Lori's Blog

How Will You Treat Me When There's a Crisis?

employee storytelling employer branding
concerned look on woman's face as she works from home

There are a whole lot of employer brand stories in the making right now as companies are figuring out how they will respond to the continuing COVID-19 public health crisis. We’re hearing some of these stories already.

Some companies are finding ways to enable employees so that they can work from home. Others have had to temporarily shut down. Still others are operating at a reduced level. Many are stepping up to help their communities at the same time that they’re creating their own coping strategy.

Focus On Doing the Right Thing

A crisis has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people, and the stories of how your company is coping with today’s situation are going to be told long after the crisis has passed. It often seems that the negative stories have a way of sticking around longer than the positive stories but the best thing you can do right now to make the narrative positive is to focus on doing the right thing. Then later, when you invite people to share their experiences, the best stories – and the character of your company – will be revealed.

The Burning Question Candidates Ask

Not only will the character of your company be uncovered when employees share their stories of how your company maneuvered through this crisis, candidates will get answers to their questions. One thing that I share in my recruitment marketing seminar is what I call, “The burning question” which is “Why should I work for you?”

The “Why should I work for you” question is answered with a subset of questions that differs from individual to individual. When it comes right down to it, people just want to know how they’re going to be treated.

  • How will you treat me when I want to move to a different role in the company?
  • How will you treat me when I want to get off early to coach my child’s soccer team?
  • How will you treat me when I have ideas to share?
  • How will you treat me when I have a family emergency?

You get the idea.

When the COVID-19 crisis has passed but is still fresh in the memories of job candidates and employees, we can add “How will you treat me when there’s a global crisis” to the list. The answer to this, and to many other questions that job candidates have, can be answered within the context of real employee experiences.

Your Employer Brand in a Crisis

I cannot imagine all of the issues that businesses large and small are dealing with right now. Emotions are high and it might take a couple of tries to find the right path through circumstances that are beyond our control. Your journey through this situation will become part of your company story and because the story is about real distress and how you overcame adversity, it might become one of the most impactful stories in your whole company narrative.

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