An EVP with Purposeful Work at Its Core

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Time after time on the Employer Branding Podcast, the people we talk to bring up the importance of being the sort of organization your employees are proud to be a part of. In fact, a pre-pandemic LinkedIn survey found that 71% of professionals would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant working for a company that has a mission they believe in and share values with. Post-COVID, that number figures to rise as employees throughout the world reexamine their relationship to work.

For Catherine Adenle, Director of Global Employer Brand at Elsevier, purposeful work has become a centerpiece of their Employer Value Proposition (EVP). As they sifted through the data, talking to current employees about what they liked about working for Elsevier and looking at the Link Humans Employer Brand Index, the common theme that emerged was purposeful work.

Seeing Real-World Impact

As an information and analytics company that supports researchers, healthcare professionals, and improved healthcare outcomes for patients, employees at Elsevier see the effects of their work every day. “If you work for us, you can be guaranteed to do purposeful work,” Adenle says. “You do work that matters, you will be proud of how you are helping to save and change lives, and your work will have real-world impact.”

Depending on your industry, finding the meaning behind your business might require some reframing but it’s a key way to stand out in an increasingly competitive talent marketplace. We talk to a lot of people at a lot of different organizations on the podcast that each have their own unique approach to EVP. Some point to their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Others highlight work in their local communities or emphasize their commitment to employee mobility and career growth. No matter what, you need to find a way to show you stand behind what you say and help your employees see the impact of their efforts.

A Brand Ambassador Program on a Global Scale

Adenle’s team won 14 employer branding awards in 2021, so it’s clear that they’re doing something right. With offices located across the globe, catering to the needs of all of the different business units while keeping the messaging consistent and clear is no small task.

The biggest thing that has helped Adenle and her team is their brand ambassador program. She went to the heads of each business unit with a simple request: “Give us five people within your business unit that you know are enthusiastic and passionate about the purposeful work that we do.”

Adenle and her team took these people and gave them training in how to engage others, communications guidelines, and ways to use social media platforms to amplify and extend their reach. The results have paid big dividends, making it easy to personalize and localize their messaging across an organization that spans six continents and over 25 countries.

The Role of Leadership in Employer Branding

The challenge of effective Employer Branding is coordinating messaging across every part of your business to make sure that the things you’re saying about your company ring true to employees. For Adenle, their work on their EVP wouldn’t have been possible without support from the very top.

Elsevier’s CEO and entire leadership team were on board from the very start, and she and her team worked closely with the Talent Acquisition, HR, and Internal Communications units to make sure that their messaging is consistent across everything that they do. You know your business is serious about its EVP when it’s launched by the CEO herself.

Most importantly, leadership involvement was essential because it facilitated cooperation across all of the different business units needed to make the EVP a success. “You have to harness collaboration to accelerate employer brand breakthroughs within your organization,” Adenle says. “You can’t do it alone, you have to do it with everyone: marketing, sales, comms—everyone has to participate. Otherwise, you can’t get anywhere.”

At the end of the day, none of this messaging would be successful if the organization didn’t live the values reflected in their EVP. But at Elsevier, employees can see the impact they have on the world every day, and this purposeful work makes for a strong employer brand that attracts top-tier talent.

To follow Catherine Adenle’s work in employer brand, connect with her on Twitter. For help identifying the values and culture you want to create in your company, get in touch.


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.


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