How Companies are approaching Employer Branding in the post-Covid world.

Author Tobias Stenzel
May 25, 2021

Employer branding is not a new topic, but the way that companies are approaching it has transformed in the past 12 months.

Here, we share some success stories, innovative new approaches and provide a view into what the expectation is from the candidate side on what firms need to be doing (or doing better).

All aspects of the employee lifecycle process will change, from the initial attraction phase, all the way through to how you manage an exit process. More than ever, mistakes in this field can lead to expensive, perhaps even dire, consequences for the business. With such a massive spotlight on this at the moment, bad practices become even more prevalent. Conversely, good ones stand out that much more.

Virtual office tours

One interesting approach being used by a few firms, including ING and Clifford Chance, is that of a full virtual tour of the office. Though it remains to be seen how regularly we will all be in the office when things return to some sense of normality, it is still important that new employees get a sense for what the firm is like from an infrastructure perspective.

It’s hard to feel at home in a firm when you don’t even know what the building looks like. It is for this reason that some firms have begun to provide full virtual tours of their offices on their website, so you can see exactly what the space looks like before you even apply (or at any other point during the recruitment process).

ING and Clifford Chance have have handled the process quite differently. ING have taken the very interesting approach of conducting the tour by using a drone and flying it through their location, giving you a ‘drones-eye’ view. Clifford Chance have instead offered a more personal approach, in which senior HR leaders provide narrated tours of various parts of the office, explaining in detail what is offered here. Both approaches serve a dual purpose; they provide new joiners a first glimpse of the office, whilst showing existing employees any changes – such as how the premises is Covid-secure. This is particularly helpful for anyone apprehensive about returning to an office environment.

Making it personal

But it’s not just the offices which prospective employees wish to see and get to know – it’s the people! Those in HR have become a window into the culture of a firm, treated almost as ambassadors for what it’s like to be a part of the company. A number of firms have started to share personal profiles up front ahead of any meetings, introducing you to those people you would meet and providing a small view into who they are, both as potential colleagues and as people. These can take many forms, from just a picture and a brief summary, through to full page personal profiles.

We ourselves have done something to this effect; employees take part in a ’60 seconds with…’ questionnaire, detailing a few personal and professional traits that each of our people have, as well as some aspects of why they enjoy being a part of Frazer Jones and The SR Group. This is a simple but highly effective way of helping to form some sense of connection with the brand and the people at the very beginning of the process.

Communicating social purpose

One very important aspect of this, already at the forefront prior to Covid-19, but taking on an even greater role now, is communicating social purpose and societal impact. Employees are becoming ever-more aware of their own personal impact upon the world, be it social, environmental or otherwise, and they wish to feel a sense of shared purpose with their employer on these subjects.

Large consultancies like PwC and BCG are incredibly vocal regarding their efforts to combat pollution through their net-zero carbon footprint commitments. The topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) has also taken a great step forward in many firms, with so many things happening last year to bring this into the light, not just Covid-19, but also the Black Lives Matter movement and archaic shifts in policy from world leaders on the participation of LGBTQI+ people in certain roles.

A great example of this being brought to the forefront of company policy in Germany is BNP Paribas, who hired Dr Eva Voss last year to lead their German DE&I function. This lead to their participation in the fantastic ‘Jamais Sans Elles’ (never without her) initiative, which states that no one from the business will participate in any event or public discussion which does not have a gender-balanced panel or group. This is one among a number of initiatives that BNP are engaged with which hits all the right notes for many who wish to see this topic at the forefront of company policy.

Gamifying the employee experience

Taking a look at more digital and technological means of evolving the approach to employer brand, one approach that is becoming much more utilised is that of Gamification. Put simply, this is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity that would not normally include such elements. Mazars are currently exploring how virtual reality might be used to this end, including using it for tours to applicants, and for onboarding on new joiners.

Showcasing the employee experience on social media

Finally, it is of vital importance that the focus sits not only on the act or commitment, but also on the means of communication. Social media is a vital tool for communicating this, and so many firms are under-utilising it. In a recent event that we hosted on this subject, we found that smaller firms in particular struggle with a professional social media coverage, as this is nothing that can be done on the side. Hiring additional talent brings the challenge of finding the right people and justifying the return on investment, which is hard as the immediate effect is often unclear. Furthermore, social media is often seen as a sales tool to target clients, leaving the opportunity to use it for employer branding neglected.

One great example of using social media and personal networks for talent attraction is being used by the Generali group in their internal employee referral scheme. A unique link for a specific vacancy is created for every employee, which can then be shared within their private network. For every successful application, the employee gets a bonus, and even clicks on the link get rewarded with a bonus point program. The experience so far has shown great results, as it is very uncomplicated for employees to promote their workplace and adds a gamification aspect to the talent search.

To summarise, the candidate market has changed enormously over the past year, and firms who do not try to move with the times and deliver what this market expects of them will be quickly left behind. 

If you are interested in discussing this topic in more detail, or have any questions then please reach out and we’d be very happy to discuss this with you.