By Richard Barrett, MD + Founding Partner, INITIALS CX


With an eye-watering global industry value of $28115tn, and more than 8 million employees in the US and the UK alone, financial services remains a frenetic sector and a hotbed of talent attraction.

Against this backdrop, if you work in HR or recruitment it won’t have escaped your notice that candidate demands are changing. From hybrid work to higher-quality perks, potential employees are confidently setting out their personal requirements during the hiring process. Talent also has a tendency for temptation, with a growing trend for some to be snaffled by better offers even after they’ve accepted an original offer.

And there’s something else afoot. The pandemic caused a more specific shift in employee preferences and priorities, with many seeking work that aligns with their personal values.

Today, nearly two-thirds of employees say the pandemic caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, while almost half have reconsidered the kind of work they do.


Employees now want a deeper connection with their organisations, where their personal brands authentically overlap with the organisation’s values. This is why more and more companies are investing in their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).


Employers taking note of EVPs

An EVP sets out a platform where it is not just the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace, but more than that, it’s integral to delivering a culture through the company’s values brought to life through everyday behaviours.

Just as when evaluating an externally facing service brand, an EVP needs to create, elevate and campaign a clear point of meaningful difference. A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate. It must be able to encourage discretionary effort and create an enduring sense of shared purpose and belonging.

The key to success lies in making sure the EVP goes the extra mile by actively incorporating it into every aspect of an organisation’s operations, decision-making processes and everyday behaviours to ensure it is embedded in the culture.

When physical proximity is no longer a given, an organisation’s values and beliefs must work harder to keep employees connected, motivated and engaged. This is where defining a clear and mutually beneficial value exchange can have an outsized impact on an EVP’s effectiveness.

Simply put, a value exchange is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company.

The possibilities here are seemingly limitless and could be customised to suit the needs and values of a specific organisation. The key idea to note is that a value exchange caters to all ages and demographics because it recognises the importance of values and purpose in their lives.


Simplification is paramount to a successful EVP

To create a tailored and effective EVP, it’s crucial to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.

Companies should understand the importance of segmenting their workforce based on factors such as age, gender, geographical location and individual needs. This allows for a more personalised and targeted EVP that caters to the varying needs of employees, ultimately enhancing their engagement and commitment to the organization.

An ideal EVP development process involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches. While the management and executive teams need to have a clear vision and purpose, it’s equally important to engage with the workforce to understand their individual priorities and motivations. In a hybrid working environment, open communication is key to ensuring that the EVP resonates with employees and aligns with their values and expectations.

Moreover, as employee priorities shift towards seeking purpose-driven work, businesses must ensure their EVPs reflect these changes. When employees perceive their organisation’s purpose as meaningful and connected to their personal values, they are more likely to be engaged, committed and willing to put in discretionary effort.


How finance brands can cash in on EVP

Established financial services brands and more recent market entrants alike are grasping the EVP opportunity with notable success.

Lloyds Bank is a beacon of revitalised EVP created in response to the financial crisis of the late Noughties. Insight revealed the bank needed a refresh to hold onto its best and brightest talent and attract new employees as the world rebuilt from the slump.

The bank landed on the EVP “Together we make it possible” and turned to social media – more specifically LinkedIn – to activate and amplify its new ethos. Engagement metrics showed the initiative was a huge success. While the company’s positioning statements have moved on today – Helping Britain Prosper and By Your Side just two recent iterations – you’ll still find the EVP messaging mentioned in dispatches.

At the more recent end of the continuum are the fintechs. Revolut is a great example of having multiple EVP layers to enthuse existing employees and attract new ones. The bank’s global team already numbers more than 6,000 people and judging by the language of its mission statements it’s clearly on the hunt for more, while also pulling out the stops to keep talent on board.

As the world of work continues to evolve, financial services organisations must adapt to meet the changing needs and priorities of employees. A successful EVP must not only be authentic and well-crafted but it must also be brought to life within the organisation, actively permeating every aspect of its culture and operations.

By simplifying and clarifying the company’s values and fostering a strong value exchange, organisations can create a powerful and meaningful EVP that resonates with employees. Get it right, and organisations and their workforce can adapt together to the new era of work and pull together for a mutually profitable future.

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