Give your workforce something to believe in

Written by
Emily Sexton-Brown

08 May 2015

08 May 2015 • by Emily Sexton-Brown

Employee value propositions (EVPs) provide benefits to positively influence staff, but how do companies put them into practice, and what challenges do they face? 

This was the subject of a recent ‘EVPs beyond the theory’ event, held by Havas People to kick off its ‘Talent Bites’ programme, which tackles the myriad talent issues facing organisations today. 

The seminar featured a range of insights from speakers on how to ensure companies listen to employees when creating EVPs, and tailor them to a changing audience.

Putting a value on your workforce

Previous research from Deloitte has revealed that 41% of customers are loyal because of employees’ attitudes, 70% of customer brand perception is determined by experiences with people, and failure to deliver your EVP causes a decline of more than 25% in
new hire commitment levels in the first 12 months.

In addition, Aon’s 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report concluded that employees are also engaged by a company with a strong reputation.

An EVP that clarifies the things your organisation wants to be famous for, and delivers against this promise, is at the core of a strong reputation.

Play to the internal audience

Graeme Wright, strategy director of Havas People, stressed the importance of making your EVP work internally, and in turn getting the internal audience to believe in it, thereby striking up an emotional connection with people.

Wright discussed the EVP strategies of numerous organisations including Sephora, Orange, Twitter and Apple. He pointed out that Sephora uses inviting phrases such as “see the world with us”, implying there were opportunities for staff to embrace global mobility options.

The company’s EVP maintained an emotive tone throughout, using the term ‘brand pillars’ to describe its employees, who are drawn from a range of nationalities.

Orange used video to portray its EVPs in practice, by asking employees in France what they enjoyed about working at the company, to which numerous positive responses flashed up, including a small group singing the song “We are Family.”

“CEOs are starting to understand the importance of EVPs,” Wright said. He then emphasised the importance of structuring your EVP, ensuring it has longevity, and adapting it to benefit your organisation’s future. He concluded that, strategically, for EVPs to be successfully implemented, they must cover the following:

  • Leadership. It is vital that EVPs have senior endorsement.
  • Buy-in. Share your stories through management seminars.
  • Authenticity. No EVP can work unless external people are able to see the realities.
  • Respect organisational purpose. EVPs should not be additional values but an extension of core values.
  • Segmentation. Looking at different values globally is important, people in China might have different ones to those in Russia.
  • Personality. Differentiate yourself and make your company stand out.
  • Longevity. Your EVP should be long-lasting. 

Bringing EVPs to life

Steven Brand, employer brand manager for Deloitte, addressed the issue of ‘developing EVPs in an imperfect world’. He talked about internal changes afoot in his company and how they have led it to re-evaluate EVPs.

“The challenge was bringing our EVPs to life, how can we get 15,000 people to own this?” He explained that, as previous Deloitte research highlighted, EVPs need to interest the internal audience and cover a wide variety of topics.

The importance of publicising the EVPs was a key subject, being shared via various sessions throughout the company’s talent partners, HR directors, service lines, leads in experienced hire, and by holding presentations for different audiences.

Brand pointed out that, as a company, you must make EVPs sustainable. “It’s not about launching EVPs at a glamorous champagne reception, it’s about time and effort and ensuring everyone is on board.”

Listen to your staff

“We have two ears and one mouth for a reason – listen to your employees,” said Ashley Tapp, internal communications manager at pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. He explored the subject of EVPs in the healthcare sector and identified the need to differentiate yourself and expand your EVPs. He suggested one way of doing this was through raising money for charity and showing corporate social responsibility.

A previous employee of British Technology Group (BTG), a FTSE 250 company, Tapp shared some examples of effective EVPs from his experiences. He mentioned TrekFest 2014, a collaborative effort from employees across the country, working as a team in aid of Cancer Research UK. Staff acted on the EVPs in place and made them real, he said, giving them a sense of achievement.

​Tapp determined that the workforce culture is a widening one, because it is collectively “owned” by everyone.

EVPs on the big screen

Nick Francis, managing director of Casual Films and a former BBC assistant producer, talked about how to make EVPs come to life through video. He said video ranks highly on social-media platforms, and posts with videos are usually ranked higher than those without. In addition, he said, video conveys your exact message, therefore making it more precise. Francis added: “By using video, you can champion your company’s core values, portray the culture – it’s the concept of showing, rather than telling.”

The idea Francis talked about tied in with Millennial culture, and implied that if you want to retain talent and attract future talent, your mindset as a business needs to be parallel with that of a modern-thinking world. He said this generation has grown up with huge amounts of visual aids, so this could be
a useful tool.

Generation X v Generation Y

Jacqueline Chou, business director at Havas Worldwide, stressed companies need to listen to the new generation as she discussed the whisky product campaign ‘Chivas Regal: Win the Right Way.’

Chou revealed that 86% of Generation Y think it is important their work makes a positive impact on the world, which she explained was Chivas’ main aim through a global entrepreneurial campaign it launched and continues to run worldwide. Being aware
that its audience of Millennials is forward-thinking, Chou highlighted the differences between Generation X and Generation Y, including:

  • Accepting diversity v celebrating diversity
  • Self-reliant v self-initiative
  • Reject the rules v rewrite the rules
  • Me-centric v we-minded
  • Individualist v communitarian values
  • Work/life balance v work/life fusion Chou made it apparent that, for your EVP to work effectively, you need to listen to the new generation, and adapt to the change in mindset.

Gareth Edwards, managing director of Havas People, concluded: “It’s important not to look at EVPs as a marketing ploy, but deep-rooted values.

“Give people a reason to go to work. We know that by 2020 Generation Y will form most of our workforce, so give
them something to believe in.”