How resilient is your employer brand
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How resilient is your employer brand?

The pandemic increased the importance of the employer brand

12 August 2021

This reminds me of those before and after photos you see frequently on the Internet. A year or so later and you can see a miraculous difference on whatever is being compared. That’s what I believe companies should do with their employer brand. They should do a before and after case study on the pandemic and see how resilient their employer brand has been.

I believe there’s a good reason for doing this. The pandemic was so disruptive. It completely changed the way we work and shifted our perception of how we want to work in the future. This cannot be ignored. It must be addressed, especially if companies want to continue attracting talent.

The pandemic increased the importance of the employer brand

Now let’s be honest. Prior to the pandemic, the goal of having a good employer brand wasn’t always actively pursued. It still isn’t. 

But it has become increasingly important since the pandemic. The employer brand is what the name describes – It’s how attractive a company is perceived to be as an employer by candidates.

In Switzerland, talent is scarce and it’s got even tighter as the Swiss economy recovers from the pandemic and companies rush to hire. Moreover, the desires and needs of candidates have changed, which has required some employer rebranding.

For instance, casual dress on Fridays, language courses and even company canteens might be less important for flexible workers. These perks are less interesting if employees work two to three days at home.

Companies need to adapt and rethink what they offer

This will be crucial. If Swiss companies want to attract, engage and retain the best people, they’re going to have to adjust what they offer. They need to revitalise their recruitment strategy.

After all, the traditional office-based work environment has changed. We are entering a highly digital and fast-paced style of working, which is often remote and flexible. Everything that was one standard about what we thought about recruitment has now changed. 

Here are three suggestions for how Swiss companies can revitalise their employer brand.

1. Develop an employer brand that focuses on trust

The employer brand shouldn’t be defined by simply delivering a vision or philosophy. This may not resonate or have much meaning for candidates who prefer actions over words. A company can create a much better impression by demonstrating its ability to listen, offer empathy, plus show a real understanding of what challenges employees face.

This shows to candidates that the company puts the needs of employees first. Companies that did this during the pandemic not only retained talent but were able to hire talent after the lockdown.

Listening skills, empathy and a real understanding of what challenges employees face can help strengthen trust. This includes shifting quickly to flexible working arrangements to adjust to the post-pandemic environment. Added to this, new perks could be offered, such as being able to work outside Switzerland for a working holiday over the course of a number of weeks. The idea here is to show that as an employer you care about work-life balance and the well-being of employees.

2. Create a healthy work atmosphere that persists even in a remote setting

Good relationships between employees should be based upon trust and respect. Casual social interactions are usually very important for creating strong bonds between employees. 

It's important to encourage employees to connect on a regular basis and not just to complete tasks for work. This can be challenging in a flexible working environment when not everyone is in the office at the same time. However, a bit of creativeness and ingenuity can be used to create this environment.

For instance, companies could provide free lunches after an office meeting. They could also organise special social events so employees can meet together in person on a regular basis. The possibilities are endless.

3. Let employees design their career path

This is taking on an increasingly important role in career development. Younger employees are placing more emphasis on reskilling and upskilling to help futureproof their jobs. During the pandemic, interest in e-learning spiked as the lockdown seemed to provide the perfect moment for employees to invest in themselves.

Offering this is a win-win situation for both the employer and employee. From and employers’ perspective it gives them the scope to reskill and up skill their current workforce, plus demonstrate to the world that they are willing to invest in their employees. From the employee’s perspective, they will gain valuable work expertise on the job that will help keep them employed until retirement.

Continuous learning is set to become the norm in the future, so it makes sense to make it part of your post-pandemic employer brand.

Now is the time for Swiss companies to really test the resilience of their employer brand and recruitment strategy. If they are successful, the talent that they can hire and retain will help take full advantage of the economic recovery that is now underway.