#Learnings from COVID-19- It's time to reset your employer branding

Ever since 2020, 92% candidates would think about switching jobs if the company has a good reputation. This put a question mark on companies’ employer branding, it wasn’t about recruitment and retention anymore but more about employee engagement.

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The outbreak of novel coronavirus put an extreme pressure on the corporate world, the annual plan had to be changed, things had to be molded to fit the ‘new normal’, every step was calculated, every step was experimental. Every employee had their eyes set on how their companies will go about this change. Will they be supported or find themselves in search of a new company?


Needless to say, every company had to refocus on their employer branding now more than ever. Ever since 2020, 92% candidates would think about switching jobs if the company has a good reputation. This put a question mark on companies’ employer branding, it wasn’t about recruitment and retention anymore but more about employee engagement. From small to large, each company felt the sword on their neck and started actively working towards retaining their employees to put a good word out in the market.


Here are some companies that aced the challenge by refocusing on their employer branding.

Keeping the company culture alive with HubSpot

Ever since we first started working from home the biggest challenge has been communication. Adapting to new ways of communication and staying connected has obviously been the first step for every company to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Keeping the company culture with the distance working has definitely been a challenge for all of us.


So, how do you ensure that your office still holds the values and everyone feels connected and under the same roof even though they aren’t? According to research 63% workers have spent less time socializing with their coworkers as compared to before. While on the surface it might look like it is a good thing and ensures more productivity, but like a coin it has its flip side too. In such challenging times people need to feel part of a team and not isolated.

HubSpot found a way to tackle it, which might look simple at a glance but is effective. They decided to use the Instagram handle @HubSpotLife to make its employees feel united and even gave them control to take over for a day. So, what exactly did they do? Well, they simply let their social media to be social. In other words, they shifted their focus on the topics that were relevant like actively participating in Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ campaigns and many other creative ways.


They gave charge to employees where they shared tips, experiences and remote work setup. They aren’t just asking their employees to be the brand ambassador but making them. Easy to replicate but impactful for making people be keen to work with the company.

Clear communication – Be honest and open like AirBnB

The current situation is definitely challenging to say the least, and a majority of companies have been on both the ends of bad news. A lot of tough calls have been made, companies had to be downsized, pay cuts and what not! In fact, the UN had forecasted earlier last year– ‘As many as 4 out of 5 of the present workforce would end up unemployed once the partial and complete lockdown is imposed.’ Which became a reality soon.


And of course, there is no great way to deliver bad news but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t deliver. A lot of companies however, didn’t give their employees a clear picture of their future with the company and while it was done thinking the best of them it did more harm than good. As a result, it impacted companies’ image as employers and brought in a lot of negative reviews.

So, what should companies have done or do, if the second wave will result in similar scenarios? Well, the hard but the wisest thing to do is simply be honest. Call a spade a spade and don’t shy away from giving the clear picture of how things are. Situation is tough and your employees know it, so be honest with them because the last thing they need is half baked truth.


Take AirBnB for example, Brian Chesky, the CEO and Co-Founder wrote an open letter to all the employees stating that there would be layoffs. He went ahead and explicitly gave out all the hard facts related to the situation without shying away from the losses and the number of employees to be laid off. Yes, it does sound extremely gutsy and something that will result in chaos. But you will be surprised this honesty was mostly well received by the employees. In fact they went and appreciated the CEO for his honesty on social media/ There is a reason why they say, ‘honesty is the best policy.’

Be a strong team like Walmart

Nothing bothers employees more than feeling aloof and not being a part of the conversation during challenging times. They need to know what is going on and what to expect, however that aspect is more often than not overlooked. Even if it wasn’t something that your company followed in pre-covid times, it’s vital now to share every news. Make your employees no matter which department, which level that they are important and should know every update.


If something goes wrong- deliver the news, if things are going great- appreciate your employees. A research from Smarp showed that 69% employees would stick by their firm if they were appreciated. Trust us, this might seem a superficial thing to achieve but it’s actually not that difficult, all you need to do is just start doing it instead of planning it.

When most of the companies globally faced the brunt of layoffs, Walmart stood on the other side of the spectrum in need of employees. Doug McMillion, the President & CEO of Walmart Inc., took it to LinkedIn to not just announce the opening but appreciate the employees for putting themselves at risk and serving the clients every day. In fact, Walmart accelerated the quarterly bonus for their employees to show appreciation for their hard work.


Not just that the penalty on staying at home was waived off, they were provided adequate support and increased bonus. Walmart didn’t overlook the situation but instead decided to be with the employees and support them like a true team player. Think for a moment, wouldn’t you want to be part of such a company? Make your company like it!

Unilever & employee safety at workplace

While most of us started working from home as soon as the pandemic hit, there were certain people who were required to still go to work. What about them? Considering they are your employees you have to think about them and ensure that they get equal appreciation and are taken care of.


A research by WHO stated that as many as 88% of employees were stressed as soon as the global pandemic started with concern to actions taken by their companies. It’s a no-brainer that the frontline workers have been putting themselves at risk every single day, so what should ideally be done to ensure their safety and wellbeing?


Unilever didn’t just come up with a solution but implemented it immediately after the pandemic hit. They prepared clear guidelines of ‘must’ and ‘must not’ for its employees. They provided their employees with safety and health care equipment to ensure safety for the employees who were required to work from offices. They allocated resources to focus on revamping their employer brand.


They took the long shot of going all the way through to not just ensure the wellbeing of their employees but make it a company that’s desired by the talent. And it worked! Their current employees have been happy with the approach taken.



Whether you are a startup or a well known global company, it’s never wise to be laid back about your company’s employer branding. Start now, make your current employees happy and become desirable to the talent pool. It’s honestly the little steps that matter when it comes to creating a successful employer brand but those small steps create great output. So, what are you waiting for, if you haven’t given it a thought already, it’s time to relook and be the brand that’s every employee’s dream!