Well, it seems like we’re all working remotely all of a sudden, huh?  Welcome to the new normal.

While there are plenty of resources on how to manage employees and manage yourself in a remote-office situation, no one has asked how we’re going to manage our employer brand remotely.

Why does it matter? Because the context of work has dramatically changed. No more posters. no more water-cooler talk, no more information communications channels with which to socialize the brand.

Thus, we take a deep dive into how you can manage your own employer brand when no one shares much physical space anymore.

Show notes:
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It’s Friday, March 13 at 10:33am just so you have lay the land I’m recording from Chicago. And Mike just got the email that my kids school is closed. You many of you have gotten the exact similar kinds of emails, your offices may be closed, there is rumor of declaring a national emergency here in the States, there are plenty of national emergencies in other countries around the world. Hey, you’ve been keeping an eye on the news because everything got all topsy turvy recently. And it’s funny because I mean, there’s lots of great conversation around this idea of Okay, this The thing that’s going to move us from a place where remote workers was the outlier, where it was the occasional it was the handful of people that was the special person who had managed to somehow negotiate their way into getting a remote space that they are allowed to work remotely right into a thing where almost all of us are trying to figure out how to make this work.

Now, the conversation that used to be about how do we trust our employees to be productive in spite of all the data that says, people who work from home are much more productive and much more effective and much more efficient at doing good work, then the people who have to trudge to home and get all distracted by all the day to day stuff? that date is obvious, but it now longer doesn’t matter. We’ve been forced into a situation which we may not have been prepared for, or we may not even like, but is absolutely 100% true. We’re here. More and more humans, non Americans, humans around the world are going to have to figure out how to live in a remote world in a remote work well, that’s great because I’m a big fan of remote work. I’ve been doing remote work for a year and a half now. And it’s I’m not saying I’m I prefer it over going into an office every day, but I’ve certainly become very accustomed effective to it.

But there’s a lot of different resources out there. In fact, my LinkedIn feed is glutted appropriately with, here’s how to be effective at home for all of you who’ve been told you have to work from home and never had to do it before. Here’s how you make it happen. Here’s how to be effective. Here’s how to draw some lines between your work and home life. Here’s how to hear the tools that might make it as helpful to managers of teams who are now going remote. It is a different skill set, not even a question. So here’s how you manage remote people. And here’s how you engage with people. And here’s how you do the job.

Now, all those conversations good and valid, though they may be are focused around a simple idea and that is how do I maximize the productivity of the people in my team The people in my company all well and good love productivity, productivity is good without it. I don’t know where we’d be. However, I’m here to talk about employer brand because I think while there’s an overlap, in the Venn diagram of work between employer brand and productivity with a strong employer brand, I think there is a correlation to some sense of stronger productivity, generally, especially long term. It’s not the same, it is not the same. You can’t treat them the same. So while there’s a million other people and a million other places, listing great resources, great tools, great tricks, great tips on how to manage or how to be remote. I want to ask the question of how do you engage an employer brand in a time when everybody’s remote? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Audio Intro

Hey, how you doing James Ellis here. So reporting live from Chicago, I already told you it’s Friday morning. been thinking about this topic for a while, in fact, honestly, I’ve been thinking about the concept of employer brand in a remote workforce for a long time. I think the data has been pretty clear that we’ve been moving in this direction. For a very long time, the more and more and more of us are working remote. The Universal data says that more and more and more of us want or expect to work remote. The pressure was moving in this direction.

Very obviously the question was not if but when Well, welcome to win. Here we are, we’re being forced into this situation. So how do you develop, maintain and manage an employer brand? When so much of the normal context of employer branding is taken out from under you? How do you, you know, it’s kind of like a constraint exercise. How do you build an employer brand, when no two people will be in the same physical space more than say, once or twice a year? Right? Let’s just put some, some very simple guidelines on some of this stuff.

And that is a challenge right? Here are some of the things you no longer have access to stand up meetings, stepping into your boss’s office managing by walking around the water cooler slash coffeepot slash lunchroom physical space to put a poster physical space to show your awards physical space where an employee can show off to other employees, what their personality is and why they like to work there and what they’re done. You know, I know people who have Especially people who’ve been in a company for a very long time. And I’ve had multiple roles, I’d like to show their business cards or their, their their name tags, from all their previous roles to say, I’ve done a lot of different things here. And it’s a it’s a badge of honor, sometimes literally a badge. But it’s a badge of honor that they’ve done all these things. And they’ve, they know all these people.

When I was at the big, the big green G my for my day job, I knew plenty of people who had 567 roles, and their value was not so much that they knew all this stuff, but really, that they knew all the people. You could you could tap them to say, who knows about this or who used to be in charge of that or who would help me with this. All of the tribal knowledge, all of the informal communication styles, all of the you’ve been in a in an office where someone has a bachelorette betting pool or a final for betting pool or March Madness betting pool, and they’ve gotten on the whiteboard, God.

What about it’s interesting when you walk by an office and you see their whiteboards here, just kind of look at their whiteboards to see what they’re talking about. Gone. What your boss is writing down the whiteboard just to kind of see what their heads are at gone. All this stuff that gives you a sense of how we work and why we work and how we make decisions as employer brand people gone. So what do we do? Now, it would be easy to say it’s impossible to manage an employer brand without physical space. And I think that would be wrong.

I really think if we unpack what it means to be an employer brander and what it means to manage the employer brand, we can find some brand new opportunities to support and manage and grow the employer brand. So let’s talk about that. So first off, I feel like I’ve defined employer brand a bunch I just did a webinar where I had to define again where I almost apologize that I have to define it but as many times as I said it I feel like I still have to do it. Employer brand is the individuals perceptions of what it’s like to work there. Right. I think we talked about this in the last episode we talked about how does work feel. And those, those those impressions and those perceptions of what it’s like to work there come from a lot of different experiences and touchpoints many physical many digital many kind of content based like the news or you know, you know, a friend or a network who says something positive or negative about the working of that company. And you aggregate all those individual perceptions into a concept or a set of concepts. That is your employer brand, right? What 1000 people think of what it’s like to work there is your employer brand. If that’s the right number, your number will vary.

Great. So now if we understand that, we have to understand that there are a couple pieces that change First off, how you’re getting information about your employer brand will shift somewhat or how you’re getting how a random candidate out a random person out in the world will receive information about what it’s like to work there, those touch points as experience will change, right? The news is still there, the internet is still there. You can still push your social, you can still put you know your content out there, but suddenly there’s more opportunities right if everybody is digital, and everybody expect it to be digital. How do you maybe tap into them to help amplify those digital contents? Those digital touch points? How do you if everybody’s not just, if everybody’s expecting to be in a space where they can’t just lean over to somebody else’s desk and ask them a question that everything has to be typed out or video call that how do you leverage those tools to make sure those experiences are getting out to the outside world.

And that’s where employer brand starts to shift. On top of which all the internal channels and ways you communicate the employer brand, reminding people how to talk about reminding people, what your pillars are reminding them what your values are reminding people, you know, the big why of why you work there, those have gone away, right. You know, someone referred to it as the poster fodder work that we usually have to put up with, go on. I mean, unless you intend to build posters and ship them to everybody else, which is an interesting concept.

I think it’s just bad. Not just because it’s a little expensive. I think if you’re gonna spend money, good, do it. I think there are other things you could send that are more effective, but we’ll get to that. But there are ways of finding channels to tie people together. So one, they do not feel as isolated as they could working alone working from home is an isolating experience inherently. And if everybody feels more isolated, that will absolutely impact what they’re talking about to the outside world. And that, of course impacts the employer brand. Not just sense of isolation, that sense of why are they doing what they’re doing the the informal communication channels that reminds them, we’re all about this. And people like us do things like this, and this is why we do the things if they’re gone. It’s very easy for them to kind of drift to forget why they do what they do to forget.

Really, if the question is to use Seth Godin’s maxim: the people like us do things like this. If you can’t see what everybody else is doing. How do you know that people like us do things like this? You just know you and the tiny straw through which you see the world of looking at other people’s worlds. video screens and emails right there. You know, in my world right now, I am communicating with someone in Stockholm, Sweden. And all of my communication is when we’re both on a video call together with a video turned off. I don’t know why that is, it’s a thing we do. I struggle with that. But we’re on a video call together with a client. And via an IM tool, we use teams, if that matters, you could use slack. There’s all sorts of other channels that do it.

That is literally the viewpoint I have into this person’s world who lives nine hours by playing away from me and works nine hours by playing with for now, they up until today we’re working in a large office with a lot of other people who have surrounded by people who did similar work from from them today. They have to work from home and for the next foreseeable couple weeks will also have to work from home. I have a very limited perspective into who they are and what they do and why they do it and how they do it. I have to trust that they do great work and communicate my needs to them clearly and directly and hopefully understand it. That remains moves all that informal kind of back and forth it removes all the watercooler chatter removes all the just Hey, how are you? How’s it going? What’s going on hedge? I was walking by a thought and ask a quick question. I lose all that. I don’t know if this person listens to heavy metal. I don’t know, listen, if this person listens to classical, I don’t know if this person listens to cat sounds on their headphones. I don’t know how they live. I don’t know how they work.

You know, if you work in an office, you know the people around you, you know what they have for lunch. You know what they’re like, you know what they listen to music, you know that some people live with their headphones on and some people are always on the phone and some people never have their phones are always looking around. They’re very socially engaging. Everybody has all that different stuff. And it’s all starting to get taken away. So I want to come up with a couple of different ideas of how to think about how to support your employer brand in this remote world.

And it all starts with as it should. Understanding what your employer brand truly is. Whether you think of it as your MVP if you want. That’s a bit formal. Maybe for some of you but for some of us completely aligned, but understand what are the concepts you’re trying to reinforce and instill in people. If you’re trying to reinforce to everybody that your is a stable company, great, you can use all these ideas and you can build that in a remote space. The fact that you have survived this upheaval of no one can work in the office every has to work from home and figure this out. The fact that you’re figuring it out, is a projection of stability.

You know, right the the mailman mail woman doesn’t say, Well, if it’s raining, can’t do it, their sense of stability comes from at least here in the States. The refrain, either wind or rain nurse, you know, snow or sleet or whatever it is, will keep us from delivering our mail. Right? It’s stable, you can count on the mail. Okay. Context changed, but you can count on the mail. Okay, well, if you were all about stability, the context may have changed, but you can still show that you still exist and you still do what you do. If that is a big part of your employer brand stability. There are lots of ways to engage that there are lots of ways to show that we’ll get into some of these things. If it’s all about if your brand is all about innovation, well, learning how to reinvent what you do on the fly on on, you know, between a Friday and a Monday.

When you work from home and your channels are brand new, and your tools are brand new, that’s it, you know, are a huge opportunity for innovation, huge chance for you to talk about engage, to show to illustrate highlight what you’re innovative about is innovative, just about we have the best, most expensive tools to use, or that we think through challenges differently that we look for creative solutions to these challenges that befall all of us. That is innovation. So how do you frame that sense of innovation and communicate that out? What if your employer brand is all about cash flow, development or opportunity? Create easy, simple, there’s, if move working from home is not an opportunity for change and opportunity for growth. I don’t know what is it

This is a fundamental shift in how we all perceive and and consider our own working lives and how we talk about it to the world. There are ways if you but it starts with truly understanding what your employer brand at a core at its core is really all about. I’m not talking about the tagline, I am not talking about the word first couple words on your website. I am not talking about the marketing stuff. I’m talking about the core, the guts, the living, breathing, beating heart of your employer brand now, you know, based on the work I do today, it’s a lot of GPP work. It’s about you know, hey, understanding the pillars and defining them and saying Okay, these pillars one modular, we talked about that in a previous episode about modular employer brands. You still want to live on that you still want that still true.

That is, if you do that work, right. It is a foundation that will support any number of different structures upon it. If your foundation is weak it if it is based on Like these words are, oh, this feels true to me. But I didn’t really pressure test it with anybody. I didn’t ask if talent thought that was true or if that’s what talent wanted. If you if you just kind of said, Yeah, sure, close enough, you have a fairly weak Foundation, and changing the context of the world in which it lives is going to test it seriously. So maybe that’s an opportunity for you, maybe you’re realizing, hey, I was just kind of spitballing an employer brand, it’s time to get serious with it. T

his is the time to get serious, but you got to get serious fast. But anyway, let’s assume you’ve got a strong MVP and strong clear brand Foundation, and you can build on and while what you’re building on top of it may shift because you’re no longer in office in your remote space, it is still an opportunity for you to build. So I’m going to steal a quick idea that I absolutely stole from Sarah, Sandy, Sandy, that from realtors, she had a good conversation. And she’s encouraging staff to build playlists and share those playlists. Leave me The thing about working from home instead of in an offices that we no longer have to feel like we were the meerkats were the prairie dogs of the office right in cubicle and of the bullpen, we have to keep one ear out for what’s going on around us. We’re at home. I mean, yes, maybe your kids are home, maybe your dog is there, your cat is there, and maybe your significant other is there, your partner, whatever, because they might be having to stay home too.

But for the most part, you’re trying to create a bit of a bubble, right, you’re trying to create a if I have to work from the dining room, and the dining room is reminding me that I have to go wash the dishes, my best process of doing good work is to put headphones on or put a piece of paper up or, or or just kind of focus in a spot where I can build a little bubble for myself that I could say this is work time. Great. That means you might be listening to music and I think it’s an opportunity for you to share or have a conversation around these shared challenges.

And the one of those ways is to talk about playlists. I think it’s interesting if you said Okay, everybody, here’s a Spotify or Apple Music or pick both of them. I mean me, you’re gonna have different audiences here and say put two songs that you love to work to on this playlist. Okay, first off, yes, it is technically a bit of a time waster. But let’s be fair, the time most of your team spent in the office was 20 to 40% wasted anyway, right? It’s just, it’s the let’s go get a cup of coffee. Let’s chat about our mornings. Let’s chat about our weekends. Let’s chat about our days. You know, it is informal conversation. It is are you going to this meeting? It is did you like that meeting and there’s so much stuff that if you are in a remote space kind of gets stripped out, and you need to take that as an opportunity. So if you are going to strip that out, and you are going to intentionally insert messages, content, meaning and value inside those suddenly opens voids of time.

What are you going to be intentional about and I think one of the ways to leverage that playlist idea and say, Look, pick two songs. Yeah, it’s going to take 10 minutes to pick your two favorite songs. And then you’re going to spend 10 or 20 minutes looking at the rest of the list or what other people said, you’re gonna say, Okay, okay, who put the Kanye n Okay, who’s the Kanye And suddenly there’s a conversation. Now, that is a little bit more focused on culture building then expressively employer brand building. But that doesn’t mean it has to be.

What if when you said, Let’s build a playlist of our work playlist, you framed it as, look, since we’re all listening to music anyway, I was just wondering if it’d be interesting if we made a playlist about our employer brand. Pick one song that you think illustrates what it is our employer brand is. And of course, then you restate what your employer brand is. And people have an opportunity to go Oh, yeah, yeah, I always think of it in this way. And you’re starting to collect their interpretations of the employer brand, what they feel like they’ve added value by saying, here’s a song I think expresses the employer brand, to you’re collecting all these songs and music ideas that you can share out to the world because frankly, I love it when businesses say, hey, by the way, here’s our playlist about what it’s what it’s like to work in our company expressed through the music choices of the people. who work here? That’s really interesting. throw that on Facebook. That’s the sort of thing that people go, oh, cool, I want to listen to that. No, no one is going to apply for a job because of your playlist. I’ll go ahead and put that out there front and center, it is not going to change your plot your pipeline, however, it will change perception, and it will potentially extend reach.

This is above the pipeline, this is getting people aware of you. If they listen to some of that music, they really will have to see your logo for a bit and consider people who worked here pick these songs and this wonder what they’re trying to say next time they go to the job board, they type in, I want to be a blank and your logo pops up positive reinforcement. That’s where you live. Okay. And so thank you, Sara. That’s a great idea. I love it. I’m stealing it.

You’ve got I think we have any other big ideas that in an office, you have both formal and informal. Let’s call them joint activities. You call them group activities. I think joint activities makes more sense group activities suggests that you’re all going to go on a ropes course and have some trust falls. I Thinking of that moment where your boss walks up to you and says, Hey, I want to get a cup of coffee. I’m just it’s not a meeting. It’s just a I’m going to walk to get to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I know you like coffee. I like talking to you. I just want to hear what’s going on. Do you want to get a cup of coffee? those interactions in a physical workspace plays are invaluable, right? There’s no question that that is amazing conversations, amazing knowledge transfer amazing opportunities for you to influence other people to to kind of do that job, but it’s gone. So you should be looking for ways to create joint activities.

Now, there’s any number of good ideas for that, but you want to kind of frame it around the employer brand, right? You’re not just doing joint activities just for the sake of making people feel less lonely, though value in that and parentheses. But reinforcing the employer brand internally because that’s your audience right now. You want to get them to remember that no matter how the world has Change the employer brand is still true. And they should still be using it as their Northstar as to why they like working here, even when things are weird even when things are potentially bad even when things are scary or worrisome.

The employer brand is not there just in time and the good times it is true all the time. So encourage joint activities encourage 10 minute Hey, you people should have coffee together and just chat and just show people what their particular office looks like. They should take that laptop and kind of swivel it around the room and say this is what my dining room looks like this to my bedroom looks like and let them just kind of see more and just chat. Right? Talk about you know, the boss should be asking questions like, what are your challenges and not in a? I wish I had better Wi Fi? I wish my computer didn’t crash all the time. Focus on the informal focus on are you you know what stability, innovation opportunity, what do you need to kind of reinforce these ideas?

You should be asking bosses and business leaders and team leaders across the company, asking them to have those conversations and framing an employer brand. How do you do that? Send them a guide. Hey, everybody, in order to reinforce the employer brand, despite how much change is happening in the world, and let’s be fair, this might be some sort of a flavor of the new normal. This might not be just a three week thing. This might be a shift Overall, we need to reinforce this idea of employer brand, even when people are remote.

Here are some three things I’d like you to do as for a playlist, ask them to start joint meetings where they talk about and feed them questions they can ask that reinforce the brand. How about ask them every time they start a meeting, to ask a question and go round robin that reinforces the brand. How can we be more stable? How can we create more innovation? What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself? Having done gone through this process? What is one thing you’re most scared of? Ask them to open up. Now maybe that does not directly impact the employer brand. But getting people to open up and feel more comfortable about this new normal does feed into this idea of, hey, as the manager as the hiring manager, as the team lead, whatever it is, I have the opportunity to set the new kind of cultural norms.

And so if you just pick up what was in a physical space and drop it into a remote space, it doesn’t quite fit. Right. You just you don’t have to tell people as they walk into that meeting room on a Monday morning to talk about their weekend that normally happens in a remote space, where people are not always sure. Are we supposed to talk amongst ourselves? Are we allowed to talk amongst ourselves? If this is a 10 person meeting, you know, where I would normally be telling one person about my weekend and maybe someone might overhear it now and kind of broadcasting it to a roomful of 10 other people And maybe I’m not comfortable with that these things shift things.

So the hiring manager of hire manager, I’m not focused on hiring managers. I don’t know why that is. Well, we all know why that is because that’s all I talk about sometimes. But the business leader, the team leader, the manager should be intentionally seeding conversation starters, meeting starters. Hey, everybody, I want everybody take two minutes and write down three things that say this. I want everybody to just reinforce this idea that despite there is change, there is value in the change and how do we take advantage of that change? How do we take advantage of this shift? Right?

There’s that that old chestnut about how the which I think is apocryphal I think I remember reading that that it’s not true, but everybody kind of knows this shtick, and that is, the Chinese word for chaos is opportunity and grand craziness or something like that, right? That there’s opportunity in the chaos that is everything shifts around, there’s a chance for you to kind of reshape things. Ask your managers to be a part of that process and feed them honestly. If you say Have a weekly newsletter that said, Here’s your your tasks of the week, every time you start a meeting on Monday asked this question every time you start a meeting on Thursday, ask these questions every time you know, did you make a playlist? Did you ask people the following questions? Did you set up five minute informal coffee chats? Right? We’re just talking bullshit. We’re not actually talking work. It’s not a, it’s not a check in. It’s not a formal meeting. It’s just Hey, how you doing? You? It’s the virtual equivalent of Hey, you wanna get a cup of coffee?

One of the things I think is interesting is that if you embrace the idea that people who work from home and work remotely are more effective because they have less of the stuff in the middle getting and distracting them. Take advantage of that. Don’t just say great, we increased productivity 10% That’s nice. What if instead, you ask people to spend a little time on special projects, right? Google made this idea famous that you got to spend 10 or 20% of your time on a project of your own design. Maybe you ask people to say, look, spend two hours every week, figuring out how to make this work better. How do you build a guideline for better remote meetings? How are and that’s really formal. You know what that sucks? Let’s do something else.

How about since you’re all going to be on some sort of slack teams Im channel? What if you designate someone to be the brand champion in each single team meeting? Yes, they have to encourage some of those ideas. Maybe they’re the ones who asked the questions the beginning of the meeting. Or maybe it’s also they get to find the informal ways to express that employer brand.

When I was at the big agency, who I will not name. I ran a team of up to 19 people some days. It’s a pretty big team. And we had slack and we were one of the few teams the entire company who had slack so it was very much a bubble. It was very much an island of slack. We didn’t have to engage with the rest of the company. And I know that when you do end up having to do that slack can be a bit interest, it can be a lot, right? There’s a lot of chatter. And being able to manage the chatter and being able to ignore it when you need to do the work is a job in itself. So we didn’t have that. But what was interesting is because we had a pretty solid Island bubble kind of situation, kind of in the same way that the parakeets in the Galapagos Island evolved in a very particular pattern for their particular context. And when you compare them to the rest of the island, you can see how different they became, we developed a set of memes, jokes, references, responses inside of the Slack channel, to reinforce that we’re a team and this is why we do the things to reinforce the culture of what we did. We had a channel about music and we literally had a channel on slack it was just not work related, right? So so the one person who was into the brand new bands could talk it up and the one person who want to talk about Bachelorette every now and then could talk about it, or whatever TV show quick Game of Thrones that was very popular at the time. You know, could chat about it and I could kind of say, hey, Just pull off that a smidge and get back to work because you know, yes, it’s fun, I get it, I want you to engage with the same time. It’s not what your job is. So let’s find ways of balancing that out, but have channels for, you know, the different kind of projects, the different kind of needs, the different kind of requests, we had a channel just for who’s available to help.

One of the things that you lose when you are out of a remote space is this informal, picking your head up and saying, who looks like they’ve got 10 minutes to help me solve a problem? Who looks like they’re not so busy that they could give me a second set of eyeballs on the thing I’m doing? who is who can help me? That is a huge change. So can you build a channel where people get to say, hey, look, if you need help, I’m around. I’m not having a crazy day. I can be flexible today. That’s super useful.

But let’s get back to the jokes in the references. You can build inside of a lot of these channels, automated responses, so that if you put in a particular set of characters, it responds with something it was like It was a bot right? It was like if you wrote a certain thing, you could make a joke show up. So we had repeated jokes, Simpsons references and and Game of Thrones references and just jokes and stupid things that made people feel like they were part of something that even when they worked remotely as they occasionally did, they still felt like they were connected to a larger idea. Now, again, not strictly employer branding, but if you can help foster that culture and frankly, if you can be the champion, to help other team leaders foster those cultures, to help them get through the challenge one and increases your influence around the company. He was someone who saw a huge shake up and went, oh man, instead of going oh, this is gonna suck. We’re gonna go remote. How are we going to get anything done? How are we going to manage this which is by the way what every business leader in high end manager in that company is thinking right now. You get to be the one to say how do I help those people? How do I help them not just bandaid or plaster over the problem, but To truly take this as an opportunity to be better to be more connected to be more useful to each other.

What about a Friday online happy hour where from four to five or you pick the hour, I’m not your problem. Your mom, you pick an hour you say, look, weeks over, these are gonna be challenging weeks, I would love it if you got yourself a beer or a drink or a glass of wine or whatever. Or Hey, get a soda get a cannon nuts, I don’t care. Just come in and be social to each other. And let’s have some games. Let’s just talk it out. Let’s just open dialogue. And your job is to kind of lead that conversation, or at least help other people lead that conversation.

If you designate a brand champion each one of those teams, ask them, you know, can you come up with a party game? Can you come up with just a goofy? Hey, let’s go around the room and say what’s one thing you learned from having to work remote? What’s one thing that you’re terrified about next week? How do we help each other how do we do this better? What would you like to see next week happen? Is there a tool that would help you in this space? Just get the conversation going in a super informal way with a drink in one hand, and on the keyboard the other, whether it’s video whether it’s I am, whatever you use, it doesn’t really matter. Have a happy hour. I mean, let’s be fair. You pay a lot of you have those things physically anyway, right? every month, every quarter, you just have pick a Friday and you all go out to a bar and you just hang out and yeah, 20% of the people, the team don’t show up. And that’s just life and honestly on that it’s not where I’m a little introverted in social circumstances. I tend to kind of clam up and I don’t always go to those meetings. That’s fine. It’s okay. If not everybody shows up. This is not a mandated fun kind of situation. It’s an open channel for dialogue. It’s an open channel for pulse taking. It’s an open channel for making sure that You see where people are having issues and you can kind of engage with them so they don’t get loans, they don’t have problems.

Maybe this first week you got coming up, you should, as the hiring manager, maybe this is or not again, hire manager, business leader, Team Leader, whatever the manager, maybe as the employer brand challenger, you suggest that these teams say, look, if you’ve got a little budget to play with, what I would do is write down the name of everybody in your team and find their physical address, right you have in our file, HR can help you figure out where they live. Now, if they’re in a city, this is a lot easier if they’re not in a city, this is a little harder, but deliver the care package. If you haven’t, someone who lives in Chicago or Detroit, you can have amazon prime or instacart or doordash, or any number of services that will pick up a thing and deliver it at the door and they can do it when they’re right. They’re changing processes where they can leave it at the door ring the bell and walk away or they’re not requiring a signature and engaging a project. Conduct, you know, personal connections, whatever, a physical gifts, deliver chocolates or nuts, or a bottle of something or a coffee selection or some cookies or just something that says, hey, you know what, this is a tough challenge. And I’m here for you. And I want you I just want to recognize that we’re all getting through this together. So here’s something I thought you’d like. If they live in a smaller place, if they live in a town or place without those kinds of challenges. Amazon still delivers stuff, Amazon does prime delivery for a lot of that stuff. Maybe it’s not a bottle, and maybe it’s not a cookies, but they do lots of stuff. And speaking as someone who managed to deliver a couple dozen cookies, to a co worker out of the blue, just by using the internet, these things are doable. It’s just a matter of having the will to decide to do it and a few bucks to kind of make it happen if you can coordinate it, so that these things all kind of hit in the same day and maybe even in the same kind of two to four hour window.

Imagine the kind of conversation you’re going to have in the chat rooms in the slacks and team’s rooms and the next video meeting you have, I want people to talk about it. Maybe you encourage a kind of, I mean, I don’t know if it’s a secret Santa, but maybe you say, look, if I gave you a $20, Amazon gift, each and every one of you a $20, Amazon gift certificate, and I gave you a name of someone you had to buy something for, do it. Let people engage and connect but have a secret santa model. There’s so many different ways you can engage that. And then if you can tie it back to look, it’s not just a culture and keep you from being lonely, but let’s reinforce the employer brand. What is the thing we’re trying to reinforce? Is it opportunity? Is it development? Is it stability? Is it Excuse me? You know, personal growth? Is it ethics is it work life balance, whatever it is, reinforce it.

If you’re for example, if you’re talking about work life balance, have them buy them a gift they would not use at the office, have them buy a toy or a DVD people that still do TV buy him a movie right? Buy them something for not use, get the work not to say, hey, everything is about work. The one of the big things and I think this is valid is that when you work from home, it’s very hard to know when the day is over. So as the leader as the employer brand, or you need to reinforce this idea that there’s a not an opportunity, but really a temptation for the leader or the manager to say, well, gosh, if you’re going to be online till five, why not be online to 515? Why not be online till 530? Why not be online pretty much ever, right? There’s that temptation to say to slowly let the the slippery slope of wind is my day and kind of drift away. So you have to tell them, hey, look, you’re gonna be tempted by this, do not let it happen. reinforce this idea that there is a line and there is a boundary between work and life and you want to help each team set it and you want you want to help them help their team set it so is it a five o’clock and the whistle blows and you’re all done and you could send an email saying, Hey, everybody, please, it’s five o’clock. You know, here, if you’re in a different time zone might be different and you’re gonna have to adjust for that, can you start shutting stuff down and I would like you to stop for the day, let’s not overwork ourselves.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, if this is something closer to the new normal, I don’t want you to sprint for three weeks just to kind of cover and feel like at the end of it, we get back to normal because this might be the new normal. So how do we make this normal? How do we truly engage with this and this, you know how and part of that is establishing where the rules are. in a lot of places. We’ve never had to do that. And that’s why this is an experiment. we’re realizing there are places and ways that we have opportunities to insert messaging and insert and new challenges are created right this idea of when do you stop working? I myself, I am very much I end up shutting things down on a four because that’s what my kid gets home from school. But I end up turning the computer on laptop on around seven after she goes to sleep. Sometimes it’s just too kind of keep an eye on stuff sometimes just to review and kind of close out some emails. Sometimes it’s to put my head down and grind out a deck, right? There’s a lot of stuff that can happen. What are the rules, just find your rules, or otherwise the rules will end up being defined to you. And that’s unfortunate. So, there are a lot of different ways you can reinforce your employer brand inside this challenging set of circumstances. If you have some ideas. If you have some examples. I would love for you to hear of it.

One last idea that’s goofy is all get out. But I think it’s interesting. If and I think it’s true across the board getting to be across the board, you have to keep your kids at home. whatever age they are, you have to keep your kids at home days, daycares, close schools, or close what have you, and you have to be at home. Rather than say, kid, you stay over there and I’m gonna stay over here and never the twain shall meet or maybe I’ll see you for lunch. involve your kid. Let your kid be a part of it. And I think if you’re the only one who Does that you look like a goofball, you look like a weirdo. But maybe you say as the leader inside that team saying, hey, if you’ve got anybody else in your office, Monday morning, introduce everybody else on your, you know, in your new home office, it’s your kid that your spouse is your partner. It’s whatever, it’s your dog. It’s your cat. It’s your parakeet. Just show it off. Embrace it. You know, again, it’s not about how can we hold our breath for three weeks until the soul blows over? It’s about how do we maximize and feel like this is comfortable. This is real, this is honest, this is to use a term I hate using authentic to the experience of working here.

Then if you can find ways of capturing those pictures, capturing those quotes, capturing those ideas, and sharing them with the outside world and saying this is how we are telling our brand story and living our brand reality in the face of what is a kind of catastrophe. This is We are right employer brands are not shaped in the good times, employer brands are proven in the hard times, and welcome to the hard time. So take this opportunity to shape and project that which is true about your employer brand. Alright, if you have any ideas or thoughts on the subject, please tweet me I’m sharing some stuff out as I go as I see them. Thank you so much for listening. As always, I appreciate you kind of engaging and listening and sharing all that good stuff.

I have no idea what I’m talking about Next week, we’ll see who knows. We could go the concept of all of us being at home this week. probably didn’t even engage, right. That wasn’t even a thought we all had. Who knows what next week will bring. So we’re all going to get through this together. Let me know how I can be helpful. I’ll talk to y’all next week.