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The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Brand Right Now: Speak Up

Nothing will shape a company’s employer brand as much as how it treats its workforce during the pandemic. But while doing right by your employees is essential, so is letting your employees and your talent pool know about the decisions you’re making and how they will impact your workforce and the broader community.   

There are a lot of reasons companies might go quiet right now. They may be facing existential issues with products, revenues, and employees. They may be scrambling to keep their workforce safe and to give them the remote-work tools they need to be productive. They may be overwhelmed by the influx of information and the surge of ambiguity. And many simply will not want to say the wrong thing or come across as tone-deaf. 

But this is not the time to go quiet.

This is the time to double down on communication that illuminates your company’s values and remarkable culture. Investing in your employer branding efforts will benefit you now and long into the future, allowing you to strengthen the bonds with your employees and with the talent community.

While the current health crisis has underscored the need to continuously nurture and improve your employer brand, it has shifted what you should be talking about and how you should be talking about it. 

By this point, you may have put your entire content calendar on hold, as you rethink what your audiences most need to hear from you. Likely, they will want to know about the steps you are taking to support your workforce, to keep them healthy and productive. They’ll want to dig into any piece of content that talks about how your company is changing what it does or what it makes to help the broader community. You used to produce highly sought-after perfume but are now manufacturing highly sought-after hand sanitizer? That’s perfect.

Getting the voice and tone right is every bit as critical as getting the story selection right. Be tirelessly empathetic and human. Try to speak directly from the heart — avoid corporate lingo and jargon. Remember that different audiences will be in different places regarding how they’re handling the coronavirus outbreak or what they need. Try to be sensitive to all of them.

Fortunately, there are any number of companies that are already nailing the right content with the right voice. Here are four that have recently published content on LinkedIn that I believe is both sustaining and elevating their standing with talent:

Jaguar Land Rover has produced a series of posts that shows what they and their employees are doing to help with relief efforts around the world, including collecting and delivering supplies to hospitals in Canada; donating 18 all-terrain vehicles to the Spanish Red Cross so aid workers can reach people in remote areas; and teaming with the NHS in the United Kingdom to produce a 3D-printed face visor.

Delta, which operates in a sector that has been pummeled by coronavirus, has remained true to its core values, highlighting how it’s protecting the health and safety of employees and what it’s doing to support impacted communities. For example, one post it shared linked to a one-minute video that showed how its product team was partnering with the Global Center for Medical Innovation to produce face shields that will extend the life of the N95 mask for frontline healthcare workers.

The airline’s senior leaders, including CEO Ed Bastian, are also sharing their perspectives in articles and videos. Ed wrote recently about how the airline was delivering medical supplies, providing repatriation flights to get people home, and offering free travel to certain medical volunteers.

Not every company can make face shields or respirators or hand sanitizer. But if your company has in any way pivoted your workforce to help with the crisis, make sure you’re featuring those efforts in content going out across all your channels. 

Massachusetts-based software firm HealthEdge has emphasized the importance of kindness as a defining company value, detailing how it now delivers weekly meals to the ER staff at neighboring Lahey Hospital. A different post outlined one of the steps the company is taking to assist local small businesses.

Coronavirus is unprecedented for most companies and an uncharted challenge for all. If you’re using your company values to help navigate these troubled waters, call that out for current and future employees to remind them who you are and how you behave.

Intact, a Canadian financial services company, created content outlining how it has adapted its recruitment process to ensure it is continuing to deliver a world-class candidate experience, even offering a tip sheet for candidates so they can rock their first video interview.

Candidates know this is a tough time for most businesses and they’ll appreciate companies that remember it’s also a tough time for them. As appropriate, let them know you haven’t forgotten them. And where possible —as Intact did with its helpful advice for video interviews — give them a hand.

Final thoughts: Make sure your voice is heard

The instability and anxiety that define this moment can be immobilizing. But being silent will speak loudly about your company. It’s important to not lose sight of what ultimately matters: how you treat your employees. They want to hear from you. They want to know you care. They want to see — and hear — that you’re taking action, that you have a plan, and that, rather than being paralyzed, you are actively navigating the current challenges to safely reach the other side.

Over the next few months, LinkedIn will be sharing employer branding best practices that can help you find and amplify your voice and, during difficult times like these, help you nurture relationships and community.

Information provided by Jennifer Brannigan.