Baxter International is a 90-year-old multinational healthcare organization with 60,000 employees, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. You’ve probably used a Baxter product at some point in your life, even if you didn’t realize it, especially if you’ve ever had an IV. However, they hadn’t exactly been aware of or in the process of developing an employer brand or an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) until 2020, when Allison Kruse was brought in as the Head of Global Employer Brand.
We had a chance to sit down with Kruse on the Employer Brand Podcast to talk about how Baxter discovered their EVP and created a messaging framework and creative expression of their employer brand.
Baxter isn’t a household name, Kruse says. Unless you’re in healthcare, you know someone who works there, you live near their facilities, or you’ve seen it on a truck, you’ve probably never heard of them before. In order to be competitive in the talent marketplace, they needed to do some work to discover what their EVP was all about and how to pitch that to candidates.
The first step was talking to current employees. What they found was that most folks came back to the idea that their work contributes to the greater good. In shaping their EVP, Baxter realized it needed to be contextualizing why their work is important to the world. As Kruse says, “It’s really tying your individual talent to the bigger picture which, in Baxter’s case, is to improve healthcare outcomes for people around the world and to literally save and sustain lives.”
“Your employer brand should give someone a realistic view of the employee experience so they can not only opt in but opt out. It might not be for them, and I would want somebody to know that before they get deep into the application process,” Kruse says. Baxter partnered with a firm to do research and then refine messaging around their EVP, eventually crafting four pillars to describe what they’re looking for and what they value:
As a large multinational, articulating all these different facets of the EVP allows Baxter to emphasize different aspects depending on what kinds of roles they’re looking to fill.
“If you’re in Quality, for example, you need to make sure that something is fitting a certain set of standards, so you can’t really veer off into the left field,” Kruse says, “so ‘Entrepreneurship succeeds’ might not resonate as much with that job family as other pillars might.”
Articulating your EVP is only half of the battle. You need to activate it and take people with you on that journey, and Kruse has a helpful framework for what that looks like:
Each stakeholder group is going to have a different comfort level with employer brand and need different things from it, so “fill the minds” is all about understanding their individual pain points and perspectives so you can help find an approach that works for them. Then you “equip the hands” with what they need to do that, whether it’s templates, technology, or suggested content that will help them activate the brand on their own.
Finally, “win the hearts” is about showing and not just telling. It’s one thing to say that you’re diverse and inclusive, but how can you show that through storytelling? Or what data do you have about changes you’ve made in your communications that had a positive impact on response rate?
The proof is in the pudding, and Kruse is happy to report that when Baxter launched their EVP in January 2021, the response was overwhelmingly positive. It was like they finally articulated something that everyone working at Baxter already knew but didn’t know how to say. For a 90-year-old company, developing and activating its EVP has yielded tremendous results.
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