Employer branding in times of home office

How do you reach employees between job stress, childcare and corona updates in their homes? - An insight at Merkle

ausgelassene Kaffeerunde

Usually, my job as Employer Branding Manager is to bring Namics as a brand to life. In other words, to position Namics as a place to be for employees and potential applicants.

A number of measures and actions were planned for 2020, some of which were already in preparation, stakeholders were picked up and involved - this would have been a great year for Namics' employer branding! In particular, the interaction within the DAN network would have resulted in exciting developments and a first joint event was planned.  But things turned out differently. And as they say "life is what happens when you make plans".

Create tomorrow while enjoying today auf dem Spiegel

So the campaign plan was simply put aside and the existing ideas were adapted to the current situation. Namics would not be Namics if the employer branding did not also live from the initiatives of the employees themselves. So it happened that for the first two weeks a new challenge was announced almost daily in the home office. Right at the beginning there was the "Home Office Challenge": Who has the coolest, most beautiful, most comfortable, most creative or best equipped workplace within their own home? The whole thing was extended to a "Cat Office Challenge" just one day later: Who has the cutest cat at home? Which four-legged friend has the funniest way of lying across the workplace? 

Katze liegt quer über dem Schreibtisch
Hase vor dem Bildschirm
Hund liegt quer über dem Schreibtisch

A very special idea was born from our colleague Thomas Walter (Service Line Director), who started a diary on the very day we were told that we would be working from home for an unspecified period of time. So it happened that in the first few weeks each time another employee documented a "recap of the week": How does a Namics working day take place in the permanent home office? How do the projects move remotely? How does Remote Pitching work? What virtual collaboration options are already available today? 

In the meantime, other ideas were implemented: The Namics running group in Munich established a virtual sports program called "Quarantine Fit": Twice a week, video fitness instructions are streamed into the living rooms of our colleagues. The weekly running session is now done by oneself, but the colleagues are simply taken along in the ears via app.

Hase App

The Easter days were not only a new challenge in private life: We planned an egg hunt in the office, which was supposed to hint at our diversity through colourful eggs. Without employees, but also no action in the office. So how do we bring an Easter greeting home to the employees?

The topic suggestions became more varied and so we started to combine the individual small ideas into a more comprehensive concept: "Vitality. Solidarity. Namics" initiative was born. The purpose of this initiative is to have a positive impact on the physical and mental well-being at home and at the same time, with some of the actions we support artists and freelancers who are affected by the current crisis. The voluntary programme of events offers a wide range of activities: A 30-minute yoga session every Tuesday noon, a pandemic webinar with the science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar, a series of readings with the actress Jessica Cuna or an interview with the football player Lukas Görtler.

Colleagues also become active themselves: The Home-made Creativity Gallery collects the craziest, curious, wildest, most normal and most boring activities of our colleagues. It is always fascinating to see which talents are hidden in all of us. There is barely a hobby that is not practiced by Namics employees. Through self-built doll's houses, embroidered bags and marble runways, there is everything that the creative, musical and craftsman's heart desires.

Selbstgebautes Puppenhaus mit Strohdach

You might almost think that the employees do not miss anything in the Home Office. But the daily work routine is still the main part of the quarantine even though there are so many activities and offers. That means sitting at more or less provisional desks for eight hours a day, exchanging project statuses, developing concepts, re-dialling into the call, looking for the right livestream link, doing online shopping for a short time and then answering e-mails again. 

Cool free time activities are therefore not enough to make the Namics employer brand visible and tangible. Especially at home, team exchange, internal communication and employee development are an important part of employer branding. Our planned onboarding programs, like the coaching sessions, will therefore take place remotely. Although a little improvisation is necessary at one point or another, thanks to a stable Internet connection the Namics spirit does easily jump over to the home office . For example, instead of the traditional dinner together at "N.gage" onboarding days in St. Gallen, last week the team mastered a remote exit room - an experience like this also brings us closer together. 

We hope to catch up on the missing aperitifs, lunch dates and beer after work with the virtual experience, but once we are allowed to enjoy a drink together in the office, there will be surely no holding back. 

...As is well known, looking forward is also the most beautiful joy! Cheers!

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