While the COVID-19 crisis has caused serious challenges across the talent landscape, it’s clear that there has never been a more important time to invest in your employer brand and find innovative ways to bring the candidate experience to life. 

To understand how employers can attract and retain top talent in this new normal, I was recently joined by Charlotte Marshall, Global Employer Brand Lead at Danaher Corporation, and Bryan Adams, Founder & CEO at Ph.Creative, to discuss how employers can move from crisis to confidence in a COVID-19 world.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch it live, I have distilled the most compelling insights from the discussion into key 6 points.

 1. The value of a ‘Give and Get’ employer brand 

Fresh from the launch of their new book, ‘Give & Get Employer Branding’, Charlotte and Bryan raised an interesting point about the true purpose of an employer brand.

Conventional employer brand methodology relies on a one-way value exchange that focuses solely on the opportunities, benefits and strengths of joining your organization. 

Instead, Charlotte and Bryan propose that your employer brand and EVP become much more effective when you couple the strengths, benefits and opportunities with the adversity people must embrace to thrive within your organization. This mutual value exchange is what they like to call the ‘Give and Get’.

2. Repel the many and compel the few

By using the principles of a ‘Give and Get’ employer brand, Charlotte has been able to redefine her organizations’ approach to sourcing and hiring talent. 

“The first four employer brands I built at Fortune 500 companies followed the conventional employer brand methodology where you broadcast strengths and opportunities. But guess what happens? This creates a heap of challenges on the back end with a massive influx of unqualified candidates coming into your recruitment funnel.” 

The answer, Charlotte says, is to use a two-way value exchange to articulate more than the benefits and opportunities. In this case, you lean into the harsh realities and vulnerabilities of your organization and communicate the demands and expectations that your company has of prospective talent.

In doing so, you can use your employer brand as a smart filter that sits between your recruitment and your recruitment marketing. This means you can repel the many and compel the few who are well-matched to your unique organizational culture. 

3. Dial-up the personalisation in virtual recruitment strategies

 It’s fair to say the world has changed a lot in the last three months, and many organizations have been forced to pivot and adapt quickly. The shift to digital has been challenging for some, particularly when it comes to ensuring the delivery of high-quality candidate experience. 

“Talent attraction teams have always been pulled in a million different directions, and now more so than ever. The best leaders are helping to enable the functioning of their team and articulate their employer brand proposition in the best way possible.”

To engage with talent in this new normal, the importance of implementing a virtual recruitment strategy that keeps candidates feeling engaged, informed and valued throughout the hiring process.

“Working with 60 or so global brands, we’ve noticed that personalisation is key to engaging with talent virtually. Ask yourself, ‘What does my audience want right now?’ ‘How can I provide that to them?’ This could mean running skills-based sessions for students on how to build a great LinkedIn profile or how to build a personal brand.”

Ultimately, virtual recruiting strategies become much more effective when you tap into particular audience segments and layer these conversations with thoughtful and authentic employer brand comms. 

4. Leverage employee-generated content

 If you want to resonate with candidates virtually, then it’s vital that you tap into your organization’s greatest strength: its people. 

Consider this: candidates are 3x more likely to trust a company’s employees than the company to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there.

“Seeing content from real candidates and employees increases your credibility as a brand because it’s believable and genuine.”

To leverage this, ask your hiring managers to run a live stream event for candidates, or set up an initiative where employees can share their own stories via video content and written blogs. Remember, authenticity is important in building trust and affinity with talent – especially when looking to connect with people virtually.

83% of candidates say the authenticity of company content would impact their level of trust in that organization, so spend time investing in your people. When you turn these stories into employer brand content, you can use the power of technology and social media to deliver humanised experiences – even if the candidate and employee never actually meet face-to-face. 

5. Harness live chat technology to bring your employer brand to life

As new technology enters the scene, employers are now equipped with alternate methods for engaging candidates virtually. This means that social distancing restrictions don’t have to spell the end of authentic candidate engagement. With live chat technology, you can create real-time virtual events for candidates – run by your own employees.

If you’re thinking of investing in this software, then look for live chat technology that is fully customizable. 

Whether that means sharing blog posts, video content or information about roles and responsibilities, leveraging live chat rooms can be a fantastic way to double down on your employer brand values and help candidates feel connected, engaged and welcome.  

6. 2020 could be the year of employer brand

It’s important to take a step back and think about the role and value of employer brand from a wider perspective.

“I think we’ll look back on 2020 and consider this as the year of the employer brand. True character is revealed under pressure, and I think it’s fair to say a lot of organisations are under pressure at the moment.

If you lack a coherent employer brand story, or you fail to understand your employee experience and identify what matters to your talent audience, then this could be a huge risk to your reputation.

How organisations communicate with employees and candidates has the distinct possibility of creating a long, lasting legacy – for good or for bad. For the companies that invest in their employer brand, there’s a real opportunity to take a giant leap forward.”

At a time of crisis, with so much worry, fear, uncertainty and volatility, it’s clear that your employer brand and employee value proposition can play a key role in providing certainty, clarity and familiarity to candidates and employees. For these reasons and many more, it’s very possible this could be the year that proves the short-term and long-term value of investing in your employer brand. 


Charlotte Marshall – Danaher Corporation

Charlotte was named the 2019-2020 Employer Brand Leader of the Year and has successfully built and launched five Fortune 500 employer brands. She is an in-demand international speaker and the global employer brand lead at Danaher Corporation.

Bryan Adams – Ph.Creative

Bryan is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, recognized as one of the leading employer brand agencies in the world with clients such as Apple, American Airlines, GVC, and Blizzard Entertainment. Bryan is also a bestselling author, podcaster, creative strategist, and specialist speaker.

Ali Hackett – Meet & Engage

Ali is the Co-Founder and Director of Meet & Engage and has worked for many years as an independent consultant managing projects spanning employer brand, recruitment, employability and retention across a variety of sectors. Ali’s experiences as an in-house recruitment leader, covering both volume and experienced hires, has given her a depth of understanding around the challenges that organizations face and a passion for putting candidate experience firmly on the agenda.