The worst thing you can do is nothing, says LinkedIn's Chris Burgess

Speaking at this week's CHRO Community Conversation, Chris said organisations that don't communicate the manner in which they are managing Covid-19 crisis, will see the market define their narrative for them.

LinkedIn’s senior account director for Africa Chris Burgess believes that the worst thing an organisation can do at a time like this is not engage with the public about how it is managing the Covid-19 crisis. 

Chris was among the keynote speakers at this week’s CHRO Community Conversation, where he spoke about the importance of having a strong employee value proposition, providing facts and figures to HR leaders about what the world’s talent is thinking about during this time. 

He said there had been a major uptick in engagement on LinkedIn – a trend began at the third week of January but rapidly increased towards the end of February when the number of company articles and member engagement shot through the roof, growing sevenfold and tenfold respectively. 

This is because there is a huge desire for information in the time of Covid-19. This included information not only about how companies were responding but also about how to remain educated around the latest trends. 

He said the spotlight had been placed on brands during the Covid-19 pandemic, with a  LinkedIn survey of 10,000 members done May 2020 reflecting that almost half (48 percent) of respondents agreeing that they’re noticing brand news more because they’re reading the news more.

In addition, over three in five (61 percent) strongly agreed that they care more about how brands are behaving during Covid-19 than they would have usually done before the pandemic.

Meanwhile 58 percent, particularly women, strongly agreed that the way brands are behaving during Covid-19 is going to affect their decision to give them their business in the future.

Said Chris:

“Forty percent of members are looking for inspiration and to see companies doing inspirational things. If a company is going to poor communities to provide food parcels, for example, it is bound to attract people that resonate with a higher sense of purpose. If you are not living your values, and acting in a manner that shows people that you care about what is happening to society, your company is going to suffer financially. Being authentic and transparent is the best thing you can do. Saying nothing is one of the worst things you can do.”

Among some of the stories shaping employer brands was the story of burnout and how employers were handling it. Chris says that people were much more productive than they had ever been and, in recognition of this, companies like Facebook were giving employees a day off. 

“If you don’t give the market a story about how your brand is responding to the crisis. The market will define your story for you,” said Chris, adding that the LinkedIn posts from companies that were getting the most engagement were those that included words like ‘people’, ‘help’, ‘support’, ‘health, and ‘take care’ in them.

Tonight's even wouldn't have been possible without principal partners Momentum Consultants & Actuaries and Workday, media partner Oracle, and associate partners ClarkHouse Human Capital, Compliance Online, SAP Concur and Sanlam.