Increase Employee Acquisition and Retention
During a crisis, everyone watches the leaders. They are watching for communications, empathy, decisiveness, transparency, and confidence. In a crisis of epic proportion as we are in now, the best leaders are able to thrive and build trust with their customers, employees, and shareholders that will lead to enhanced brand reputation.
Unfortunately, too many companies are doing the wrong things during the crisis and these mistakes will lead to an erosion of brand reputation that will impact retention and the ability to find and hire great future employees.
We’ve all heard the concept of “Emotional Intelligence.” I think it’s time that we coin and use the concept of “Crisis Intelligence.” Crisis intelligence is an awareness of how you come across to others during a crisis. People in industries who are used to having crisis understand this concept well. Companies in the produce industry are well trained and ready to deal with the next salmonella situation as soon as it hits.
The perception of crisis intelligence has a direct correlation to your brand. I’ve spoken to too many good employees who are devastated by the way their company has been behaving during the crisis in terms of messaging, budget cuts, and aggressive sales tactics that show little to no empathy for customers or their community.
By way of example, it was literally shocked and then disgusted today by some bozo organization’s email headline of: “DON’T WASTE THIS CRISIS.” The email shared news of a new service available to small businesses to help them “pivot” to the new world of the post-COVID business ecosystem. For the small price of $2,500 they will set a one-on-one mentoring session with you to explore new ways of disrupting your business model to become richer than you could have ever imagined.” It’s truly pathetic.
Based on research in leadership and business acumen, here are some ideas on what not to do, and what to do to maintain your brand and increase employee acquisition and retention during the crisis.
Be rigid and unreasonable
I’ve heard horror story after horror story of how business organizations stuck in crisis have asked other organizations in their ecosystem for help only to be shown unreasonable behaviors. A friend of mine who works for a large law firm shared that his firm is having a hard time collecting cash from their clients. As a result, they were short of cash and asked their landlord for an extra week to pay. Now, this is a firm of more than 500 people occupying several floors of an office building and they’ve been there for more than 20 years. And the landlord said “no.” (My friend said that as soon as this is over, his firm is moving).
Lack of empathy
Showing empathy is one of the most important leadership traits to have and develop. It shows a deep understanding and connection to others and when you don’t have it and don’t show it, it will destroy brand reputation.
Trying too hard
Yes, we all get it, we are on the brink of disaster. But there must be certain lines and trying too hard is a line that when crossed reduces brand reputation.
Use your business value proposition for the good of the community
Every day we are hearing about great companies using their company business value proposition to help during the crisis. It’s pure and it’s wonderful. Think about the names of the companies who are doing it right:
- #ADP is giving away service and expertise to help their clients adjust to the new payroll rules
- #P&G is working their factories at 120% to make more #Charmin and they converted their #Gillette manufacturing facility to make ventilators
- #Gilead, #Merck, #Pfizer, and other great companies are working night and day to come up with breakthrough miracles to manage and then cure the disease
- #DuPont is re-diverting their resources to make more protective equipment
And my personal favorite is the wonderful thing #krispykreme is doing in many communities by giving free delicious and hot donuts to the healthcare workers in the hospitals.
Enhance your employee value proposition
In a time of crisis, focus even more attention and resources on your employees. Instead of cutting your training programs, invest even more in them. We are all experiencing a disruptive pivot from in-person classroom training to cloud-based virtual learning. It’s better, and less expensive because you are saving so much on travel and lodging costs.
Manage Employer Branding
Most organizations are just starting to understand the digital marketing revolution. There is a lot of information about your company living on the internet most of it good, and some of it bad. Now is the time to invest in the tools and services to make sure you are managing your employer brand and positioning the value of your company to prospective employees who want to work at a place that has a world class brand reputation.