There have been hundreds of articles written about how organizations are/are not using social media in their responses to COVID-19. But many have missed the crucial role of leadership in navigating what comes next.
For graduates, job-seekers, employees and of course employers, it’s an uncertain time. In these moments, we look to the largest organizations for reassurance – indeed the biggest employers are often seen as bellwethers for entire economies.
But at the exact moment when the world is looking to them for leadership, too many of these firms’ social media corporate and careers channels have fallen silent.
It’s easy to understand why.
In moments of uncertainty, firms are fearful of saying the wrong thing, of not having all the answers. It would be frowned upon to use social channels to engage with careers’ audiences whilst at the same time having to implement hiring freezes, redundancies or furloughing staff.
But here’s 3 reasons why CHROs and talent leaders need to act now:
The actions that employers take today will define them for generations
All of us in the talent ecosystem recognize the unique and critical role we play in ensuring the world of work is thriving. Economies are driven by human capital. It’s the reason many of us work in this space, driven by the higher purpose of connecting people to meaningful work. So there’s a societal responsibility here.
Yet it’s difficult to know what to say when you have no idea what’s around the corner. If you’re having to make tough decisions, it’s easier to say nothing and do nothing. But if your employees, your target candidates, your customers, suppliers and local communities look to you for reassurance and they are met only with silence (or the background noise of negativity), then there will be a price to pay in terms of diminished employer reputation.
Those firms that actively engage however – even if they have to communicate tough decisions – will reap the rewards of brand loyalty and brand preference for years to come, from consumers and candidates alike. These organizations that harness the unique convening power of social media today to build trust and add value to their talent audiences are the ones that will find it easier to attract, recruit and retain the best talent tomorrow.
Candidates are craving content and human connection
Secondly right now the world craves human connection.
New research Illustrates that at this precise moment consumers and candidates what to hear more from brands in most sectors, not less.
It goes on to show that those brands that engage (regardless of message), are being perceived as dealing better with the pandemic than those that do not engage at all.
And who do they want to engage with? The answer from the same study is overwhelmingly employees and leaders.
This is about opportunity as well as responsibility
So CHRO’s have a brand and societal responsibility to engage. But there’s also an extraordinary short-term opportunity.
Since most of the world has been forced into some type of restricted movement, social media usage has sky rocketed: a 75% increase according to one study.
But, at the same moment, most employers, as noted above, have stopped communicating. Most Facebook Careers pages are as quiet as the deserted streets of our cities.
So what does that mean?
Simply put, every single hour and dollar now invested in building your talent brand is multiplied exponentially.
Here are three strategies to drive short- and long-term impact:
Use social to listen, learn and emphasize
The very first step is to ensure your organization has an active listening plan in place on social media. This will allow you to hear any challenges that your employees and talent audiences are facing. By doing so, you’ll be able to act with empathy, use audience insights to define strategy, and also tailor your approach and tactics to reflect today’s disrupted operating environment.
For example, we’ve heard thousands of candidates share on social media their fear of going to face to face interviews. The solution: “Insta-views” on Instagram and zoom group on-boarding programs.
Innovate to Accelerate
The current disruption is of course creating instability and uncertainty. But it also creates opportunity, as outlined above. As CHROs and talent leaders, this is the time to be bold, to innovate, to experiment, to double down on authenticity and true social story telling.
To give an example, here are two areas where Carve / TMP are helping our clients innovate to accelerate impact and engagement:
- Attraction: using hyper targeted social content to reach key audiences with realtime recruiting updates; using geo-fenced social listening to respond to people who are actively job-seeking in your recruiting areas; convening tech and data hacks to take on mission-led challenges.
- Application, Interviewing, Screening: using virtual recruiting events to accelerate and de-risk traditional recruitment events; hosting ‘Insta-views’ rather than face to face interviews.
Harness Connected Leaders and Talent Magnets
Finally, now is the time to “hand the mic” to employees and leaders.
Thanking your employees – and sharing their stories – creates authentic connection in a time when the world needs it most.
Effective tactics include:
- Connecting your people and your customers as Barclays has done with a simple but powerful piece of UGC driven content.
- Celebrating and amplifying employee stories from the front line as @UPSJobs is doing, whilst deftly highlighting opportunities.
- Building connected leaders, equipping your leaders with the profiles, connectivity and content to lead through uncertainty.
I’d love to hear your views and hear your experiences in the comments.
 Brand Marketing in a Crisis, Opinium 2020
 Campaign US, March 1 2020, article