The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many businesses, and companies across the world are facing an unprecedented number of challenges. Unfortunately, one of the negative results of COVID-19 is the increase in the number of employee layoffs. While employee layoffs are inevitable, it has the potential to affect the employer brand massively. If layoffs and furloughs are not handled well, your employer brand can take a major hit.
How Does a Layoff Change Your Employer Brand Perception?
The impact of employee layoffs is the most on the current employees. During layoffs, they may find the company’s approach unprofessional and confusing. They may also view the company as volatile and unpredictable. Additionally, when the current and exiting employees share their experiences on online platforms or through word of mouth, it can have a drastic effect on potential employees, making it difficult to attract and retain talent.
How to Protect Employer Branding During Layoffs?
Here are 4 tips that can help you protect employer branding during layoffs:
Your actions should align with your EVP
Employer branding isn’t just about attracting talent. It’s also about how you treat them when
- They join you.
- There is a crisis.
- They leave you.
Employee perception of your company is built on every interaction they have throughout their employee lifecycle. So, it is important that whatever actions you take during a crisis situation (or otherwise) are aligned to your employer brand or EVP.
For example, if one of the key components of your employer value proposition (EVP) is providing learning opportunities to your employees, ensure that your leaders are providing mentorship, guidance, development, and training programs. Your leaders should also take time to discuss how this crucial time is presenting an opportunity for reflection, learning, and growth.
Adopt an empathetic and respectful approach while communicating layoffs
Whether in person or virtual, employee layoffs have to be conducted in a compassionate and respectful manner. One of the crucial elements here is communication. Before you communicate the layoff decision, ensure that you have the answer to the most common questions you’ll be asked. Communication should be transparent, and the approach should be respectful.
Ensure that the message is so clear that the employees know the reason they are being laid off and are not caught off guard. When employees are kept in the dark or are misinformed during layoffs, they have easily tarnished your employer brand.
Stay in touch with furloughed employees
Keep in touch with your furloughed employees regularly and provide them with resources and updates. Show them that you care and want them back as soon as things stabilize. This approach keeps your employees engaged so that when things normalize, they’ll still feel like a part of the organization.
Respond to employee reviews online
Inspite of following the tips mentioned above, there will be some angry laid off and furlough employees, who will post anonymous reviews on public platforms. Negative reviews are damaging to employer branding. Therefore, consider developing an reputation management strategy to mitigate the damage.
This strategy involves responding to employee reviews. In a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 62% of its members agreed that their perception of the company changed after seeing the employer’s response to the review.
A layoff or a furlough, if not managed well, can affect a company’s brand reputation. By developing a strategy to layoff employees the right way, you can protect your brand reputation and be successful in recruiting and retaining. By developing a strategy to layoff employees the right way, you can protect your brand reputation talent for years to come.