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Health Security & Pandemic Response Will Impact Employer Branding Going Forward

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Despite the major disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial majority of employees gave their companies high marks on managing its effects on business and the workplace, according to our recent study. When asked about the practically overnight pivot to working-from-home, 72% said their companies were well prepared for remote work. Seven in ten applaud how their employer has handled overall operations and communications during this time.

Preparing to re-open

In our most recent survey of talent, nearly two-thirds reported that their company is making plans for returning to the workplace, with half expecting to see the office re-open in the next two months. About half of companies have cut or furloughed staff and frozen hiring. But there is cause for hiring optimism, as one-third reported that their company has re-started adding to teams in some capacity. Although there is anxiety around job security, 4 in 10 believe they are safely employed. However, another emerging area of concern is the health security of employees in the workplace.

Health security is top of mind

When we asked employees about their trust level in their company’s ability to keep their health secure at work, just over half expressed strong confidence in their employer. Almost two in ten were very worried about staying virus-free once returning to the workplace. Employee wellness matters for many reasons, but anxiety around the novel virus has elevated the issue to an urgent prominence. The public has become hyper-aware of steps being taken to safeguard workplaces. Nearly all respondents to our return-to-work survey (94%) confirmed that how a company handles employee health security is critical to the employer's reputation.

Wellness Isn’t Just About Benefits

This public health emergency has added another lens through which current and future employees will evaluate companies. Hiring managers should be prepared to answer how the company treated the workforce before, during, and after the pandemic. How has the company become enlightened around its sick time policies? How does it now approach mental health and emotional wellness in addition to physical wellness? What changes has the company made to keep employees secure and safe in the office? How did the pandemic impact flexibility about employees choosing from where they work? Our advice to companies as they move forward with their re-entry plans is to remember that actions and attitudes taken now will reverberate well beyond the current hiring market. Even in a job market that has suddenly flipped in the hirer’s favor, hiring managers should expect that the very best talent will continue to hold elevated expectations of employers. These candidates will be resolute in exploring hard questions in discerning which company will be the next destination on their career journey. To access our latest talent attitude study, click here.