What your employer brand story says about your business — now, and always - Technical.ly

Growth

May 12, 2020 7:16 am

What your employer brand story says about your business — now, and always

At Technical.ly's Introduced|Virtual conference, execs from five businesses in the region discussed what they want to be known for, and how they're keeping employees safe and engaged during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Tell Your Employer Brand Story Now” panelists at Introduced|Virtual 2020.

“Tell Your Employer Brand Story Now” panelists at Introduced|Virtual 2020.

(Technical.ly image)

During the best of times, an employer’s brand — its reputation as an employer, essentially — matters a lot. During a crisis like COVID-19, how an employer treats its employees now will reverberate long after the world emerges from a state of emergency.

On Thursday, Technical.ly hosted its first Introduced|Virtual conference, the first all-online version of our annual conference that introduces the ideas, people and opportunities that build better companies. (Look for the IRL version to return during Philly Tech Week 2020 presented by Comcast this September.)

During the “Tell Your Employer Brand Story Now” panel moderated by Technical.ly Assistant Editor Stephen Babcock, over 200 live attendees heard from company leaders from around the mid-Atlantic about their employer branding stories, and how they’re keeping employees safe and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Couldn’t attend live? Watch the full panel below (skip a few minutes ahead to reach the start of the conversation) and read a few highlights below:

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Demonstrate that your core values really mean something.

If your company’s core values aren’t put into action during a crisis situation, they’re just words. For many tech companies and startups, innovation is a primary value — and it’s one that is being put to the test in times like these.

BCIT has its own mission within city government — “provide sustainable infrastructure and technology to support and enhance City departments, communities, businesses and mayoral goals” — as well as value words, with the acronym ICARE: innovation and excellence, customer focus, accountability and credibility, respect and inclusion, and efficiency.

“While there’s a lot that’s changed, and our immediate focus … is different right now, it still is the same in that we’re reacting to [the city’s needs],'” said BCIT’s Jackson. “And the needs are, helping the city be able to function in this new remote world.”

Take the time to listen.

The office is a big part of company culture for many employers, and a big part of that is having teams communicate their needs frequently. When everyone is working separately, especially when employees are accustomed to working in an office environment, you may need to be more intentional about listening to your team.

“We’ve been taking a lot of time trying to listen to our employees to hear and understand what they needs,” said On the Goga’s Greenwald. “At the end of the day, our mission is to make the world a better, happier place. That doesn’t change, but how we do that looks a little different now.”

Rethink the office perks.

One of the first things some people think of when it comes to employer branding is the perks. From free lunches and common-area beer kegs to indoor putt-putt and workout facilities, part of an employer’s reputation after wages and benefits is based on the extras.

Maintaining perks can be a challenge when employees are all working from home, especially as weeks turn into months. Cloudtamer.io’s Lynch offers an alternative: The Fulton, Maryland-based software company has started offering a GrubHub allowance for employees, so they can enjoy a free lunch for weekly “lunch and learn” events. Other WFH-friendly perks include virtual game events for employees and the increasingly popular virtual happy hour.

Let everyone in on the fun.

Even very small things can make a difference as far as making employees feel connected, not isolated, during WFH. Just-for-fun Slack channels are a popular way to keep the team connected throughout the day, and a low-maintenance way to encourage engagement through conversation starters and daily questions. (At Technically Media, we have #v-good-animals, for instance.)

Keep in mind that when platforms like Slack are used socially, inside jokes can pop up a lot. Crossbeam’s Poling pointed out that simply making sure everyone is on the virtual office jokes will help prevent less socially gregarious team members from feeling left out.

Rethink remote work for the future.

When WFH became the only way for many companies to continue doing business, many employers began counting the days until things could go back to normal, with everyone coming into the office every day.

Niche.com’s Skurman entered the COVID-19 lockdown with a company where everyone worked in the office. Looking ahead, he says he’s changed the way he thinks about hiring.

“We’ve embraced working remotely in a huge way,” he said. “I think we’re going to be hiring people remotely and in a much more flexible environment going forward.”

Catch the full day of panels on YouTube.

If you’d like to show your appreciation for our free programming and support our independent newsroom, considering donating to the Technical.ly Journalism Fund, of any amount, including the organizational level of $1,000.

Philly Tech Week 2020 is more like Philly Tech Year, with more virtual events like this coming throughout the next few months. Get updates on speakers, sessions, attendee specials and more by signing up for #PTW20 emails today:

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