India is the third-largest startup hub in the world, posting a record $227 billion in revenue in 2022, according to Mint. Rapid growth is, as always, accompanied by a highly competitive market for talent, which means that good employer branding and a clear EVP (Employer Value Proposition) are crucial.
We were able to catch up with Malliga Rajkumar on a recent episode of The Employer Branding Podcast to find out how she articulated and activated an effective EVP in such a fast-paced environment. Rajkumar is the Senior Director of HR and Talent Branding Lead at Flipkart, a Bangalore tech company that is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in India.
Flipkart began as a startup 15 years ago with a team of 200 in a small office in Bangalore, but since then they’ve grown into a 30,000-strong organization that serves 150 million customers across all of India. They’re known as “the startup of startups,” with alums going on to found their successful tech enterprises. However, even as a large organization, the startup ethos of risk and innovation is near and dear to their heart.
Growth in the tech sector has led to more competition for key talent, and Rajkumar and her team were soon tasked with building and implementing an employer branding strategy to ensure Flipkart could compete. For Rajkumar, that meant asking two simple questions: “What is it about our culture that we want to absolutely retain and rebuild where it may have atrophied? And what are the elements that we want to add on?”
“The journey to arrive at our EVP was months of extensive primary and secondary research,” Rajkumar says. They interviewed people at all levels within Flipkart, spoke to headhunters, and did market benchmarking with accredited organizations like the Great Place to Work Institute and Mercer.
In the end, Rajkumar and her team had, on the one hand, a list of all the things Flipkart wanted to be known for, and on the other hand, a list of the things talent cares about. The trick was to find a balance between those two to stake out an EVP that encapsulated what Flipkart stands for that would also appeal to the talent they wanted to attract.
They settled on a simple EVP that stitched together all of the concepts they wanted to include in one phrase: together, we dare to maximize. Together, speaking to everything they hope to foster in terms of community and collaboration. Dare, representing their startup heart by celebrating audacity and breaking boundaries. And maximize, for their ambition to be the best they possibly can be and continuously improve.
Articulating an EVP is only half the battle; Rajkumar and her team still needed to activate it for both employees and candidates. “Together we dare to maximize” is displayed in every Flipkart office. Still, more importantly, that concept and the four pillars that support it are woven into all internal communications, awards, employee forums, and events throughout the year.
They also measure its resonance each year in their annual employee engagement survey. A team of over 250 employee advocates helps get the word out and shares an honest look at what life at Flipkart is like.
Flipkart sees its EVP as aspirational, and they want to ensure that they live up to its promise. Therefore, they used their mission statement to build a 3-year maturity model that articulates the intent of every process, its design, its experience of it, and how it’s measured. The goal is to look at everything they do and take the time to incrementally align it with their EVP.
As always, measuring the impact of employer brand is a crucial step when it comes time to demonstrate value to key stakeholders within the organization. They look at their engagement stats compared to a benchmark list of other companies to judge how they’re doing and where they need to improve. They also have specific metrics for individual campaigns and regularly conduct internal surveys that touch on employer brand themes to gauge awareness within the organization.
“Employer brand is not about who you are today; it’s about who you aspire to be,” Rajkumar says. Just as much as it captures where you are now, a good EVP should raise the bar for what your organization can become. Good employer branding is an opportunity for your organization to improve and live its values, and top talent will follow.
Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.