Some say character is revealed when pressure is applied. The same can be said about an organization’s culture and how they communicate with others in times of uncertainty.
If you only remember one thing from this blog post, what I would like it to be is this: Whether or not you have a formal employee value proposition (EVP) in your organization, your employees are experiencing one—right now—whether you know it or not.
And this is important because the world is watching along with your employees. We’re sheltering in place, watching our social feeds filled with examples of companies who are getting it right, and those getting it wrong. (Bird being the perfect example of what not to do, and quickly evolved to rating sites like this one, warning people against buying their products based on how they are treating their people during COVID-19).
And when we come out on the other side, candidates will measure their likeness to join your organization in part by how you responded, but your employees will also act. Your employees will recall how it felt to work for your organization during this time and make no mistake about it; they will leave in droves for new opportunities if they feel unsupported through this unprecedented pandemic.
Case in point
Here’s an example of what to expect with candidates Post COVID-19
Right after posting this Resse story yesterday, I received more than one text like this:
I am writing this post to simply remind you of the things you already know. They are not new or novel ideas, but I write them all the same because sometimes we need a good old-fashioned reminder in times of uncertainty.
What to start doing
As employer brand practitioners, the best thing we can do to support our organizations through this time is to send updates and regular communication, even if there is not a lot of new information, and the message is largely personal.
When people are isolated, over-communication is more important than ever. Many candidates are facing unemployment, and securing their next job has never mattered more. Don’t leave them guessing. Internally, offering clarity, certainty, and familiarity in your communications, may help you re-recruit your workforce as they compare how lucky they are to be with you, rather than someplace like this.
I can’t imagine working for an employer this awful in every way. https://t.co/00iLi2KS4w
— Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin) March 13, 2020
Rally note: If you’d like to hear more from Charlotte on how to develop an effective EVP using the method from her new book “Give & Get Employer Branding,” join us at our RallyFwd Virtual Conference: Lead With Employer Brand on May 6, 2020. Read more about Charlotte’s session on “Give and Get” Employer Branding and register to attend here.
Here are 3 ways that will help you use your employer brand internally to keep your workforce engaged and committed to your mission during these times of uncertainty, and always.
3 ways to re-recruit your workforce
1. Find stories that matter
One effective way to demonstrate your employee value proposition is to share employee stories that attract informed candidates by demonstrating your EVP pillars.
Typically, when I develop an EVP, it will consist of 3-4 pillars that support attributes that are unique to our employee experience. Each of those pillars then acts as a storyline, and I search for employee examples that illustrate one of these storylines in action.
The goal here is to identify and flush out interesting narratives that showcase elements of your EVP. There are likely countless examples of people living out your values during COVID-19 that you can share internally to rally pride and a sense of belonging.
To identify these stories, I’ll reach out to a cross-section of mid-level leaders and talent influencers and let them know that we’re looking for stories that align with each of our pillars. I’ll remind them what storylines we are looking to demonstrate and ask them if they can think of any employees on their team to feature.
Your team can also get inspired by these eight companies sharing excellent content from their frontline workers.
2. Showcase the full experience
Don’t be afraid to show the challenges your people are facing. Adversity is the most tangible link between who we are and explaining why anything has meaning to us.
Nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy. Right?
When we evaluate the value of something, we need to know how hard it will be to achieve it, or it’s virtually impossible to know whether we want to pursue it. This is as true for deciding whether to buy a new car as it is for deciding on your next career move. It’s true for staying in a relationship or learning a new skill, language, or sport.
- How hard will it be to achieve it?
- How badly do I want or need it?
We can apply this same principle to our internal communications now.
Some of your most capable employees may not know about the challenges you are facing as an organization, which means they may not be suitably motivated to contribute. When you share the adversity of the organization you simultaneously create a call to arms and inevitably rally those able and willing to contribute early.
If you want to go deeper into this idea, Bryan Adams and I recently wrote the best selling book “Give & Get Employer Branding,” about adversity being the missing piece from most EVPs in use today and share ways we can develop a more complete value proposition.
3. Kiss the Badge
Bryan recently shared an example that has really stuck with me.
Have you ever wondered why the sportspeople kiss the badge when they score or as they’re lined up before the game, standing to attention, listening to the national anthem?
It’s not because they’re more patriotic than the next person. It’s because, at that very moment, the spotlight on them confirms their outstanding achievement of being there, making a difference—it’s a heightened sense of pride that everyone can see they’re part of the elite, part of the chosen few.
To have your employees ‘kiss your badge’ requires an acknowledgment and appreciation for their contribution and their ability to perform under the conditions that aren’t always perfect.
We’re talking about pride. The amount of pride you can evoke right now is directly proportional to the size of recognition that their accomplishments are not easily achieved. We know people are working in new novel ways, facing a constant bombardment of new challenges and stressors that seem to grow by the minute.
- How would you feel if your boss acknowledged what a difference you are making, amidst all the chaos?
- How would you feel after reading stories of your colleagues supporting one another and your clients?
- Would you feel more or less proud to belong?
In conclusion, if you only remember one thing from this blog post, what I would like it to be is this: Whether or not you have a formal employee value proposition (EVP) in your organization, your employees are experiencing one—right now—whether you know it or not.
And this is important because the world is watching. And when we come out on the other side, candidates will measure their likeness to join your organization in part by how you responded, but your employees will never forget how you made them feel.
Make them feel proud to belong and let them know how they can help.
If you’d like to rewind a step and talk about how to develop or upgrade your employee value proposition, please join me at the RallyFwd Virtual Conference: Lead With Employer Brand, where I’ll be sharing our “give & get” methodology for EVP development. Hope to see you there on May 6!