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Employer Branding During COVID-19 and What Lies Ahead

By Universum on 13/04/2021

Welcome to our first monthly Employer Branding questions and answers blog post! Every month we will post questions to Universum’s Employer Branding experts from around the globe on a range of EB topics. For our very first article in this series, we sat down with Universum Managing Director for the Nordics, Claes Peyron, to discuss Employer Branding during COVID-19 and what lies ahead for talent acquisition.

Claes, thanks for joining. It’s been a chaotic year and most of us are still working from home, what’s your summary of the past 12 months?

The past year has certainly been eventful. I would even argue that these past 12 months have been the most eventful that we’ve experienced in modern history. Several events and factors have affected us as employers, employees, and most importantly, as human beings.

The pandemic has led to an economic slowdown in most countries around the world. We have witnessed intensified political polarization in many countries, including the US. Sustainability has remained very front of mind. The “Greta Thunberg Effect” we’ve talked about for some time, has never been more in focus.

The other thing that has also been taking place during the past 12 months, which perhaps is not an event as such, is the arrival of a new generation in the job market.

2020 saw Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) enter the job market in significant numbers. Of course, many of them are still at university, but we also see more than ever before joining our companies as employees.

This has probably been a year that has altered priorities for people worldwide, more so than we’ve seen in a long time.

What does this mean from a talent perspective?

It means that the concerns and priorities of talent will have certainly changed. We are eagerly awaiting the latest research that we’ve done on Gen Z and millennials.

We anticipate that the priorities of both groups will have indeed shifted quite a lot. Things that were important before COVID-19 and before the other events that I mentioned might not be so significant anymore.  We expect significant and big shifts in what talent considers essential when choosing an employer and a future career.

How should employers respond? 

Well, we believe that there will be a need to rewrite the script! And what do we mean by the script? Your EVP, (Employer Value Proposition) that you currently have in place. The script may be the copy and all the stories that you’re telling on your career website, and all the employee stories you have on your social media.

It’s worth looking at those coms and thinking about whether those messages still hold up. Given that priorities have changed due to everything that has happened, your EVP might have to be tweaked or changed entirely.

And of course, to do that, employers will need to learn more about what the talent prioritise in 2021. Depending on your industry, these changes might be small or require a lot of thought to restructure your EVP.

Priorities have also changed for employers. Companies have been forced to respond to the pandemic and become more efficient. Depending on your industry, this could mean that you require more tech talent, or other types of skillsets that are more necessary now than before.

So we expect a more focused and granular view for employers reaching out to different types of target groups. I expect this will not only take educational background into consideration, but also soft skills, personality and values.

What happens if you don’t act? 

Well, we believe that it’s actually quite risky to not react, because the priorities will have changed, And, again, we have to remind ourselves and be able to zoom out and understand that the past 12 months have, indeed, been, unprecedented. So ultimately this will result in different priorities and different drivers to attract the talent you need.

So if we don’t act, we miss, We run the risk of actually not saying the right things, to the right people, not presenting ourselves in the right way, and simply missing the target groups entirely. That could lead to not getting the results that we expect. Ultimately, this will lead to not being able to attract, recruit, nor even retain the people that we desperately need for our business to grow and prosper in the coming 10 years.

For more tips and information on talent and Employer Branding strategy during the ongoing pandemic, download a free copy of our lastest insights report, Talent Outlook 2021.

About Universum

Universum is a data-driven, insight-led employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai. We provide our clients with the research, strategy and creative solutions they need to compete more effectively for talent.

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