If you don’t try, you don’t know!

When it comes to activating your Employer Value Proposition, it’s important to start with small, achievable steps, see what works, revise and refine what you are doing based on the success data you get back, and continue to grow.

It’s tempting to be over cautious, though.

Yes, take baby steps, but sometimes, alongside the incremental improvements and increases in volume, it can pay to follow your instincts and do something radical. Or at least something you haven’t tried before.

If you don’t try something different, how do you know it will work?

As long as you measure the results, and are prepared to fail, it could well be worth it.

When you’re budgeting, set some money aside as and “experiment budget”, and use that when an idea strikes you.

We use the rule of thumb of 5% of the overall advertising budget for experimentation. That way the money is there if you want to use it, and if you don’t it can be fed back into advertising campaigns to boost them in the run up to the end of the financial year.

An example from campaigns we have run is taking a risk on trying Spotify’s self-service ad platform when it was first released. We allocated some dollars from our experiment budget to trying it out, created some radio-style 30 second ad slots with a focus on employer brand awareness and let it run. It worked well and is now and Spotify is now part of our portfolio of services for clients.

So give something a try. But make sure you plan for it!

Launch your EVP. Be Strategic. Also Be Tactical. Part 2

In part two of this two part post we talk about getting your strategy straight so you can activate with confidence.

Nail Your Objectives, And Be Realistic

With the tactical work underway you can start discussing the objectives for the launch. You need to answer the question of what your “end state” will be, and when.

Where do you want to be in three months, six months, twelve? Imagine there’s a big leadership conference in twelve months time and you’ve been asked to present the EVP. What story do you want to be able to tell? Think of your fifteen minute presentation and work back from there to tease  our your objectives.

It’s about visualising your desired end state and then designing a path to get there.

You should keep your objectives fairly simple, but they need to be clear and achievable in a reasonable timeframe.

Resist the temptation of grandiose objectives like “Be known as the best employer in the US”. I’m a fan of big, hairy, audacious goals but for the purpose of launching your EVP you should make sure that your goals are doable.

Also, although planning will come later, you need to have half an eye on the resources you might need to achieve your goals. A doable goal means one that has someone to do it with the right tools available. So keep that in  mind. 

You might consider goals like:

– Having launch materials reviewed and ready in three months with an unveil at an internal heads-of-department meeting

– Internal soft launch in six months at the monthly town hall

– EVP launch workshops in six months with all your international regional heads

– Internal Launch Wrap Party in twelve months before “going big” externally

You can see that these goals are all very contextually specific, but in theory all could be achieved with the right strategy and plan in place.

Create Your Strategy, But Don’t Do It Alone

Now you have your objectives in place and agreed, it’s time to start figuring out how you are going to get there. A strategy is really a high level plan, so this is a high level planning exercise where you figure out what broadly needs to be done to get to your objectives. 

Sometimes, as you go through the strategy process you might realise that your objectives are a little out of reach. If that’s the case, revise your objectives as much as you need to and then start the planning again.

It’s better to be conservative in what you can achieve and set expectations at this stage so that the likelihood of success is much higher.

So the strategy is the path to get your objectives, but does not have the detailed steps that make a plan.

For example, let’s say that you are launching an EVP for an international company. You might need to consider questions like the:

– How is this going to be phased?

– How do you balance an internal launch with an external launch?

– Who owns the EVP centrally and in the international regions?

– How do you get those owners up to speed with the EVP?

– What sort of budgets might be available to get the launch work done?

Let’s say your objective is to “Officially Launch the EVP at the Regional Leadership Meetings in Q3 Next Year”.

Then your strategy might be:

– Launch internally first, and then go big externally after the Regional Leadership Meetings

– Soft launch centrally by Q4 this year, involving the regions so that we do not miss any regional requirements, nuances, or restrictions

– Slowly launch externally rather than big bang, so prior to going big we will drip-feed new EVP elements out on social channels

– The career site will be the external hub for the EVP so prepare a new career site look and feel and messaging ready for launch after the Regional Leadership Meetings

Can you see how this might now become a more detailed plan?

We mentioned involving the regions in the fictional scenario above. It is really important to identify your stakeholders early and get them involved. This will help mitigate any risks with the launch as you will get lots of input from this extended team which will help contextualise the EVP launch across the company and internationally. This will also increase buy-in and help the EVP become real.

Consider too what will make it really effective regionally. Ultimately the EVP should make everyone’s day-to-day talent acquisition work easier and more consistent, so find out what the requirement are locally and make anything that is globally applicable global too.

Once your strategy is written up and agreed, it’s time to get into the details of the plan.

A Plan Is Your Best Friend. But It’s Not Set In Stone

Having clear objectives and a solid strategy is no end of help to creating a practical detailed plan for achieving your objectives.

Your strategy will naturally translate into work streams for the project. Typically these will be:

– A foundation work stream that prepares all fo the copy, assets, technical infrastructure and media for the launch

– A communication work stream that defines how the EVP launch is communicated internally and externally, and what material is needed for each activity

– A training work stream that deals with the logistics of getting people up to speed and ready for the launch so that everyone knows what the EVP is and how to use it

Each work stream relies on the others.

As you go through the planning process, make sure that your stakeholders are involved with both reviewing the plan and also agreeing to execute the tasks they are allocated. 

And remember that the plan is not set in stone. As you run your project you will undoubtedly encounter situations that require the plan to be changed. Embrace that, and change it as required. If you want to formalise change into your plan, consider creating “Replanning Points” as milestones to make it clear that at certain points during the project, things may change.

Good luck, and happy planning!

Launch your EVP. Be Strategic. Also Be Tactical. Part 1

In part one of this two part post we talk about getting tactical so you can get on with being strategic.

Just Launch Why Don’t You?

Creating an EVP is a long journey. From getting the budget, doing the initial research, figuring out what the culture of your company actually is, through creating the pillars and roof of your EVP house, and writing the words that you’ll use to talk about your EVP to your different departments, markets, and talent personas.

It’s a slog. I’m with you on that. 

But when it’s done and it’s time to launch, it’s really tempting to get right to it – create some graphics for a launch party, get your EVP printed on mugs and t-shirts, have a presentation for the board ready by next week.

Launch launch launch!

Gotta see some return on investment on that EVP budget, right?

The best thing to do, though, is to take a deep breath, and figure out what you’re going to do next, and how to do it properly. That’s called strategy, and planning. 

Sure there are pressures from the exec team to get it done. There’s that town-hall meeting in a month’s time when the international folk are going to be in the room and wouldn’t it be just great to launch internationally then? There’s the quarterly board meeting, the monthly TA meeting. There are many pressures to just do it.

Of course – you need to handle all that – but you need to do it in a strategic way, and also understanding that after all the EVP work people want to see the results out there, so be tactical too.

Figure Out What’s Important and Be Minimally Tactical

The first thing on your list should be prioritising your list.

Figuring out what’s important. Figuring out what you need to do now, what you need to do next, and what to do to prepare for these initial, what we’ll call “tactical”, activities. Baby steps.

Make sure you don’t overwork the tasks, though. These initial activities will set the tone for what you do, and as you crystallise your strategy you might want to change some things as you settle in to working with the new EVP. Trust me, it takes a few iterations to get into a rhythm.

So don’t be tempted to create giant posters that go onto the wall of every office. 

Stick to digital activities at this point if you can. Presentations can easily change as you refine and evolve the way you talk about your EVP. Two hundred mugs in the coffee room can’t.

You don’t want to be haunted by these EVP tactical baby steps for years to come.