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Defining your EVP: Harvey Nash HR London's First HR Leadership Event

On the morning of Thursday 27th April at The Soho Hotel, the first Harvey Nash HR London leadership event took place, to discuss the notion of Employee Value Proposition.

The 'EVP' of any business is in alignment with the Employer Brand, determining and establishing factors in retaining or losing talent from the organisation. In a time where the shift of Human Resources has gone from the traditional personnel perception to an integral part of any company, the duty of configuring methods to hold talent and keep employees content in their day-to-day livelihood has never been more relevant.

View photos of the event

Kicking off the morning, Gemma Bartlett who heads up the HR London practice, introduced the morning to the HR professionals and welcomed them to the newly established London HN HR branch. Following this, Gemma introduced the conference speaker Mat Davies - HR Director of London-based ground transportation company, Addison Lee.

Mat opened with telling the forum that he had only been appointed HRD of Addison Lee a matter of 10 weeks ago, faced with the challenge of restructuring the HR procedures, a culture in transition and with a stress on EVP. Mat then opened with a tale of a 'snotty-nosed teenager' in the car with his Father, for his first day at university. His father told the teenager, "You only get one go at this. Make sure it is the journey you want, not the journey of the friends you meet." Mat revealed this 'snotty' teenager was in fact himself, in 1990 on his way to Bristol University, and said he would continue the story when concluding the presentation.

And so, the presentation began. Mat gave us all an overview of the journey of Addison Lee and how this has impacted the way employees feel about the brand - both positive and negative. With the transition from being a family-run to an international premium brand, and operating in a congested London market where there were over 110,000 drivers. Clearly, as Mat pointed out, they are not short of challenges. Not to mention the ever-rising competition and technology, such as Uber. Mat was realistic but enthused around the hard work needed to build the business into a thriving employer of choice. The opportunity to be creative, innovative and enable the company to invest back into the employees and therefore 'punch above their weight' in regards of talent was not to be underestimated.

Mat emphasised that EVP is not about being 'knee-deep' in posters. He asked the room to put up their hand if they have a family. Mat then asked, 'who considers them to have family values' - hands stayed up - and then proceeded to ask 'who has a family values poster in their kitchen?'. All hands went down with a simmering laughter. It is all about the broader piece of being an Employer Brand. In Mat's instance, he has to consider a hugely diverse workforce that might include the 47 year-old self-employed driver with a family and side business, as well as the 20-something tech employee developing Addison Lee's app. Companies have to consider the diverse employees who are the 'rocket-fuel' of the business, meaning communicating directly and receiving real-time feedback. And in terms of stakeholders, as HR professionals, you have to provide the consequences of company decisions and the impact it will have on employees and the brand's EVP.

And with that, the earlier story was to be concluded. Mat, as the 'snotty-nose' teenager, asked his police officer father "Why did you become a copper?" and he simply replied, "To lock up villains". For Mat, this had a pull and resonance with him. It was such a clear and distinct response which is precisely what Mat is aiming for at Addison Lee. To not just know what they do, but why they do it.

Following the close of Mat's animated presentation, prompted an in-depth and extensive Q&A. This covered whether the term 'EVP' is out-dated, how to accommodate to diverse range of employees and even how Addison Lee will tackle driverless cars. Not to worry through - Mat says they probably won't be arising until around 2025!
A thought-provoking and reflective morning that we, as Harvey Nash, were delighted to present. We would like to give a big thank you to everyone that joined us for what proved to be efficacious event. If you need any advice or assistance with your HR recruitment, please get in touch with the team.

Gemma Bartlett linkedin.png
Gemma Bartlett
Head of HR - London