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I had the absolute pleasure of hosting two panel events in May, gathering a range of HR leaders to discuss their approach to Employee Value Proposition at our exclusive EVP Lab events.

Kicking things off in Perth, we chatted to Sascha Sanderson-Brown, Manager People and Culture at Cash Converters; Jon Bowker, General Manager, People and Culture at Lycopodium; and Lee Stewart, General Manager - Human Resources at Clontarf Foundation.

I found it so inspiring to hear these leaders share their experiences and insights on developing strong company cultures, attracting the best talent and engaging their people effectively. 

EVP is a must-have, not a nice-to-have

A theme that ran throughout the panel was the critical importance of working on your EVP and nurturing that real sense of belonging and connection. It’s something that’s clearly a business-critical priority, not just a fluffy nice-to-have, but that’s something that can still be an uphill battle when convincing employees and stakeholders.

Lee Stewart from Clontarf Foundation states that he and his team drive their EVP forward with employee champions and data-driven decision making.

“I think it’s a must-have. I do think terms like EVP, depending on your workforce, can be seen as a bit fluffy. So maybe don't specifically use the term, but, for me and for us at the Clontarf Foundation, it's about identifying who your champions are, and champions might be at any level in the organisation.”IMG_9853-min

“And then make sure you have the real data, which says this is what the data's telling us and this is what's going to happen if we do (or don't), and this can be the outcome of achieving what we're trying to do here.”

Once you've got the champions and once you've got the data, it's really important to get key decision makers in the room that can make decisions. Otherwise, you just keep having meetings and conversations where the snake eats its tail. 

Building your EVP business case

I know we’ve all had those hard conversations trying desperately to secure investment and executive buy-in for key employee engagement programs to enhance our EVPs.

A few months ago, I ran a webinar about this very topic, covering best practices and strategies to overcome resistance and scepticism, with practical tips for presenting a compelling case for benefits and recognition that resonates with executives and decision-makers. Watch the on-demand webinar here.

When I asked the panel how they combatted this, Sascha Sanderson-Brown from Cash Converters had some fantastic tips for backing up your employee engagement business case.


If you're going to try and sell a story, initiative or solution to a problem, you need to have the data behind that.

“I think one of the things that we do well is really engaging with our current employees and finding out what it is that they’re looking for. So, it's not what People and Culture think or it's not what Operations think that they need or want."

“Since 2022, we’ve run an employee engagement survey every two years. What we've done with that is the really important piece. In addition to running focus groups and regular pulse surveys, we’re actually understanding what things are important to them. It’s one thing to say, “hey we've got this new benefit, or we're implementing this,” but is that actually of value to the people that you're working with?”


Supporting your people by scaling up your EVP

Jon Bowker from Lycopodium has spent the last few years scaling up their EVP with the support of his leadership team. “Three years ago, we didn't offer much besides a paycheck and a job. So we’ve put in place a number of initiatives from L&D initiatives to leadership programs, benefits programs, Reward Gateway, engagement surveys, a formal performance management process that isn't on a Word document, and a regular continual feedback culture.” 

“All these kinds of things, it wasn't hard because it made sense, and it's just what people want, and the leadership team fortunately agreed. The sell for a lot of these initiatives, cost really doesn't come into play, interestingly. It's more about the benefit that it's going to bring as opposed to, what's the bottom line on our budget? So, again, a lot of these initiatives weren't in place, but we knew we had to put in a number of initiatives to keep people engaged.”

Incorporating employee financial wellbeing in your EVP to boost retention

Lee Stewart shared an amazing story of how they addressed rising turnover and listened to their people to support them where it matters most.2024_EVP_LAB_Melbourne_AU_18-min

“Being a not-for-profit, we are delivering a program and a service with other people's money. So we need to be really, financially aware and responsible with what we do with that money. Certainly, we were getting feedback that people were feeling the pinch on the cost of living. Our staff live in metro, regional and remote locations, so we’ve done a lot of work on salary reviews, benchmarking and identifying key positions and whether they’re competitive with the market.”

“We were noticing and the data was telling us that people in our current workforce were feeling the pinch. Also, when we were looking at our employee exit data, a really high percentage of exiting employees were saying that they would come back to the foundation. And that's a bit of a concern. People are leaving us, but they love working for us and they want to come back to us. And one of the indicators there was the salary. So we were looking at how can we give our people more, without necessarily being irresponsible with our funds?”

We did some research and found Reward Gateway and for a modest per head cost, the savings per person or per family were significant. And it was a way for us to do it in a responsible way, but also to demonstrate to our workforce that we hear your concerns and we empathise with them. 

Quick-fire takeaways from our Perth panel

To recap, let’s quickly run over some great insights from the Perth panellists: 

“K*I*S*S - Keep it simple stupid” - Lee Stewart

Let’s face it, the to-do list keeps getting longer, why over-complicate your approach to employee discounts and benefits? We offer a simple approach to help your employees with savings on everyday essentials and alleviate cost of living pressures with access to over 500 retailers across Australia and New Zealand.

“Change your approach to recognise service earlier to mirror average tenure” - Sascha Sanderson-Brown

Gone are the days you had to purchase and distribute gifts for service milestones - or any award in fact! Let technology do the heavy lifting for you automating service milestones and more at the touch of a button. Save hundreds of hours of HR administration time, giving time back to your teams to drive strategy.

“Managers get a bad rap - how do we help them cultivate connection” - Kylie Terrell

Give your leaders access to an always-on tool to reinforce progress and contribution and reward above and beyond behaviour. You set the guidelines, budget and rules and give your leaders the autonomy to just get on with. 

Quick-fire takeaways from our Melbourne panel

The following week we headed to Melbourne to hear insights and key takeaways from Claire Amore, Total Rewards Partner at Accenture; Hugh Bastiaan, Group COO at William Buck; and Peter Andreopoulos, Director - Talent Acquisition & Remuneration at La Trobe University.

Below, we’ve compiled some fantastic insights from our panellists:2024_EVP_LAB_Melbourne_AU_22-min

Understand what your people want

William Buck has an impressive 98.4% response rate on their annual employee surveys, and Hugh Bastiaan attributes this to the fact that they listen, take action and then showcase that action to their people. Each year, they focus on only a few key initiatives from the survey, making sure they land with maximum impact rather than trying to do much.

Package and promote your benefits

When it comes to benefits, La Trobe University has some fantastic ones. Peter Andreopoulos says the challenge is how they communicate those benefits with impact, so employees of the university can truly understand the impact of their total benefits package and what that means for their family.

Our research found that one third of Aussie employees don’t have a good knowledge of the benefits offered at work and nearly half don’t make use of all the benefits that are relevant to them.

This is something that Peter and the La Trobe team are consistently working on to elevate the perception and usage of the numerous benefits available to them.

Addressing expectations of a multigenerational workforce

Working in a large, global organisation like Accenture with thousands of employees makes it difficult to be agile and responsive to the varying needs of a multigenerational workforce.

Claire Amore attributes Accenture’s success to ensuring they have a total rewards package that responds to the needs of employees irrespective of life stage, offering things from estate planning to employee discounts to ensure that not only is there something for everyone but that it’s all housed in one system to reduce HR administration. 

Why invest in your Employee Value Proposition with Reward Gateway?

It was so empowering to see over 200 HR professionals across Perth and Melbourne really engage on the subject of EVP and why it’s so crucial.

To generate the best outcomes, we know we need the best people and here are just some of the stories we can share from over 700 Australian employers:

  • How to align your Employee Value Proposition with your employer brand
  • How to tick the employee discounts box to increase all employees’ disposable income
  • Where you can save time managing multiple programs manually and refocus on strategic priorities
  • Engagement strategies to enhance your ability to retain critical talent
  • Promotion and marketing of your EVP to help you promote your unique benefits as an employer in a competitive talent market

In need of EVP inspiration? Our friendly team is always happy to share stories and ideas, so get in touch today.

Check out our research into employee connection and belonging and the crucial role it plays in engagement, productivity and retention.

Discover why connection and belonging are business-critical priorities with  exclusive statistics and strategies. Read Report

Kylie Terrell

Kylie Terrell is our Australia Director of Consultancy and is RG’s resident advocate for employee recognition. She loves creating “wow” moments and looking for creative ways to make her coworkers and clients feel special.

Australia Director of Consultancy

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