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Why now is the best time to concentrate on your employer brand


Are you going to come out of this crisis as a hero or villain of the employment market?

News headlines are currently dominated by the world pandemic, COVID-19, and how businesses are reacting to the daily updates on how we can all work and move.  At a time like this, it is crucial as an employer to make sure you are doing what is best, not just for your business, but for your employees.

Many businesses that PRWeek Jobs talk to are looking at making sure their employees have security and continued employment. The government has put measures in place to take care of as many people as they possibly can, but there are some notable exceptions in the business world.

PRWeek Jobs explores what not to do during this crisis and how a focus on your employer branding now can lead to future success when recruiting PR professionals.

What not to do

In the wake of the closure of his pubs, Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin, allegedly told his employees that they should find alternative employment. His reason? He claimed that they would receive no pay because the government bailout money may take some time to come through. But surely, a business of this size should be financially stable enough to bear the burden in the meantime?

Wetherspoons has offered their staff first refusal on jobs when they reopen, but how many people do they expect to return to a former employer under those circumstances? 

Mike Ashley at Sports Direct has also come under fire as an employer for wanting to keep the Sports Direct stores open claiming that they are an essential supplier during the “lockdown”. This has prompted people to suggest that he was putting the business over the safety of his staff.  When it comes to the reputation of Sports Direct as an employer, this will not be forgotten by retail workers when all of this is over.

Management Today’s article also shed light on how perceptions of Richard Branson have changed following his silence around Virgin’s response to COVID-19 and news that Virgin Atlantic staff have been asked to take eight weeks unpaid leave. Reputation is everything and Branson has since announced "a quarter of a billion dollars" over the next few months to protect employees and save jobs.

What should you be doing as an employer?

PR and crisis communications are coming into their own during this crisis, and so may not be as affected as other sectors. However, even if you are frantically trying to get the latest release out, it’s important to consider your employer brand. Whilst it may be a priority to take care of your current employees, it’s integral that you continue to promote a positive image to your potential recruits.

Your next hire, whenever that may be, is engaging with content and can see what you’re doing during a time of crisis. 81% of jobseekers will research an employer using online content and 94% would consider an employer’s brand when searching for their next job. It’s integral that you continue to promote your employer brand during this time, and arguably, even more important than before.

Company reputation is important with 70% of our survey respondents stating that poor company reputation would put them off applying. So, the likes of Tim Martin and Mike Ashley are likely to take a hit when it comes to recruiting staff. Make sure you are leading by example so you can recruit the best talent into your business when you need it most.

What can I do to promote my employer brand?

There are many options that you can take when promoting your employer brand. The key is to move away from promotion of your products and services to focus on what you are doing as an employer in regard to COVID-19. Whether that is a really solid internal comms plan, innovative ways your employees are staying connected during this time or how you’re spreading positivity.

55% of candidates state that they want to hear from employers via email and 43% state online articles as their preferred method. We can help you with both. PRWeek Jobs is best placed to help you produce content and market that content to your desired audiences.

Even if recruitment isn’t your top priority right now, it shouldn’t fall by the wayside. You can use this time to build a strong employer brand which will help you to beat the competition once normality returns.

Interested in finding out more about how PRWeek Jobs can help you build and communicate your employer brand or recruitment marketing? Email to discuss your needs and bespoke special packages.