Ten Tips To Maintain Your Company Brand During Layoffs

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Managing your Employer Brand During the Recession -- Layoffs. Downsizing. Rightsizing. No question, times are still tough for many organizations, and for their employees. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics U.S. Department of Labor June 2010 Report, there are 14.6 million unemployed Americans, as the unemployment rate is at 9.5%. While we are still in the midst of the recession, thinking about your company's brand is probably the last thing on your mind.

Layoffs. Downsizing. Rightsizing. No question, times are still tough for many organizations, and for their employees. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics U.S. Department of Labor June 2010 Report, there are 14.6 million unemployed Americans, as the unemployment rate is at 9.5%. While we are still in the midst of the recession, thinking about your company's brand is probably the last thing on your mind.

"Yet, if you are thinking about layoffs or downsizing or rightsizing or whatever you want to call it, you must also think about your brand. In this age of social networking, by the time you hand out your first pink slip, the word will be out, via Facebook and Twitter, so you have to be sure that you do it right," states Kathy Carpenter, Managing Director and Co-Founder of My Job Search Pilot, a service of HR Pilots, LLC.

Some companies may think, that with all the challenges they face, and with so many people out of work that managing their brand is at the bottom of the list. Employer brands have extremely long memories. And each and every step in the downsizing process is crucial from how you tell your workers, to severance packages, to providing outplacement assistance. Equally important, is how you communicate with the remaining employees about your current and possible future layoffs.

"Yes, it is an employer's market, for now. Times will get better eventually, and you’ll need to hire new employees, so you want to preserve your hard earned reputation as an employer of choice," explains, Linda Projansky, My Job Search Pilot, a service of HR Pilots Principal. "Also, if you’re in the consumer products category every employee, current or former is also a potential customer."

TEN TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR COMPANY BRAND DURING LAYOFFS

1.Encourage open communication across the lines. This will help to squash rumors in their tracks before they spread and can be perceived as fact.

2.Continue to undertake staff research. To ensure you have a good handle on how employees perceive their current employment experience.

3.Treat people with empathy, respect and communicate honestly. If layoffs are necessary, then provide every opportunity to ensure that employees are 'fit' to move to another role outside the organization - treat them like family!

4.Undertake a brand audit. Work on your employer brand and develop your marketing strategy, so you are positioned to implement it when the economy improves.

5.Invest in your employees. Continue to build your employees' capabilities and skills through integrated learning and development programs.

6.Encourage coaching and mentoring programs. To keep your leaders close to their people and enhance communication and engagement.

7.Audit your existing materials, channels, themes and messages. Ensure that your internal and external communication strategy is relevant, updated and on point.

8.Continue to celebrate individual and team success. A simple 'thank you,' or 'well done' can be much more powerful than a gift certificate.

9.Utilize your PR team. Managing the media is crucial, stay on top of what is being reported, and continue to push out positive stories about your company.

10.Find the "right" team to help you manage the maze of downsizing. HR Pilots and My Job Search Pilot can help you manage every step in the process from employee communication, severance packages and outplacement assistance.

For more information, please contact Publicist Amelia Dellos at 708.702.0406 or via email at aedellos(at)yahoo(dot)com.

With over 20 years of experience in HR management, HR Pilots ( http://www.hrpilots.com/) has helped companies successfully manage the uncertainties of executive search, outplacement and HR policies—from Fortune 500 to small private firms—from established companies to start-ups in many diverse industries. In 2009, HR Pilots launched My Job Search Pilot (http://www.myjobsearchpilot.com), a modern career transition service designed to help job seekers navigate, organize and speed their job search.

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Amelia Dellos

Linda Projansky
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