For Bosch, implementing its global employee value proposition (EVP) in Africa posed a challenge. Paul Vermeij, Bosch's Vice President for HR in the African region, explains how they went about it.
Starting a Remarkable Career in Africa is easy as just clicking on the apply button, however with the influx of more multinational companies venturing into the African market, the choice for your employer of choice becomes slightly difficult. Bosch Africa entered into the African market riding on the wave of its global brand; but not enough of the talent market recognised us an employer, let alone an employer of choice.
Our global EVP has been successfully implemented into the European markets and yet the challenge was still there for our African markets. Dealing with 9 different countries that each have various target markets, was the beginning of the challenge of rolling out our global EVP.
Identifying the target markets within our regions was the first step in the process of rolling out our EVP; the next step was to find where to engage our talent then gage what our talent is looking for when deciding on an employer. Our main market lies within the technical experienced professionals and fresh graduates from all disciplines, which are all using a common recruiting platform to engage with potential employers. And that is where we needed to start our journey. The main aim of the Bosch Africa page on this platform was to create awareness that Bosch Africa is not just a company that offers its market products and services, but we are an employer as well. We are using the platform to tell our story and build our brand within our new market seeing a growth of over 16 000+ new users in the first year. We have also been successful since the launch of our page with our recruitment costs having gone down by 60% as the usage of recruitment agencies have decreased, there has been a substantial increase in the number of applications received for each job advert, with an average of over a 470 applicants per job advert, and the recognition of our brand has increased by 60%* from the interaction we receive from potential candidates (Data received from LinkedIn).
Tailoring our EVP to speak to the needs of our talent proved challenging as we tried using the one-size fits all approach. What the market in North Africa needs and wants is vastly different to that in the West African market. The next challenge was to assess what it is these markets wanted and needed from your employers. This took us on a journey with GCC on doing a study on what resonates the most within our regions, from skills development, work life balance and social responsibility.
We took the outcome of the study, what potential candidates are more concerned about when looking for an employer, and linked them to our core messages which form part of our EVP. These messages talk about life at Bosch and what resonates most with our organisation. The study really showed us that our perceptions of our respective markets was not in line with what was actually happening on the ground. This led us to better tailor our communication to our external markets and also re-educate our internal staff of what else our organisation offers. The difference between the markets was not as big as we initially thought, and there was one core message focussed on learning new skills, that echoed amongst all our 9 countries. And that is where we started building our Africa communication strategy to our external market.
Trying to implement in 9 countries at the same time, proved to be a mountain of a task; so we restructured our approach to start with our 3 big focus countries, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. These countries are the ones with the highest recruitment needs, so testing our EVP and its success on these countries makes absolute sense. In South Africa, redoing the template layout of advertisements to showcase the diversity in the organisation really hit it off with our internal and external market as the results of the study showed that working in diverse teams is something potential candidates are looking for. In Morocco we were able to tailor our communication in terms of our offerings to attract more candidates, as we spoke to their needs more than their wants.
We will be introducing a Bosch Africa Instagram page this year to support our EVP with regular updates and testimonials. End of last year we had the possibility to ‘take over’ the Bosch Global Instagram account for a limited time, which resulted in a huge amount of new followers and likes from the Africa region. This proved to us the value add of this medium in our EVP roll out.
The next steps are to relaunch and refocus our internal branding. We need to relook at our internal staff and speak a language they recognize, revitalise the brand as they are our biggest ambassadors that we have. Being a predominately service environment our staff interacts greatly with the external market, therefore we need to ensure that our internal branding is in sync with the external market.