Recruiting in times of home office and social distancing: What is important concerning employer branding?

As long as the vaccination rate in this country is still expandable, home office and social distancing determine all areas of life - also in recruiting. This makes it particularly difficult for companies to recruit new employees and to organize onboarding effectively. What is important in employer branding now in order to present oneself as an attractive employer on the labor market and to send positive signals when filling vacant positions?

Satisfying the need for security
The current uncertain economic times mean that permanent employees shy away from the risk of changing jobs and tend to stay with the same company - even if this interferes with their professional advancement or they tend to be dissatisfied. Career starters, on the other hand, are uncertain about what their future career might look like. They are looking for crisis-proof jobs that give them a perspective. That's why municipal institutions with the prospect of civil servant status are high on the list. As an employer, you can therefore score points in employer branding if you focus on job security and use longstanding employees as testimonials. 

Giving lateral entrants a chance
The event and travel industry, as well as the restaurant and hotel industry, are experiencing a reorientation and migration of existing employees, who are often affected by short-time work. The job market is on the move. Career changers are open to new employment relationships and are often very motivated to further their education or to familiarize themselves in depth with new fields of activity. Depending on the job profile, this can present an opportunity for employers and employees alike. As part of your employer branding, present yourself as an open employer with a well-founded familiarization concept and the opportunity for (in-service) training. 

Using social media to address candidates
Depending on which age group you want to reach as an employer with your employer branding measures, it is worth keeping an eye on various social networks to draw attention to yourself and actively address interesting applicants (active sourcing). Xing is particularly popular with middle-income employees from Germany. Although LinkedIn provides international contacts, it is also becoming increasingly relevant for the German job market - especially for very well-educated employees, including those in the higher income brackets. Generation Z likes to spend time on Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok. Facebook, on the other hand, is not so popular among 16-24 year olds. 

Which content works particularly well depends heavily on the respective target group. Different impulses could be authentic insights into the everyday working life of your employees, small fitness exercises for health prevention in the home office, amusing employee challanges or DIY tips from the workforce. In each case, you should present your company as an attractive place to work and publish original content that ideally encourages interaction. However, keep in mind that your social media style should match your company's philosophy and be authentic.

Use employee recommendations
Statements and posts from employees who already work at your company are particularly credible for potential applicants. When they share your job ads or speak positively about the company and its culture, you gain a real competitive advantage as an employer through word-of-mouth. On your career website, blog, magazine or social media posts, feature actions with your employees that reflect the company's social commitment, your pro-diversity or environmental sustainability. The important thing here is to put your employees in the spotlight. This comes across as more authentic than simply claiming that these values matter to you as an employer.

Communicate values
For the new generation of employees, the values your employer stands for are becoming increasingly relevant. A good salary and various benefits alone are no longer enough to position yourself as an attractive employer in the job market. A lack of values or a perceived arbitrariness quickly make companies unattractive to applicants. What values does your company stand for that should be particularly emphasized as part of employer branding? Corporate values can be, for example: trust through honesty and fairness in dealings, responsibility by involving employees, integrity, respect, open communication as a sign of appreciation, individual promotion and further development, sustainability, a good work-life balance through flexible working time models and health-promoting measures, work-life balance or an esteeming management style. If you have defined an authentic value base for yourself as a company, you can also better assess which new employees are a good fit for you based on their own values and motivation. Missing hard skills of new employees can still be learned - in the best case in everyday work. But a completely different attitude toward your most important values can disrupt solidarity and effective cooperation in the workforce.

Show responsibility
As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees that extends to many areas. Safety and health prevention in the workplace are important components that should also apply in the home office. Communicate your concept on this as part of employer branding! Especially in times of social distancing, this topic is important to employees. What are the break regulations in the home office? Do your employees have to be available around the clock? To what extent do you equip the home office or provide subsidies? Do you support online courses for back problems? 

The topics of personal rights (e.g., right to privacy, protection against mobbing etc.) and mental health are also increasingly coming into focus.The DAK Psych Report 2021 recorded around 265 days of incapacity to work per 100 insured persons in Germany due to mental illness.  This is a new high, for which the pandemic is probably at least partly responsible. 

It is much more difficult for managers to recognize the onset of burnout or warning signs of other mental health problems when their employees are in a home office and personal contact on site is severely limited or absent altogether. Offer awareness training or implement virtual coffee rounds to stay close to your employees. The application and subsequent onboarding process in particular should be rethought in light of social distancing. Support your new employees in getting a foothold in your company. For example, implement a mentoring system so that new colleagues are not left alone.

Come and talk to us! We will be happy to advise you on all matters relating to employer branding:

Katrin Jetter (Senior Consultant)
[email protected]

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