Start with the “why” and ensure the project is aligned with business priorities.
MAKING THE FUTURE POSSIBLE:
How Lloyds Banking Group
revolutionised its employer
How Lloyds Banking Group revolutionised its employer brand strategy
For Lloyds Banking Group, “Together we make it possible” represents a rejuvenated employee value proposition (EVP) – but it also represents a lot more. It forms part of a talent acquisition strategy for negotiating the pressing challenges that the financial services sector faces in an era of digital transformation. This is the story of how the employer brand strategy evolved – and how fundamental it is to the journey that Lloyds Banking Group is taking.
“Trust in businesses like ours was at an extreme low following the financial crisis,” says the Group’s Senior Manager for Recruitment Branding, Attraction & Assessment, David Hindle. “We had come out the other end as a very different organisation: one with a clear purpose of “Helping Britain Prosper”, that’s rooted in the immense social and economic impact we can have. It was vital that we evolved our employer brand and value proposition to reflect this.”
Lloyds Banking Group has over 27 million customers in the UK
David Hindle, Senior Manager for Recruitment Strategy
Why the recruitment challenge
starts with brand-building
“A key pillar of our corporate strategy for the next few years is building a business that’s more collaborative, agile and fast-paced,” says Nichola Clyde, Group Talent Acquisition Director. “The amount of investment that we’re now putting into technology and the digital banking space would probably surprise a lot of people who might see this as a traditional, slow-paced organisation. In order to make this happen, we had to attract the right people with the right skills, at all levels of experience.”
Many businesses would have seen this primarily as a recruitment challenge and moved straight on to tactical communications that could quickly build a pipeline of candidates with the skills they needed. Nichola, David and the team recognised that the challenge was more fundamental. They needed to change perceptions – and they needed to start with the Group’s employer brand. They wanted a proposition that could both reflect the organisation as it stood today and articulate the “bank of the future” they were creating. Ultimately, the new employer brand was going to be key to attracting individuals with new skills and experiences; individuals that might not have previously considered an opportunity at Lloyds or the banking sector more broadly.
Nichola Clyde, Group Talent Acquisition Director
Over the next 3 years, Lloyds will also invest in their internal workforce; seeing a 50% increase in training and development to 4.4 million hours per annum
Time for a new employee value proposition
Rejuvenating the Group’s employer brand required the team to challenge the status quo where necessary. Lloyds Banking Group already had an employee value proposition that promised candidates and employees “a role that matters.” It captured the organisation’s strong sense of purpose and potential social and economic impact – but it missed something just as important; its vision for the future. “We needed to move on from the idea that our people are defined by doing a single job,” says David. “We wanted to focus more on the difference we can make as an organisation – and how we’ll need to come together as colleagues in an inclusive environment, to make that difference. That’s why we started the process of revisiting our proposition and yet interrogating how it still aligned with our Group purpose.”
Hannah Linton, Group Culture Manager & Catherine Dineley, Head of Group Culture
Balancing inspiration and authenticity
in employer branding
David brought together a project team that included Matthew Hall, the Group’s Employer Brand Manager, expertise from other parts of the Group such as Brands & Marketing, members of the Group Culture team such as Catherine Dineley and Hannah Linton and MSL, the Group’s recruitment brand partner. The team started work towards the end of 2016 with a six-week engagement phase that included the key audiences and stakeholders for David and the team: interviews and workshops with senior executives, employee-wide surveys, discussion groups organised through their online networking tool, engaging with external partners, plus feedback sessions and focus groups with prospective candidates themselves.
The opinions and data that the team collected were then integrated with insights from the Group’s annual employer brand survey, to develop a proposition that was both engaging and authentic. “We’ve got to highlight where we’re going, but also recognise where we are at this point,” says David. “We want to make our organisation attractive, but we need to do so in a way that reflects reality.”
“Together we make it possible” is the proposition that emerged from this process during the early part of 2017 – and it struck a chord with David’s team from the start. “One of its big strengths is the explicit recognition of teamwork and collaboration because it’s the way we need to work going forward,” says David. “We’re also talking about making different things “possible” for different audiences: whether that be the development opportunities for our colleagues or the way that our organisation contributes to so many life-changing events for our customers.”
Lloyds Banking Group is one of five companies to be ranked as gold standard by the Business Disability Forum for support of employees with disabilities
Matthew Hall, Employer Brand Manager
Not just a proposition – a communications
The new proposition didn’t just provide Lloyds Banking Group with something to communicate – it also provided the Group with a template for how to communicate it. The team took a conscious decision to roll the proposition out internally first, building out internal communications and an internal employer brand resource centre before launching the “Together we make it possible” message externally. When the time came to go out to the talent market as a whole, it was the stories shared by the Group’s existing employees that provided the content for sharing on channels like LinkedIn. These stories formed the spine of the media strategy as well, using tools such as the LinkedIn Elevate employee advocacy platform to spread the word.
“Engaging our colleagues has been the priority since we first launched the EVP,” says Matthew Hall, Employer Brand Manager detailing the vision for building a brand from the grassroots upward. “This whole process has driven a significant level of engagement with our colleagues and with teams like Brand, Culture and Corporate Responsibility, to help generate suitable content. We’re now in the position of having more content than we need. This enables us to be very selective about what we share. We’re able to choose a mix of content that aligns with the pillars of our proposition, and we’re increasingly tailoring that content to different candidate audiences.”
The quality and depth of content has also enabled Matthew to experiment with the most effective formats, including leveraging the potential for video storytelling on LinkedIn: “The preferred approach is definitely to tell the story through the eyes of our colleagues, and we’re starting to use lots of snappy video content, in order to do that. We’re also really committed to testing the formats and types of content that are most effective, so that we can continuously improve the engagement with our candidate pools.”
Since the launch of the “Together we make it possible” EVP:
Engagement rates with employer brand content are up four-fold
Follower growth rates for Lloyds Banking Group have increased 80%
Company Page visits are up 30%
Impressions on the Group’s Sponsored Content have increased 15%
Committing to the EVP journey
Testing is so important because of the vision that the team have of employer branding as an ongoing journey. “Developing an EVP is most definitely an ‘always-on’ project,” David says. “We rolled out the foundations in the second half of 2017, and so far this year we’ve been ramping up the external brand messaging and getting into a rhythm with publishing content that highlights what life at Lloyds Banking Group is all about.”
The metrics already indicate a step-change in awareness, engagement and advocacy as a result of this approach, with engagement rates for Lloyds Banking Group increasing four-fold, follower growth rates up by 80%, page visits up over 30% and impressions on the Group’s Sponsored Content up 15% as a result of organic sharing.
“As we move forward, we’re committed to reviewing the value that the brand is delivering,” says David. “We’ve already got a range of metrics at micro and macro levels: from engagement with social media posts to our annual employer brand survey with external candidates. This is an area we want to explore further, so we can identify metrics that continue to align with our strategy and how the EVP is bringing it to life.”
Don’t do this as an isolated project, recognise the value of other functions & what they can bring; including branding, marketing, diversity & inclusion – collaborate & bring the entire organisation on the journey.
Measuring a brand is difficult, so ensure you’re clear on the measures of success and commit to the continuous measurement – it’s a never-ending project that will evolve over time.
Leverage your internal communications content, then it’s low cost, efficient and above all else authentic.