It’s Time for Travel Brands to Get on Board With EVPs for a New Working Era

By Richard Barrett, MD, INITIALS CX

With a tenth of global GDP accounted for by the travel industry, and many major destinations claiming revenues have already outstripped pre-Covid levels since the pandemic began to fade, it’s clear the sector is taking off again after being grounded for several years.

The boom in travel, tourism and hospitality could soon turn to doom, however, if the industry isn’t able to fill tens of thousands of vacancies caused by redundancies and people’s reluctance to return to roles. At the height of the summer season in 2022, for instance, the UK alone had 130,000 vacancies in key positions.

If you work in HR or recruitment, it won’t have escaped your notice that candidate demands are changing. From hybrid work to higher-quality perks, potential employees are confidently setting out their personal requirements during the hiring process. Talent also has a tendency for temptation, with a growing trend for some to be snaffled by better offers even after they’ve accepted an original offer.

And there’s something else afoot. The pandemic caused a more specific shift in employee preferences and priorities, with many seeking work that aligns with their personal values. Today, nearly two-thirds of employees say the pandemic caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, while almost half have reconsidered the kind of work they do.

Employees now want a deeper connection with their organisations, where their personal brands authentically overlap with the organisation’s values. This is why many companies have invested in an Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Value exchange makes employer and employee go further

In addition to being a platform that sets out the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace, an EVP is integral to delivering a culture through the company’s values brought to life by everyday behaviours.

Just as when evaluating an externally facing service brand, an EVP needs to create, elevate and campaign a clear point of meaningful difference. A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate. It must be able to encourage discretionary effort and create an enduring sense of shared purpose and belonging.

The key to success lies in making sure the EVP goes the extra mile by actively incorporating it into every aspect of an organisation’s culture, operations and decision-making processes.

When physical proximity is no longer a given, an organisation’s values and beliefs must work harder to keep employees connected, motivated and engaged. This is where defining a clear and mutually beneficial value exchange can have an outsized impact on an EVP’s effectiveness.

Simply put, a value exchange is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company.

The possibilities here are seemingly limitless and could be customised to suit the needs and values of a specific organisation. The key idea to note is that a value exchange caters to all ages and demographics, because it recognises the importance of values and purpose in their lives.

Simplification is paramount to a successful EVP

To create a tailored and effective EVP, it’s crucial to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.

Companies should understand the importance of segmenting their workforce based on factors such as age, gender, geographical location and individual needs. This allows for a more personalised and targeted EVP that caters to the varying needs of employees, ultimately enhancing their engagement and commitment to the organization.

An ideal EVP development process involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches. While it is essential for the management and executive teams to have a clear vision and purpose, it’s equally important to engage with the workforce to understand their individual priorities and motivations. In a hybrid working environment, open communication is key to ensuring that the EVP resonates with employees and aligns with their values and expectations.

Moreover, as employee priorities shift towards seeking purpose-driven work, it’s crucial for businesses to ensure their EVPs reflect these changes. When employees perceive their organisation’s purpose as meaningful and connected to their personal values, they are more likely to be engaged, committed and willing to put in discretionary effort.

How travel brands are getting on board with EVP

Established travel brands and more recent market entrants alike are grasping the EVP opportunity with notable success.

Delta, for example, has been praised for its efforts in this area by Forbes while being named in the publication’s top 10 World’s Best Employers for 2022. The airline makes a point of aligning employee values and feedback with its own corporate purpose; implementing individuals’ insights about the business around them to ensure it remains people-centric.

Airbnb is another great example. The travel company – which has revolutionised how the world goes on vacation – ties its EVP to its core mission to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere”. The business is founded on four pillars that tie back to how it treats and motivates its employees – and also its customers – by emphasising caring, inclusivity, support and innovation.

As the world of work continues to evolve, travel organisations must adapt to meet the changing needs and priorities of employees. A successful EVP must not only be authentic and well-crafted, but it must also be brought to life within the organisation, actively permeating every aspect of its culture and operations.

By simplifying and clarifying the company’s values and fostering a strong value exchange, organisations can create a powerful and meaningful EVP that resonates with employees. Get it right, and organisations and their workforce can adapt together to the new era of work, and embark together on a journey towards brighter horizons.