Leading through a crisis is incredibly challenging, particularly when faced with a global situation that is unprecedented for most of us. For many businesses, the current focus is to manage the response and address the urgent needs of right now. However, when you are caught in the trap of a narrow focus, some areas are inevitably neglected. Like for example, your employer brand…
Your employer brand is about more than a logo, slogan or those office perks that you think are unique to your business. It is a reflection of your reputation in the marketplace and how you attract, recruit and retain top talent. Your employer brand is connected to your corporate brand and the core drivers of your business.
A strong employer branding is crucial to your recruitment and retention strategy. LinkedIn stats show that 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying for a role.
Employer branding is big business in the USA with numerous consultancies that exist solely to build an organisation’s brand in the eyes of potential and current employees. When you consider where people obtain their information from, online company review sites like Glassdoor are hugely popular and influential with job seekers. These sorts of sites allow people to share salary information and post anonymous reviews about their working environment.
A recent article on STUFF focusing on cabin crew redundancies at Air New Zealand, highlighted concerns of E tū who believe the airline was betraying its own brand by using “old school thinking” for its redundancy process. In a business with a monthly wage bill of $14 million for crew wages alone, you could understand the need to make around 1500 employees redundant. However E tū’s view was that the airline was following the cheaper option of making cabin crew redundant now and then looking to rehire when times were better – ignoring the cost to employee sentiment and the company’s corporate brand which has been carefully nurtured over the years.
The actions of an increasing number of organisations are currently being put in the spotlight. For example, proposed employee pay cuts at Fletcher Building that generated employee and public criticism and resulted in the construction business increasing senior staff pay cuts from 15% to 30%.
Many would argue that these are unprecedented times which necessitate swift action. Whereas others would advocate for fostering a sense of trust and shared responsibility with employees. Certainly, past experience highlights that companies that go through significant restructures always under perform in the future.
Right now, the focus for businesses is cash flow and how to react to the pandemic and the long-term economic impact. While incredibly challenging decisions will need to be made, it’s not the time to ignore your employer brand and the values that are core to your organisation. Brands are not created overnight, if your brand loses confidence and credibility, then your ability to attract, retain and advance the best people will be impacted. And that’s at the core of what we are learning about true leadership through crisis.
The Decipher Team
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