Through our ever-evolving work, we continue to learn, grow and be inspired by our amazing clients, not least the Big Issue Group, who we had the privilege of partnering with on a pro bono project in 2023.
The cost of living crisis has resulted in record levels of poverty and inequality in the UK. Today a staggering 13 million people are trapped in poverty, and 20 million people are unable to access finance from mainstream banks. The work of charities, non-profits and social enterprises has never been more important. For more than 30 years the Big Issue Group has been one of the leading organisations tackling the issue of poverty.
A true innovator, The Big Issue is synonymous with its magazines that are bought by registered vendors and sold on to the public for a profit, the money they make supports them to get out of poverty and build a better life. The Big Issue has evolved and grown to become a group of innovative businesses including social investment, recruitment, a foundation, and a media business that includes digital. They all have a shared core mission – to create innovative solutions through enterprise, to unlock social and economic opportunity.
Growth has inevitably resulted in new challenges for the organisation, in particular an outdated external perception of what it does and how it operates. This has created a need to strengthen the employer brand – to ensure candidates have greater knowledge of the depth and breadth of opportunity on offer, the size and boldness of ambition, and the levels of excellence and performance within the Big Issue Group.
The aims of the project were to build a unique and powerful people promise that unites and motivates the current workforce; and develop an employer brand that positions the Big Issue as a dynamic place of growth and innovation, where people can be a genuine change-maker, with a huge impact on society and their career. This was supported by a study into the current culture and ways of working, and developing a target culture framework that delivers the strategy, and aligns with the values and behaviours.
Here are three key take-outs from this project, and important considerations when developing an EVP and employer brand.
Culture as a catalyst for growth
It takes time and leadership commitment to develop and model the ideal culture that an organisation needs to support the strategy, build on the authentic strengths and ‘DNA’, whilst identifying the shifts that are needed to address weaknesses and challenges. The inclusion of a broad range of voices in the process, and co-creation of the target culture with people at all levels of the organisation, ensures actions and activities are both relevant and widely accepted. This helps immeasurably when embedding and activating changes within the employee experience – from new ways of working to decision making to internal communication.
Getting clear on the give and get deal
At the heart of any EVP is the deal that balances on one side the crux of what an organisation offers its people and candidates, and on the other what it needs and expects in return from its people. On the surface, most organisations offer very similar things; career development, learning and development opportunities, interesting and stretching work. However, with dedicated time and focus to explore in depth what current employees value, a more nuanced and truer essence can be unearthed. This provides the insight, proof points and language that truly bring to life the experience and the culture, and the people attributes needed to drive future success and impact. These ultimately are the foundations for creating a standout proposition that’s authentic, unique and differentiated.
Finding the quick and big wins
The success of any strategy lies in the delivery and execution. Ideation sessions and workshops with a wide range of people from different roles and functions ensure ideas will work across the organisation. This also helps to identify ways to flex and adapt activations for different teams. To engage hearts and minds of the whole organisation, it is effective to schedule opportunities within the early stages of a change programme whereby people can develop their sense of buy-in and commitment, and translate ideas into their roles and ambitions.
To play a small part supporting the Big Issue Group’s pursuit of their bold and vital mission has been hugely motivating and meaningful for our team. We’ve been inspired and energised by an organisation that works tirelessly, creatively and bravely to change the lives of those most in need of positive change. We’re excited to see how our partnership and its outcomes will be catalysts for the Big Issue Group to be an even bigger innovating force for a brighter, fairer world.
Would you like to continue the conversation? I’d love to hear from you, so drop me a line at [email protected]