It’s remarkable how much things can change in the span of a few years. I’ve heard so many comments that companies are experiencing a huge influx of unsolicited job applications or requests. CV’s and resumes that were so hard to come by only 2-3 years ago, are now flooding in from all corners of the world. I also believe some of the rise in popularity of company Facebook and Twitter pages have been due to the increase in job searchers in the market. All of this poses an interesting question – should a company ever stop managing its employer brand?

An employer brand is a relatively new concept, but in reality it’s something many companies have been doing for years without knowing it. On face value, an employer brand is often misinterpreted as a consistent appearance and style of recruitment advertising or any other recruitment initiatives. The reality is that it’s much more than that. It’s the differentials or perceptions the company creates, the working environment, the way it treats prospective and past employees, social functions and cultural rituals, its recruitment tools and selection procedures, and every piece of collateral that reaches an employee’s desk (i.e. pay slips, induction packages etc.). It’s about the ‘environment’ the workplace creates for its employees, and the management of the perception of that ‘environment’ in the public domain.

Unfortunately, the ups and downs of the labour market act in polar opposite to the economic circumstances. Business is tough, but you have potential workers coming out of your ears. Or, business is flowing in at a rapid pace, but skilled staff are impossible to find. It’s one of those tricky balancing acts that every business owner or management team struggles with.

That said, should a company ever stop managing its employer brand? My opinion is a resounding NO!

If you have invested in building an employer brand, or ‘environment’, you would be taking a huge backwards step by neglecting it now. How you look after your staff in the tough times, or if necessary, how you manage redundancies or restructures, is extremely important. It all impacts on your employer brand. These processes require careful public and private management and the same detail of care you would apply to drafting an employment advertisement or collateral you would prepare for a Careers Fair. The exit process from an organisation should be as well managed as the
entry process.

This is a touchy subject, but I also believe that unsolicited applicants should also be carefully managed. Often they are ignored, however I feel that it’s very important they receive a response; a sincere one at that.

As we have all experienced, economic circumstances change, and the good times always return and qualified staff are again hard to come by. Don’t burn your bridges by forgetting your employer brand strategy – maintain it like you would any other brand strategy and you will reap the rewards!