Workforce Visibility

Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing in Crisis Mode with CVS Health’s Kerry Noone

Companies might not be expanding or augmenting their employer branding initiatives and capabilities at the same breakneck pace as they were before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, but the shift in hiring demand hasn’t changed the fact that building a transparent, authentic, and compelling brand remains one of the most essential elements of talent acquisition today.

While employer branding might no longer be explicitly focused at building candidate pipelines, engaging talent communities or driving inbound applicants, having consistent, compelling, and comprehensive messaging is critical, particularly when the job market remains both increasingly volatile and inherently unpredictable.

The candidate supply and demand ratio has shifted for many talent organizations; in addition to the sudden swing in the dynamics of an employer-driven market, job posting data from manifold sources suggest that in the past month, traditional posting volume has plummeted, along with overall spend for both paid recruitment advertising and programmatic advertising campaigns.

This isn’t to say that companies aren’t still hiring; in fact, even with the precipitous drop in demand, companies continue to hire for backfills, mission-critical roles, or even unexpected hiring surges for tens of thousands of workers at companies such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Kroger, among dozens of other enterprise employers.

This means that now, more than ever, employers need to consider what their job ads and hiring process convey to candidates (not to mention customers and clients). They also need to have a clear and consistent understanding of what their employer value proposition is – not what they aspire for it to be. Keeping it real is important – and people want to know the truth, not some “rah-rah,” heavily sanitized, and highly polished career collateral or job post copy.

Failing to credibly and convincingly speak to candidates – or even worse, staying silent or pretending its business as usual when it’s anything but – will have a severe and lasting long-term impact on how internal and external candidates perceive your company as an employer. If you’re not ahead of the message, your talent organization is likely to be left behind.

Just remember, it’s not a question of if jobs are going to come back. It’s a matter of when. And there’s no better time than right now to make sure that your people remain your long-term greatest asset for the bigger business picture, and not a short-term liability on some balance sheet; it’s easy to say you put people before profits, but it’s far harder to show it in a way that’s authentic, engaging, and believable. This isn’t easy. The good news is, we have your back.

Look, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re hiring hundreds of thousands of part-time workers to keep up with demand or implementing enterprise-wide furloughs to manage talent supply. Employers just need to be completely transparent, open, and public about what they’re doing to protect their people. The answer, right now, is everything. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who announced he would continue paying stadium workers and staff within hours of the NBA putting its season on hold, said it best in a recent interview with CNBC: “How companies respond to this very question is going to define their brand for decades.”

As one of the companies on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, CVS Health is one of those employers who’s been proactively and publicly providing a definitive answer to that critical question.
On March 29, CVS Health announced they would partner with companies such as Hilton and Marriott to help provide roles for some of their furloughed staff; these transfers not only help maintain impacted workers’ lives and livelihoods, but it also allows CVS Health to address their immediate need to fill a whopping 50,000 open roles.

Additionally, the company is putting a focus on rethinking and realigning their existing employer brand to better align with the state of the job market and directly address, and alleviate, candidates’ concerns in an uncertain, unpredictable market. While such initiatives are designed to be only temporary, the lasting impact on CVS Health’s employer brand – and value proposition – should prove to be imminently more indelible.

That’s why I recently spoke with CVS Health Director of Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding Kerry Noone. I wanted to better understand how CVS Health is answering the question of how they’re helping their people, how they’re protecting the safety of their employees, patients, clients, and customers, and what other employers can learn from CVS Health when it comes to employer branding in the time of COVID-19 – and beyond.

Listen to the full interview in the embed above or by clicking the link below as the Inside Talent podcast goes inside with CVS Health, brought to you by Allegis Global Solutions.

Link to podcast:

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    Written by Craig Fisher
    Craig Fisher was head of marketing and an employer brand subject matter expert at Allegis Global Solutions. He has consulted with companies like CA Technologies, Hootsuite, Yum! Brands, LinkedIn, FOX News and many more on sales, brand and recruitment strategy. Craig created the first Twitter chat for recruiters, and partnered in the first LinkedIn certified training company in North America. He’s been detailed in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Forbes, Mashable, NBC News, The Huffington Post and NPR. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @fishdogs and on his blog at Craigh moved on from AGS in 2020.