employer brand

 

If you are a firm with a great employer branding place, make sure to blow your own trumpet as well. Use the social media platforms and present your brand as the most considerate employer. Just like you wouldn’t keep a great product or service in hiding, you shouldn’t be hiding how great you are as an employer. Talk about it, or better yet, give your employees the platform and opportunity to talk about you. This is the most impactful way to be eye candy for the candidates.

 

Present choices

 

If you are looking for better ways to engage with your employees, the best way is to talk to them and present them with choices that will work for you and your employees. If it’s feasible, allow them to take a call between work from home and office or choose the hours they would like to work for, of course, without compromising the company’s goals. Just give them a sense of freedom to take a call of how they can deliver their best, and trust your employees will not only be grateful, but you’ll notice a significant improvement in their performance as well. Happy employees = Happier employers.

 

Employer branding is a challenging game to ace, but the present time has in a way levelled the field for all the employers and given a chance to present a new revamped outlook. So, the wisest thing to do is exploit this opportunity and become a company that every job seeker out there dream of. And make sure it’s not limited to a competitive salary or is just all talk and no show. Let your employees be your advocate and be the best employer anyone could ever ask for.

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