Paul Norman gives exclusive insight into MTN’s new employee value proposition

MTN’s Paul Norman says Live Inspired is a call to embrace the new normal with top talent.

MTN recently launched its new employee value proposition (EVP), ‘Live Inspired.’

Paul Norman, group chief human resources officer at MTN Group and 2020 CHRO of the Year award recipient, says like a lot of the companies around the world MTN has experienced a major shift in the way people engage, connect and work. “With all these changes,  we thought it was an opportune time to rethink this EVP for MTN. We felt that ‘Live inspired’ was the most fitting for this new environment,” he says.

Globalisation, technological disruption and multi-generational workforce dynamics were some of the factors the organisation considered when it was in the process of fleshing out the EVP. “We crafted it with a clear focus on the future and with the intention that it inspires people to think differently about tomorrow. I think the essence of our EVP has found greater relevance over the last year, given the upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic and all the changes the crisis triggered,” says Paul

A four-pronged approach

The EVP consists of four pillars, the first of which is Work with Meaning, which Paul says “refers to approaching your work as more than just a job; turning your career into something that has an impact at work and changes the way we see work”.  This element’s purpose is to change the way people see work and create more empowerment so that the potential of all people can be unleashed and make it possible for everybody to bring their best to work every day.

Paul further contextualises it by explaining that, “We want to make an impact throughout Africa, and are driven by the belief that everyone deserves to live a modern, connected, purpose-driven life.”

The second pillar, Connect to Develop, is premised on the belief that being connected is the essence of human progress and development. “Being human is a need to be connected. That connection helps us develop as humanity. As a company, what we do is connect people to common goals, common outcomes and shared effort and success, all anchored in how we lead authentically in the organisation,” says Paul.

Thrive in Positivity is the third pillar, where the focus is on creating an inspiring environment. In the era of Work from Home, it has become clear that there are multiple facets to people’s lives that are beyond what we see at work. “This pillar in many ways, is powered by a genuine sense of inclusion,” says Paul. “It amplifies taking a more balanced view to work, respecting the diversity we have, and helping employees be the most productive self they can be.”

The final Pillar, Grow with Purpose, is rooted in the belief that real growth is inspired by a purpose that advances the individual, company and society as a whole. “Here we look for opportunities for individuals to explore more innovative aspirations, where they can acquire future skills and meaningfully use those to impact the communities that we serve.”

Powering the future through people

Live Inspired has evolved from previous EVPs.It’s part of MTN’s bigger “Ambition 2025” strategy and was crafted to drive the journey forward. 

The group plans to structurally separate its infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to reveal value and attract third-party capital and partnerships into these businesses, as the business needs to evolve its talent, skills and capabilities. According to Paul, this means repositioning and attracting new skills, and it also means having a much more agile, decentralized, empowered culture.

“We need to introduce different configurations within the organisation, so when you think about Work with Meaning, it means we need to empower people, so they can work with and through people in an agile way. When we say Thrive in Positivity, this is about how we create an aspirational environment that people want to be a part of, but it respects their diversity.”

The EVP was front-ended by HR. “As a team, we set out to understand what our people thought and felt,” says Paul. “We did a lot of listening through lots of employee surveys, conversations and multiple feedback loops. We also took a deep dive into analytics, which gave us direction and strategic view. We then synthesised the responses into something actionable and are now at the stage of embedding the elements throughout the organisation.” Says Paul

Making it real

Paul contends that as modes of delivery in the workplace have changed and shifted, and people need to operate differently too. A recent example of bringing the Connect to Develop element into play was the launch of the EVP. It was a virtual event, and bringing it together required the collaboration of over 200 people in multiple countries and across various functions.

“For us at MTN, ‘Live Inspired’ is not merely a statement, it is a promise that we as a leadership team and company make to our people, and an offer for them to embrace and aspire to live,” says Paul.