We recently hosted a virtual roundtable in partnership with Resource Solutions on ‘Evolving your EVP to bridge the skills gap’ which looked at some highly relevant topics: The rise of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), Employer Brand and Values, Targeted Value Proposition and Wellbeing initiatives.
In the working environment we are now operating in everybody is thinking about how best to create and retain culture. In a world where we are all remotely distributed, how do we do this and continue to attract the right talent? As it stands, the workforce we have now and the workforce we are trying to attract for the future are polar opposites, meaning it has never been as hard as it is now to get this right.
It is fair to assume that everyone is in very different places in their journey, with many reviewing their EVP and employer brand and shifting from the brand they were using historically, but what is the best way to evolve your EVP and bridge the skills gap, to ensure future success?
The key takeaways from the conversation appear below.
Accountability is the key to success
Corporate and social responsibility seems to be becoming a bigger topic for candidates and employees and it is very important to say what you mean and mean what you say in this area. It is often the case that ESG within organisation is more of a ‘window dressing’ than an authentic interest in responsibility. It is important that ESG is part of your values that acts as a guiding principle to anchor your organisation and everything you do.
Attendees agreed that many organisations have struggled with authenticity for a long time and that historically there has been a vast amount of unauthentic Employee Value Proposition (EVP), but now people are driving for transparency. People are more curious, and paying more attention to the accountability of businesses. From employees to clients and customers, the level of interest in an organisations ESG is high and people are looking deeper and more thoroughly into what organisations do, it’s no longer just about giving back, but people are looking at who their pension provider is, and what they invest in and whether they agree with that. ESG is a much deeper and conscious consideration than it has been before, and organisations can no longer not take it seriously as the cost of not having a good ESG strategy is high.
Don’t forget your brand
The confluence between your employer brand and your company brand has never been closer than now. It was a really important piece to recognise that it is easier to create a new brand than it is to fix a damaged brand. It is easy for organisations to become complacent when it comes to their brand and they can then suffer as a result; losing their values, affecting recruitment, retention, engagement and much more. Social media means that the world is more connected than ever and news travels quickly and tarnishes a reputation easily, be aware.
There was an exploratory conversation around the potential for rebuilding and transforming brands based on the outside world and its perception of your brand and industry. If successful, there is an integral connection between external brand also driving your internal brand, which impacts recruitment, retention and your culture. Always remember your brand and the way it links to your people. Your people drive your external brand and are your external advertising. Treat them that way.
Your culture should evolve
It’s often thought culture should be so embedded within an organisation that it is unshakeable, but our attendees agreed that this may not actually be the case, suggesting that culture should evolve, not just as a section to events but for relevance too.
Culture should be an ever-growing and changing landscape, where the people you introduce should add to the culture, supported by an adaptable EVP and simple, but consistent values. It is important to emphasise that culture is a living, breathing, dynamic thing, so it can’t be stagnant and set in stone, because the world you’re living in isn’t stagnant. Having said this there is a desire from people for culture and values to be solid, even if this isn’t realistic or achievable. People are able to make or ruin your culture, so hire accordingly.
EVP should be simple and over-arching
The majority of the conversation looked at EVP; what works or doesn’t work for organisation, how it can help talent acquisition and bridging the skills gap and what an EVP should look like moving forwards. The general consensus was that in reality, culture, purpose and values are what you’re about as an organisation and the process of finding new people to bridge skills gaps can be affected by these, but have a one ‘catch-all’ reason to join an organisation is dead.
An EVP should rally people together, but the activation plan should vary based on a number of factors, like your competitor landscape, geographical location, where you get different nuances from. Each location should be represented to say whether a simplified, catch-all EVP would work and make cultural sense for everyone. A simplified, catch-all EVP will allow organisations to evolve and bridge the skills gap. It essentially consists of core values and hygiene factors as the EVP, and then you can target the distribution and communication according to the groups you are working with.
People join organisations for a host of different reasons, but often they stay for the EVP. With this in mind, if you EVP is just statements and window dressing’s, then it is pointless. When looking at bridging skills gaps, particularly as a more established brand, it’s less about getting them in and more about retaining and engaging them.
Wellbeing is about managers and leaders
Wellbeing is a hot topic right now and organisations need to recognise that it shouldn't be a performative action or statement. Fair treatment and wellbeing, shouldn’t be about your branding and should be part of your core strategy. It should be about having a conscious mindset and a duty of care to your employees, considering individual needs, especially at the moments that matter for them.
There is a very important aspect to be recognised here, which is that no matter what your organisation has in place for wellbeing, it can only go as far as the managers and line managers at ground level allow it. We can't always blame the organisation and not the individuals…
Taking the above into account, it is important to emphasise that although values and EVP should be simple and fixed, culture should be flexible and ever-changing with your workforce and the external environment. Recognising that sometimes the best EVP’s are aspirational and honest, recognising what you want to help change or become as an organisation and authentically driving that goal. It is important to recognise that organisations are made of people and people need to be looked after and that is the organisation and leaders responsibility.