CHRO Community Conversation hears about the importance of a unique EVP

Employer Branding Africa’s Celeste Sirin revealed why your EVP has become critical for talent management.

In this week’s CHRO SA Community Conversation, sponsored by Workday, Celeste Sirin, Employer Branding Africa MD, took an in-depth look at the importance of employer branding, with specific focus on the employee value proposition (EVP).

With the coronavirus pandemic entering its second year, companies are moving from crisis mode to crafting a post-Covid-19 people strategy to maintain their employer brand.

Celeste said, “The shift to remote working has put a lot of strain on leaders and key people officers. Central to this is the employee; employee centricity, employee engagement and the employee experience.”

In addition to leadership style, there are six other factors that continue to be of importance to both employers and employees, according to Celeste. These are communication, employee safety (both financial and mental support and wellbeing), diversity, reskilling, career development, and big data.

“Softer issues that were often overlooked have come to the fore. This includes communicating with empathy and fairness within the workplace. I have seen a lot of organisations implementing leadership training for this,” she explained.

Survival skills

Citing recent research from the Mercer 2021 Global Talent Trends Study, Celeste noted that employees are dealing with high stress levels and anxiety issues.

“About 60 percent of the companies surveyed indicated that they are making a concerted effort to reskill, upskill or cross-train the workforce to work more competently in the virtual space, assist with time management, engagement and communication. These are the soft skills needed to survive in a hybrid and at-home working environment,” she highlighted.

The work-from-home environment has also resulted in people embracing diversity and inclusion in a positive light.

“We can now look at this as creating opportunities. For example, accommodating women and disabled individuals working from home,” Celeste pointed out.

Lameez Subaya, financial services and insurance lead at Workday, noted these aspects from both the employee and employer perspectives.                                                                                          

“Speaking from an employee perspective, Workday has provided support during the pandemic in terms of financial, time flexibility and even apps for mental wellbeing. They have really listened to employees. I have friends who work at other companies and it has been scary to hear how their organisations have dealt with the situation, so they are looking for new jobs.”

She added, “From an employer perspective, customers locally and globally are looking at diversity and inclusion, the hybrid workforce, fostering communication and creating employee experiences as some of the key themes around EVP. They are focusing on making their EVP as unique as possible. Happy employees equal happy customers.”


Celeste predicted that the career development and human connection remain critical EVP pillars for an employer brand.

“Career pathing and mobilising internal talent pools continue to be a necessity. Employers have to be human-centric with employees,” she said.

Rajes Pillay, Discovery’s head of talent acquisition and brand expressed her agreement with the information.

“We have a strong brand in the marketplace and we work on bringing our EVP to life through employee advocacy. We need to give them a voice in bringing the internal EVP alive to strengthen the external proposition. This has to happen authentically and evolve if needed,” she said.

Dieter Veldsman, acting group human capital executive at Momentum Metropolitan, also resonated with points made during the CHRO Community Conversation.

“There are a few considerations when evaluating the relevance of your EVP. The first is viewing the employee as a consumer, understand what their needs are, and ultimately would they buy your product if they had a choice. Secondly, the approach towards the contingent workforce. With a higher percentage of gig or contract workers, what is the boundary with traditional employment in terms of benefits and employee experiences. Thirdly, the future workplace strategy is going to determine the EVP selling point, the role of flexibility, and remote, hybrid or in-office workplaces. This will require thought around what employee benefits fall away and what’s added,” he said.

Dieter added, “I’d like to think that there are various levels of maturity related to the EVP. There’s the basic, hygiene factors that any responsible employer should provide. Once that’s sorted out, we have to provide an authentic experience of what we stand for as a company. Lastly, there has to be key differentiators or unique experiences that sets you apart from others.”

This was underpinned by Celeste’s parting advice to HR leaders: treat the EVP as an evolving living organism, that supports a contingent workforce of gig workers, freelancers, contractors and employees all while embedding and communicating values, culture and behaviours.