Interview – TransGrid’s Head of HR talks EVP

TransGrid addressed their EVP to support the changing direction of the business in 2014 and are now leading the charge in Employer Brand Development.

Their enticing ‘make it happen’ campaign demonstrates a successful synergy between EVP and business goals in a new and compelling way.

Monica Lonergan, Manager/People Strategy at TransGrid led the initiative and spoke to Peoplecorp about their incredible EVP journey.

Monica, can you give us some background to why TransGrid went on this EVP journey?

We had undertaken an engagement survey in 2012 which showed that EVP/Brand was a key engagement opportunity area for us. That coupled with a transforming landscape for the energy industry and an increased focus on commerciality and customer perception led us to focus on our EVP. We also have many loyal, long term employees (average tenure 14 years), but due to the aging workforce, we needed to attract and retain new employees, ensuring that the EVP was attractive and clear to them whilst aligning existing employees with the new direction.

Can you briefly describe the process you followed to create your EVP?

To assist with our EVP we worked closely with an agency called Eight Steps West (8SW) to gain a clear understanding of the perceptions of the business and to develop a creative strategy around delivering our EVP. We collated data based on current offerings, likes and dislikes, and where we wanted the company to go. We undertook a range of focus groups to establish current base line and also to establish what attracted employees to come to TransGrid and also what kept them engaged at work.
Combining these findings with data from an engagement survey, 8SW suggested creative approaches including how to represent the EVP and how to integrate this into recruitment and people processes/programs.
It is important to note that throughout the process we consulted with employees, Executive and Senior Leaders and our Corporate Strategy and Communication teams to ensure that we were all aligned in direction.

View the ‘make it happen’ video campaign here:

In creating your EVP, how broad has its reach been across the business?

It is continually being integrated; however some of the steps we have already undertaken were creating a whole new internal and external recruitment campaign ‘make it happen’. We have been integrating the new EVP through the ‘make it happen’ campaign into all People aspects of the business including internal and external recruitment processes, induction/on boarding and employee development.

A new careers website was created and linked to the overall company website. We also worked with our communication team to better utilise and integrate social media – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

As part of the next steps in the program, we are working on a focused internal campaign designed to showcase to existing employees how what they do impacts on the community, consumers and the business. It is designed to build pride and engagement and to recognise the key work that our employees do.

What sort of base did you start from?

Our engagement and culture surveys were showing some disconnect with the overall direction of the company which was concerning when looking at the challenges ahead. We were also having difficulty attracting external talent as we are not a ‘known’ brand.
Our prior EVP was unclear. Much of how we represented ourselves was based around past working processes or assumptions of what employees wanted (thus heavy on Award based entitlements). Our brand was also difficult to differentiate from similar companies – so our recruitment campaigns were full of images of people in hard hats which only portrayed a part of our work and did not attract the diverse workforce we needed.

How have you measured the benefits to the business in cost terms?

Recruitment figures have been a good source demonstrating a significant upturn in external applicants from areas and backgrounds previously difficult for us to source from.

In early 2015 Engagement and Culture surveys will be undertaken giving a deeper insight into the impact of changes. We have also undertaken some small pulse surveys which show that employees are seeing positives between EVP and what we do.

What was the most surprising learning from employee surveys?

The biggest surprise was a positive. It’s easy in a public sector organisation to sometimes buy into the rhetoric that public sector and/or long term employees are only here for working conditions and can’t change however what the surveys showed us (as well as the subsequent focus groups) was how dedicated and committed many of our employees were to their work, their colleagues and to improving what they do. The surveys showed how much pride they have in delivering to the community. These are wonderful attributes which we used to build the EVP.

How has the development of your EVP influenced your HR strategy?

The primary influence has been to integrate the findings into other programs. So for example we have built the ‘make it happen’ concept into engagement programs and recognition programs. We recently also updated the behavioural statements which underpin our corporate values to better reflect this ‘make it happen’ attitude.

The concept has also been integrated into many of our diversity and inclusion practices as the new EVP is focused on a broader contribution culture and recognition of how difference can assist growth.