COVID-19: How Employer Brand Professionals Can Make a Lasting Difference

Dear Employer Brand Professionals, 

Coronavirus will become a defining moment for many of us. As an employer branding professional, talent acquisition leader, or recruiting professional, how you handle your role during this time can set the stage for your career, impact the lives of employees and candidates, and influence perceptions of your organization. In short, what you do today will have a lasting effect. Whether it’s positive or negative, is yet to be determined. 

As it relates to the “new normal” of working from home, social distancing, and flattening the curve, we’ve heard many people say and write, “we’re in this together.” Though you may be left wondering what else, or what more, can you do? We’ve always held the belief that employer brand is the strategy that underpins talent and people strategies. In Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill states, “success always demands a greater effort.” Now is not the time for “business as usual.” You, #EBPro, have an opportunity to rise above, expertly manage your brand, and truly make a difference.

Like many others, our team is now faced with the challenge of balancing kids at home and partners now working from home. It’s not easy, but we’re leaning in and embracing the challenge. And, we want to help you however we can, too! Here are a number of ways that, strange as it may seem, you can take this moment and make it matter. 

Stay safe. Be well. 

From all of us at exaqueo 


Ways Employer Brand Pros Can Rise to the Coronavirus Challenge 

YOU: Learning + Understanding

  1. Attend strategic and crisis communications webinars 
  2. Review PDF slides for Managing Your Candidate Experience and Employer Brand During Uncertain Times webinar
  3. Ask PR and Internal Communications if you can attend their meeting to learn how your organization responds to crisis situations
  4. Read a crisis management book or marketing books
  5. Develop your work from home strategy by using these free tools: team guide, planning form, planning form with notes, and form sample templates
  6. Read blogs from strategic communications firms 
  7. Access employer brand crisis response resources
  8. Meet with your manager or leader to reaffirm your commitment to the company and to your role
  9. Provide status reports to your manager to share your plan to support the function now and after the crisis and ask for feedback

YOUR COLLEAGUES: Partner with Stakeholders

  1. Meet with your PR team and TA leaders to develop a strategic communications plan 
  2. Review any auto-pilot campaigns or messaging to ensure they are appropriate 
  3. Work with Communications to align messages and the timing of messages to key audiences 
  4. Work with IT (where needed) to post updates and information online (e.g. your careers site)
  5. Ask recruiters what resources they need during this time
  6. Arm recruiters with on-brand talking points 
  7. Work with HR to communicate impact to RPO and third-party agency recruiters
  8. Provide RPO and third-party agency recruiters with talking points and approved messaging
  9. Meet with functional leaders (in the business and in HR)  to understand their current priorities and biggest talent fears for the future

YOUR CANDIDATES: Communicate, Communicate

  1. Develop communications by audience (recruiters, hiring managers, pipeline candidates, furloughed employees, interns, candidates with offers, etc.) and provide insight into the situation, the impact on hiring, and what they can expect as next steps (download our candidate communications framework no login needed)
  2. Update candidate communications across all channels and touchpoints of the candidate experience
  3. Interview or survey employees to understand how they are adapting to remote work
  4. Review internal employee communications to determine if any can be shared externally 
  5. Develop an FAQ page for your career site to share updates with candidates
  6. Partner with HR leadership to create a video to share with candidates
  7. Share regular updates to candidates on changes in open roles (transparency)


  1. Discuss social media strategies with Communications, HR, and Marketing. Do you reduce the frequency of posts? Is there a change in voice, tone, and imagery?
  2. Keep a pulse on what employees may be saying about your company via review sites and social media
  3. Develop a corporate response strategy for review sites and social media comments 
  4. Share news updates from your organization (e.g. if you work for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine for COVID-19, share that! If your company is offering paid leave and benefits during this time, share that!) 
  5. Work with leadership to develop post-coronavirus messaging strategies (re-hiring campaigns, outreach to former in-progress candidates, communications to summer interns, etc.) 
  6. Tell the story of what your company is doing for employees via LinkedIn posts and/or company blog posts.
  7. Assess media buy spend and plan to slow down or halt buys if needed
  8. Monitor online review sites and reply directly to comments or feedback with transparent updates on what your organization is doing

YOUR FUTURE: Plan for What’s Next 

  1. Focus on what to do no, what to plan later with Susan LaMotte's Five for the Fire, Five for the Future
  2. Survey candidates to determine how long or likely they are to wait out the crisis
  3. Measure employer brand perception now and across the next six months
  4. Build a strategy forecast with your plan for six, 12, and 18 months from now to demonstrate your forward-thinking
  5. Discuss what a rehire strategy could look like with your team 

"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." 
- John F. Kennedy

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