Organisations can no longer ‘sell’ flexibility, wellness or DEI: Mohan Jayaram, Epsilon India
Mohan Jayaram is the Senior Director for Talent Acquisition and Talent Programs at Epsilon India.
His experience includes leading the staffing function across industries with deep understanding of the talent landscape and employer branding needs to build a strong employee value proposition. Mohan has worked with brands like Hewlett Packard, Intuit, Paypal and Mphasis where he has played a strategic role in designing and implementing robust talent attraction programs.
In this exclusive interview with People Matters, Mohan talks about designing relevant and competitive EVP for a multi-generational workforce, the criticality of making flexibility, wellness and DEI a part of the organisational DNA and building an authentic employer brand.
What does employee value proposition encompass for Epsilon in the new world of work?
Many companies today are actively putting their voices to reach and connect with potential employees. In this sea of clutter, it is imperative that the most authentic voice resonates. Epsilon is committed towards enriching the experiences at moments that matter to people. Our employees are the best promoters of our inclusive and diverse culture. For Epsilon, Employee Value Proposition lies in creating an inclusive culture, providing opportunities for growth, and creating camaraderie.
Epsilon’s EVP of “EPIC Together” focuses on a two-pronged approach - one which focuses on building EPIC experiences within the organisation, and second on building an aspirational value for potential talent, to join us in our journey towards being EPIC.
Authenticity is most critical when it comes to employer branding and in building a strong value proposition for existing and potential employees.
Epsilon believes in promoting an environment and a culture that is vibrant and exciting, where everyone is respected and can bring their authentic selves to work. We want to make sure that through our EVP individuals become aware of the values and behaviours that are critical to us, how our clients see us, the company culture, in addition to knowing our organisation and our business.
For many organisations, EVP emerges as an afterthought to rising attrition. What are your thoughts on this?
At Epsilon, employee experience has been shaped by proactively listening to and caring for our people. We actively look to hire people who share the same values of Passion, Accountability, and Inclusion. The questions that organisations constantly need to ask and assess are:
- Do our employees resonate with the EVP?
- Do they believe in our EVP?
- Do they see our EVP in action, across the various experiences that they go through in their employment lifecycle?
The commitment towards building and enhancing their EVP should be a constant focus for organisations or they are likely to fall behind in a crowded and competitive talent market. The EVP also needs to be current and relevant to ensure it meets the needs of different generations in the workforce.
What do you think are three top factors that a company needs in its employer brand today?
There are many factors that organisations and leaders need to keep in mind, when building their employer brand. Top factors that I believe every company needs today are:
- Listen to action: Employees understand the intent of the various surveys that organisations roll out time-to-time. However, post completion of such exercises, the onus is on the organisation to keep employees informed and share insights. This is probably one of the most underrated actions, while being the most important element of building a successful and sustainable employer brand.
- Creating a culture of inclusion: It is irrefutable that for employees to thrive and to operate at their highest potential, creating and encouraging a work environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work, is of utmost importance. And this is the reason why inclusion is a core value at Epsilon, besides Passion and Accountability. When organisations create an inclusive environment where employees feel safe, they flourish.
- Career development: The pandemic also forced organisations to evolve, re-evaluate, and adapt to the sentiments of employees. There has been significant focus on leadership development, reskilling and upskilling as these are the key components of a strong organisation. For instance, at Epsilon, DevelopU is a celebration of learning that brings industry experts and learning professionals from different industry sectors and from around the world to share their knowledge on trending topics, proven practices and future of technology.
How is Epsilon revamping its EVP to attract and engage talent, existing as well as potential?
The pandemic, the Great Resignation and persistent engagement challenges have changed how organisations need to position their EVP. The EVP for the post-pandemic workforce must:
- Orient toward employees as people and think about their whole self;
- Take into account that work is a subset of life, not separate from it; and that
- Value comes through what people experience and feel, not just establishing practices
Organisations must transition their EVP to a more person-centred approach and provide exceptional experiences that match the employees’ needs and preferences that include a sense of belongingness, challenge and growth, flexibility, and overall well-being.
At Epsilon, listening to our people is paramount and we do surveys and focus groups at the organisation and department levels to identify what our employees really care about and how we can in turn, continue to build on our strengths and look at areas of improvement. What also attracts potential talent to an organisation is its strong sense of identity, the values that it stands for and its cultural fabric.
Flexibility, Wellness and DEI are top of the mind for organisations across the globe as they enhance EX for their distributed workforce. What risks do organisations carry if they lose focus on these elements amidst a desire to return to the workplace?
In the last couple of years, organisations have had to pivot their focus to accommodate the needs, expectations and wants of employees and make their value proposition relevant and appealing, or run the risk of being perceived as ’outdated. So, they can no longer ‘sell’ flexibility, wellness or DEI. It needs to be part of their DNA as it is what employees expect.
At Epsilon, we recognised very early that flexibility, wellness and DEI are imperative, and designed relevant programs. Flexibility has been a priority at Epsilon even before the pandemic hit. DEI has evolved and taken centre-stage in the last couple of years and at Epsilon, we have made firm commitments and taken purposeful steps – we hired a global leader for DEI; we partnered with a Big Four consulting/accounting firm to conduct an independent study to identify gaps and opportunities that would also benchmark us against global organisations. To ensure people had time to recharge and experience a sense of well-being, we introduced regular Days of Rest.
What is your advice for organisations seeking to reimagine their EVP? What can they not miss and what should they be wary of?
While the pandemic may have brought in shifts in the way EVP is viewed and translated to employees and candidates, the fundamentals remain the same – creating a value proposition that is authentic and honest. Organisations must also realise that they can no longer control the narrative; it’s also about the perception. What organisations can own is how they showcase the culture, values, and the promises and communicate in an authentic voice.
An important element of the employer brand is to give employees a voice.
Hearing directly from employees and their experiences gives candidates a taste of the culture and what they can expect. This also reiterates the authenticity of the brand – what you say = what you do.