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Organizations have two brands that need to be managed: Corporate and Employer. The Corporate Brand is generally thought of as external and describes a company’s identity (logo and colours, vision, mission, etc.) whereas the Employer Brand is driven more internally and describes a company’s reputation inside the workplace and how employees value their work.
The Employer Brand is complex and is at the heart of all employer-employee interactions. It starts during the interview process, continues throughout employment, and even remains after the employee has left the organization. While leaders must keep their Employer Brand top of mind, in times of turmoil this can be difficult to do. So to help, we’ve pulled together some best practices for how you can navigate the current crisis without negatively impacting your Employer Brand:
Review Your Brand
The best thing to do is to look at review websites such as Glassdoor. This is a great platform for employees to review the organization, and for potential talent to see. You can’t remove a bad review, but you can stay top of mind by encouraging your employees to contribute positive content. This will help you understand what both current and past employees are saying about the organization.
Create Internal Surveys
Internal surveys are a great opportunity to receive feedback regarding how your employees feel. The best method is to conduct an anonymous survey on an annual basis (bi-monthly during a crisis) to understand your employees’ experience and how you can support them. This will help you understand where there is a disconnect with reviews on external platforms and is particularly helpful in times of crisis.
Live By Your Values
Values are a critical piece of an organization’s identity and help guide actions and decision making. This is a great time to come up with unique ways to promote your values and demonstrate your commitment to your employees. For example, Optimum Talent implemented an internal campaign called Superstar of the Week where every Friday afternoon our CEO sends out a company-wide email that celebrates the efforts and hard work of one team member and how that relates to our core values. Many colleagues respond with their accolades for the individual and we have found it to be a great way to foster engagement in a remote setting and acknowledge the hard work of our team.
Safety, Support, and Honesty
The safety of your employees must be the top priority and during these challenging times, you must do whatever possible to protect your team, customers, and community. Make sure to get input from your team on decision making that may impact wellbeing, especially when it comes to return to office planning.
Additionally, lifestyle and wellness benefits have become critical during this time. The best thing you can do is to ask employees where and how they need support right now. As we move through this crisis, these will be the things that employees remember. They are searching for honesty, empathy, and genuine care. Airbnb is an incredible example of how an organization can support their employees through this current crisis.
Communicate, Listen, Communicate, Listen
One of the best things you can do is listen and communicate appropriately. While many organizations are focused on increased internal communications, you must wait for the response to determine if your message is what it needs to be. As a leader, you should first assess the situation, then ask your question and finally paraphrase what you hear. You should repeat this process until you fully understand the employee’s perspective. And, most importantly, listen with your heart because empathy goes a long way in a crisis.
Ultimately, your Employer Brand is what you are known for. Employees will always remember how you treated them and how you made them feel during the pandemic – where there is a crisis, there is an opportunity. Your creativity and brand values will be noticed more than ever in these times, so make sure you’re managing them appropriately!
Read part 2 here!