Employer Branding During Layoffs

Employer Branding During Layoffs

The layoffs that are rampant in the IT sector in India are making headlines in all the media platforms– while one section of the people have denied such a development, others have acknowledged it. This, however, does not deny the fact that the situation is grim, and also, sends a definite and an incisive message to the IT talent pool that they are required to “reskill” else face “doom”. For the employers, however, the message staring at them is “protect your employer brand and show your true character”.

As a strategist in employer branding, I find it my duty to advice for both sections of organizations-

  • Those that are downsizing
  • Those that are retaining

For Organisations That Are Downsizing

As a rule of the thumb, Employer Branding is not to be ignored at any point in time during such a critical period. Instead of refraining or gagging the spokespersons from speaking to the media, it only makes sense to highlight the employee engagement or HR practices that were in motion in the organization, and, ensure that there is no sustained damage to its employer brand.

  • It is pivotal to ascertain that vital link which associates the process of restructuring and the advantages it can bring about to the employer brand.
  • It is perennially essential to devise highly coherent messages for the internal and the external communication media.
  • It is necessary that the top management as well as the C-Suite have valid answers to the queries posed by the workforce that is being let off and the talent pool that is being retained.
  • Those interacting with the employees such as the team leads and the HR team must be suitably mentored so that they can come forth with the right reasons behind such a move, and at the same time, keep the retained employees sufficiently motivated.
  • It must be borne in mind that the retained employees are looking up to you to seek a solution to their receding morale and added insecurity.
  • Again, it is equally important that the workers who are being laid off are also handled with due care and dignity. They should be provided with the appropriate severance pay, clear and transparent reasons for laying them off and an unbiased reason of choice. Outplacement services is simply an icing on the cake! It should be clear that this is your “moment”. Your dos and donts during such a watergate moment shall decide your credibility as an employer, and, far exceeds, any of the wellness initiative provided by you.
  • It is also important to place checks on various digital outlets such as the social media, company chatrooms, PR news, digital marketing and so on to ensure that things never go out of hand.
  • Organizations should realize that this is the opportune moment to augment the in-house talent by way of reskilling or upskilling on the tools that shall be in vogue in the days ahead, and, also ensure that they are provided with suitable opportunities in learning and development. It means a lot for the employee if he or she becomes aware that the employer is ensuring that they stay relevant in the today’s world, and thus works wonders for the Brand Value.

It is worth noting that it takes ages to establish a brand value and only a moment to reduce it to a rubble. Therefore, it is quintessentially important that the people being laid off are treated in a very humane and a very deferential manner. Such treatment only exudes confidence amongst the minds of those employees who have been retained, and, helps them remain focused on the tasks before them. In addition, employer reputation remains consistent on platforms such as Glassdoor, Twitter and various other digital handles. That apart, the employees who have been let off actually function as Brand Ambassadors.

For Organizations That Are Retaining

For organizations that are not downsizing, this is the most opportune moment to advertise your brand value as an employer.

  • For starters, this is the best possible way to go boasting around town that are not downsizing in spite of the odds stacked against you.
  • If the company is actually performing even in such testing times, then every media platform or corporate network should be made use of to highlight the news of your success.
  • It must be ensured that the news being circulated should revolve around the best practices in engagement, quality of leadership, steady careers with sufficient growth opportunities, a rock-solid company etc.
  • This is the time to advertise on the means adapted to upskill the workforce on the tools of the future such as AI, Robotics, Machine learning, VR etc. to overcome the fiscal recession, and, also the fact that the C-Suite willingly agreed to a pay cut so as to avoid losing manpower.
  • It is also prudent to make use of the employees’ personal brands and their networks to deliver a positive image and also showcase the kind of future technology that they have laid hands on.
  • It would be intelligent if you highlight some of the novel or state of the art products or services that are being developed at your end on multiple channels and platforms.
  • You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you are given an opportunity to speak about the glorious future for Corporate India, or the economic upswing, or the upheaval of the Indian business landscape.
  • An internal communique’ or a message to the employees that we are in clear waters, however, we need to remain focused on innovating, reinventing, and future planning. This is the apt time to announce an employee hackathon or a contest to ensure that they remain engaged and motivated.

The timing is never this perfect to relaunch your brand identity and the delivering of the message if you are truly doing well and thus make use of the otherwise sombre job market as the ideal take off point. It is also the right moment to introduce employee engagement, benefits and wellness initiatives. This is where your communications and your PR skills come in, and also make sure to utilise the employee social network to get them highlighted and be sure that your employer brand gets the recognition that it is truly worth.

In today’s day and age, it is a cardinal truth to remain related and also contemporary in order to be successful as a brand employer. It is therefore only justified if you remain subtle and at the same time be a go-getter as well.



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