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Maintaining your employer brand through turbulent times

Today’s business landscape is marked by economic slowdowns and major technological advances, forcing organizations to make difficult decisions, such as laying off workers. In such contexts, maintaining a strong and attractive employer brand can seem daunting.  

With the prospect of an economic recovery that will require active rehiring efforts, understanding the importance of a thoughtful and compassionate approach to managing departures is key. This is crucial to maintain the engagement and trust of existing and future talent. 

Adequate management of layoffs and impact on employer brand

Layoffs have significant repercussions on an organization’s brand and can tarnish its reputation over time if managed incorrectly. According to Harvard Business Review, layoffs are a key determinant of whether employees decide to stay or go. To be compassionate and mitigate the impact on the employer brand, it is essential to approach these sensitive moments with transparency, empathy, and respect. 

The first question should of course be, “Are layoffs the only solution?” The human cost, the loss of know-how for the organization, the possible impact on employee engagement, and the investment required to rehire when the time comes all call for a thorough analysis of each option. 

When the time comes to lay off members of a team, it’s important to remember that the way people are treated during these difficult times reflects the culture and core values of the organization. Today’s actions shape tomorrow’s image. Providing support (such as career transition services), offering fair compensation, and treating people with compassion demonstrates a deep commitment to their well-being. It also reinforces the retention and trust of remaining teams and maintains a positive work environment. 

Transparent and regular communication about the organization’s objectives and prospects helps alleviate concerns. It’s important to make people feel safe by providing them with opportunities to express their fears and concerns, be heard, and exchange ideas. Betting on the future by offering training and professional development opportunities can also solidify the commitment of the troops and their confidence in the organization’s ability to bounce back. 

Even in the most difficult times, it’s important to keep economic recovery in mind. Organizations need to plan and pave the way for a future where additional skills and personnel will once again be required. Keeping in touch with former colleagues, maintaining a positive image in recruiting networks, and continuously investing in the employer brand are predictive actions of success. 

In conclusion, the way an organization navigates turmoil, including layoffs, directly influences its attractiveness as an employer. Adopting an empathetic strategic approach that conveys respect and support will not only help the organization weather the storm, but also emerge as a better organization, with a committed team that is ready to take on new challenges. A commitment to organizational values, transparent communication, and respectful treatment of each individual are the key pillars of success. 

Employer brand

Stand out in a competitive job market by developing a solid employer brand. Through our expertise in human resources and marketing, we help you develop and implement innovative strategies to attract, engage, and retain top talent.

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Didier Dubois CPHR, Distinction Fellow
  • Partner, Employer Brand | Organizational Transformation & Strategy
Emilie Pelletier MSc, CPHR
  • Partner, Employer Brand | Organizational Transformation & Strategy

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