CASE STUDY

Employer Branding Through COVID-19

COVID-19 has reinvented the employer branding game. Prior to widespread economic shutdowns - employer branding typically focused on attracting top talent to your organization. Employer branding has evolved to communicate culture and connect an otherwise disconnected workforce.

Connect to Mission

Connection to mission is the number one aspect of an employee's relationship with your organization and is highly correlated to employee engagement - according to the CPS HR Consulting Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement. A lot of times I see physical representations of mission when I visit an office. Whether it's a mission statement written on a wall or a poster to reinforce that mission in an executive hallway, reminders are everywhere. But what happens in a remote work environment? Does our organization connect to mission with consistent communication? Are "brick and mortar" methodologies sufficient to communicate and connect our workforce to mission? What does a digital connection to mission look like?

COVID-19 is an opportunity to really understand if our day-to-day communication reinforces organizational purpose.

We can think of huge brands like Nike, Monster Energy, Disney - or more appropriately as we binge watch during COVID-19 - Tiger King, Netflix, Love is Blind which remind us that staying power is based on consistent reinforcement of message. Does anyone really think we will remember Carloe Baskin in six months if there isn't another season of Tiger King? The same theory applies for your organization. Your employer brand needs to be consistently connected to purpose whether your staff is working in the office or from home.

As we come out of quarantine, how is your organizational brand going to be positioned in a world where your staff may only be in the office some of the time? Do you have a communication strategy to reinforce that message?


Connect to Each Other

We have witnessed water cooler conversations disappear in a blink. Working remotely can put a workforce on an island and leave us socially disconnected from our peers, coworkers, bosses and work friends. Approaching communication with purpose is incredibly important for your organization, employee satisfaction, and mental health. I suggest that as you adjust to a remote environment, think about your day at the office. Who do you typically talk to? Who do you enjoy the morning banter with? Write a list - and make sure that you connect with those people on a weekly basis at minimum.

Consider implementing these ideas:

Connect with Co-Workers:

  • Make a list of the people you typically talk to on a weekly basis.
  • Contact at least one person on the co-worker list via phone call or video chat per day. The goal is to touch base with each person on your "top connection list" once a week.
  • Make sure you are connected to your co-workers on LinkedIn.

Connect with Direct Reports:

  • Schedule morning quick check-in meetings with direct reports (5 minutes) - talk about key tasks and accomplishments. Cameras on!
  • Schedule end of day recap meetings with direct reports (5 minutes) to provide positive reinforcement of the day's successes. Cameras on!
  • Have weekly 30-minute direct report group meetings. The business aspect of these meetings is just as important as the random conversation. The point is connection!
  • Consider weekly 30-minute coaching sessions with direct reports.
  • Schedule monthly 60-minute goal check-in meetings to assess progress toward employee yearly goals.

Connect the Organization:

  • Post regularly about changes, cool stuff you are doing as an organization, and reinforce mission.
  • Create remote team building events like remote Kahoot! trivia or remote bingo.
  • Provide motivational speaker sessions for your staff - remotely.
  • Create training programs to help build employee skills and increase competency.
  • Provide weekly updates from senior leadership to the entire staff - build increased transparency.



Keep your Organizational DNA

Layoffs... Pay cuts... Furloughs... I said it. We are all thinking, "how is this new economy going to affect me?" COVID-19 has us entering a brave new world in public sector. It's important to understand that if you are in a position of leadership and you are forced to make budget cuts in staffing with layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs that you don't lose your organizational DNA. Organizational DNA makes you successful as an organization - whatever decisions you are forced to make, do so with full understanding of how it will affect your organization forever. Decisions have a ripple effect, like a pebble hitting the water, causing rings upon rings of waves. Make sure that your choices keep your organization "your organization."

There's a saying that Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast and Talent for Lunch(1). Make sure that whatever happens during the time of COVID-19 and post COVID-19 that your organization maintains your culture. Talent will always have opportunities in the workforce. Your organizational culture is the glue to keep the talent you have connected.


Show your Employer Brand

We believe that our employees are our biggest asset. In our day to day experience at work, we typically don't remember every minute. However, there are times that we never forget in our employee life-cycle. Getting hired, interviewing and getting promoted, performance reviews, key accomplishments and now COVID-19. Your employer brand provides insight into your employment culture. This shift in work habits allows your organization to truly show that putting employee well-being first is not just a marketing campaign but a reality.



References:
1: https://www.sarachristiansen.com/

COVID-19 has reinvented the employer branding game. Prior to widespread economic shutdowns - employer branding typically focused on attracting top talent to your organization. Employer branding has evolved to communicate culture and connect an otherwise disconnected workforce.
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COVID-19 has reinvented the employer branding game. Prior to widespread economic shutdowns - employer branding typically focused on attracting top talent to your organization. Employer branding has evolved to communicate culture and connect an otherwise disconnected workforce.
Employer Branding Through COVID-19DOWNLOAD
Jason Litchney, M.E.

Jason Litchney brings over 15 years of experience and passion in marketing for the public, private and non-profit sectors. Jason is a dedicated leader, national speaker and entrepreneur responsible for founding and managing the growth of multiple organizations recognized on the INC 500 fastest growing companies list. Jason serves as the Marketing and Employment Branding Manager at CPS HR Consulting and helps public agencies brand their organization to attract and retain talent.

About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.