Empathic employer branding: how human is your company towards employees?
We could go on a tirade about the impact of the corona crisis. But let's keep it short: a lot has changed. Also on the shop floor. We collectively had to adapt to new situations such as working from home, social distancing and internal communication via Zoom. And stood still for what really counts: health, well-being and connectedness. This attitude is also increasingly expected of companies. Enter empathic employer branding, or the human approach of your company to employees. How empathetic are you?
What is empathy?
Empathy is compassion, being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and understanding a particular situation. An empathic person is someone who senses the emotions of others well, who has the human insight to understand others and to deal with them in an appropriate way. Empathic individuals are often good listeners and counselors - you know, that one friend you always go to to talk about your problems or frustrations. But what is an empathetic company?
Corporate empathy vs employer empathy
When we talk about empathy in companies, we make a distinction between corporate empathy and employer empathy.
- Corporate empathy are the empathetic actions of your company towards the outside world. It is about (sincere) commitment to charity, promoting diversity, starting conversations on social media, showing compassion for the suffering in the world ...
- Employer empathy focuses on the empathic approach to your staff. Do you understand their emotions and desires in a given situation? Do you show understanding of them? And how do you deal with them?
Both are important and testify to the evolution from profit first to people first: your social contribution and the well-being of your people takes precedence over profit. But those who are really good at it know that people and profit go hand in hand. Employees who feel they are being heard and helped are more motivated and will perform better. Moreover, you save on personnel costs because you hire the right people who share your vision and stay in your company longer.
Deeds, not words
The employer empathy of many companies surfaced during the lockdowns. Did their employees' well-being come first? Did they let them work from home to ensure their health and that of their families? And if so, could they empathize and be flexible with different situations? Just think of the home-based worker who suddenly had to be a crisis counselor and home tutor as well. Or the employee who couldn't afford his own home office and had to look for alternatives.
And then: how did the company deal with employees who returned to the workplace after corona (reboarding)? Did they merely receive an email telling them that they were expected back at the office, or did the employer engage in a conversation to listen to whether they wanted it? And if so, what could be done to make them more comfortable?
You read it: it's not just pretty words. Empathy is not just about the tone in which you communicate. Of course it can be heart-warming, honest and involved to put your empathy as a company forward. But much more important are the actions you take as a company to demonstrate that empathy. Less talking, more doing.
Empathic employer branding: to current and potential employees
Empathic employer branding is not only important internally, but also for potential new employees. We are noticing a shift in recruitment where the focus is no longer just on financial benefits and a fancy office, but more on the social purpose of the company and the closeness of the team. Younger generations in particular find a company with a warm heart more attractive to apply to than a familiar headline.
Our tips for empathetic employer branding:
- Let your commitment shine through not only in job postings and HR videos, but also on your social media. Many job seekers use Instagram and LinkedIn to get a sense of your company culture, so make sure it shines through.
- Turn your employees into real ambassadors. For example, ask them to share company posts on their personal LinkedIn profiles and give them merchandise that literally puts them in the spotlight with your brand. If your team members show that they enjoy working for you, it will quickly become known that you are an empathetic employer.
- Organize team brainstorms at set times where everyone can tell you what is bothering him or her and where you immediately look for a solution together. Whether that's internal workflow or cleaning out the refrigerator.
- Just as important as team brainstorms are one-on-one evaluations. Let your staff know (and feel) that this is not a one-way evaluation, but that they are also allowed to give their feedback about the company and the way it works here. Two-way communication is key in an empathetic approach!
Would you like to honor your employees and give them cool merch to put your brand in the spotlight? We've got you covered with an extensive catalog of out of the box goodies for your team.