A unique brand experience for employees is as important as a unique brand experience for customers
Communication decided success or failure of any initiative
Have you ever wondered why customers prefer to buy an iPhone over other phones or a Harley Davidson over other bikes? That’s because the brand offers them a unique and distinctive experience which dictates their choices.
A customer brand describes the product and service offerings of an organization. It establishes the brand promise and thereby the reputation of the organization. Similarly, employer brand defines the organization’s value proposition to its employees.
So, what does an organization offer to its employees? How can organizations provide unique and consistent brand experience to people? How can people contribute to creating the brand experience?
A unique brand experience for employees is as important as a unique brand experience for customers. Providing this experience to the employees has its own benefits for the organization. An organization with a strong value proposition enjoys the benefits of improved attractiveness, commitment and retention, major challenges that any human resource professional is experiencing today!
EVP of an organization should be unique to it and should reflect its DNA. A thorough study of the organization’s core values, culture and the employee’s perception helps create a unique value proposition of the organization. Various sources that help provide meaningful insights in identifying the EVP attributes suitable to an organization are:
Senior leadership views
Core values and core purpose of the organization
Engagement survey results
Voice of employees through dialogues and EVP survey
Recruitment consultant feedback
Prospective employee views
GPTW survey or other organization analysis surveys conducted by reputed agencies
An organization’s business strategy gives a direction to the offerings that should be provided to the employees. Core values are the bedrock of any organization that should be kept intact, while designing the EVP. Employee voice is the best source to understand the key characteristics that any organization’s offerings and experience should have. Engagement survey results, group discussion with employees, GPTW survey findings, culture diagnostic surveys and voice of recruitment consults and prospective employees can also be considered as the major source of inputs.
Should the value proposition be aspirational or rooted in current reality?
In an SHRM whitepaper, Bernie Eisenberg and others offered the following viewpoint, “Many organizations have two sets of values. There are the real values that drive current decision making and then there are the preferred values, which an organization believes should be real, even if they are not. However, to be effective, your value proposition must be an accurate representation of what your current employees think it is like to work there and your organization must consistently fulfill its promises and deliver on its commitments.”*
EVP alignment and offerings
For an effective EVP, the next step would be to understand the alignment of the various organizational offerings with the defined EVP. Every touch-point in the lifecycle of an employee has to provide the experience that an organization’s EVP talks about. Philips, through various processes, ensures that the employee experience across the lifecycle aligns with their core EVP messages. Alignment of the offerings to EVP provides a ‘wow’ experience to employees and brings life to EVP.
Five simple steps to align the EVP to the current organization’s offerings are:
1) Identifying major processes and various employee touch-points
2) Mapping the EVP elements to specific organization processes
3) Auditing to identify the gap between a fully aligned employee touch-point process and the current processes
4) Identifying the changes in the processes and the initiatives to be launched
5) Defining the timelines for the change before communicating the EVP to employees
Communication decides success or failure of every new initiative and a well-defined EVP needs to be communicated to the current employees as well as the prospective employees.
The Chief People Officer of M&M mentions that the EVP has to be communicated at multiple occasions, where the first step would be awareness, followed by experience and internalization. Along with internal employees, the EVP needs to be communicated to the prospective employees in an effective manner. Prospective employees who are shopping for a potential position naturally tend to evaluate the EVP of their future employer.
Some organizations like Sapient define their value proposition based on the target segment. Sapient defines segment specific communication of EVP attributes to align with specific needs of candidates by industry and career stage.
The focus area
Creating a unique EVP and an employment brand is emerging as the immediate focus area for human resource professionals who understand the needs and preferences of the younger generation of employees. With the prevalent war for talent, every organization will have to identify their proposition that would be unique, competitive, would have organization’s culture and business at their core and be attractive to employees at the same time.
An organization’s EVP does not have to be complicated; rather it has to connect with its people. It should represent the relationship between what the organization gives for what it gets back in return.
If it doesn’t reach the last person in the organization, then it is not a success; hence, effective communication would stand to be the key differentiator.
EVP at M&M, Automotive and Farm Equipments sectors
‘Capable people, real experience’, the EVP statement of Mahindra and Mahindra automotive and farm equipment sectors creatively combine both the aspects of an effective EVP – what an organization gets and what it gives back. The Mahindra people factor incorporates the essence of the Mahindra brand transformation program RISE, whereas the Mahindra experience incorporates the unique promise of Mahindra to its employees.
C - Challenge conventions
A - Bring alternative thinking to the workplace
P - Drive positive change in the lives of our customer & communities
R - Recognition for outperformance
E - Empowering environment
AL - Abundant learning opportunities
The organization undertook an extensive journey to arrive at this EVP statement. It involved interacting with senior leaders as well as employees down the line. Various sources of data were referred to for identifying the strengths and opportunity areas for the organization. After a detailed study was conducted to understand the alignment of the defined EVP with the key employee touch-points, several initiatives like ‘Young Mahindra’ and talent building program called ‘Emerging Leaders Program’ were launched.
The next big step was communicating the EVP, which began with the launch for the senior leadership. To enhance believability, stories were showcased representing various facets of elements of EVP. A logo and tagline were created for easy and faster recall of EVP elements.
To communicate with the next level of employees, EVP Zones were set up at various locations where employees were made aware of the offerings available for them in the organization.
The EVP of Mahindra has become an integral part of HR strategy. To take the experience and involvement to the next level, various interactive and innovative methods like an EVP application for mobile would be designed by the organization.
Rajeshwar Tripathi (Chief People Officer, M&M Automotive and Farm Equipment sectors), Namrata Gill (Head, OD and Talent Management) and Priti Mittal (Human Resource Manager, OD)