TST recently hopped on a train to Wales to host a somewhat unusual breakout session at the ISE Recruitment Conference. As one of the highest-attended sessions, we thought we’d share some of the themes we explored in our Development Experiment: Why everyone should have a DVP, how you can use it, and the impact it can have on your business.

What is a Development Value Proposition (DVP)?

The identification and clear articulation of what makes your development offering unique.

It’s a blueprint tool to strengthen the experience across L&D and recruitment, establishing what you offer and what talent can expect when joining you.

During the session, attendees experienced four key learning labs. Here’s a snapshot!

1. The DVP Lab

What can spaghetti sauce teach us about the importance of a DVP?

In 1986, Campbell’s Soup implored psychophysicist Howard Moskowitz to help their Prego spaghetti sauce range compete with the dominant force at the time, Ragu. Through much research and consumer testing, Moskowitz made a new discovery: people’s sauce preferences fell into three distinct groups: plain, spicy or chunky. This led to a huge breakthrough in the food industry and chunky sauce alone made Prego $600 million dollars over the next ten years.

Malcolm Gladwell’s TED talk about Moskowitz shows us that his refusal to believe in a ‘perfect product’ is a lesson for any industry, including the talent space.

In much the same way, TST’s DVP creation for a leading investment bank led to them winning the HR Strategic Alignment Award in 2017. Once you understand the mix of ingredients that makes your DVP unique, only then can you create your own special sauce. Spicy!

Three takeaways

1. People are naturally indecisive and don’t know what they want until it’s in front of them
2. There is no such thing as a perfect spaghetti sauce that caters for everyone – everyone is different (some people even like that one with mini sausages in it)
3. Specialise in less, and focus on what makes you unique

(Facilitator – Rohan Amin, Growth & Innovation Executive)

2. Dear Future Employer…

What could Christmas wish-lists possibly teach us about early talent?

What was top of your ‘Dear Santa’ wish-list at Christmas when you were a kid? For Charlotte Crowe, our Head of L&D, it was a Buzz Lightyear (sadly she got a cabbage patch doll instead).

While they may not be writing to Santa, graduates have their own wish-lists in terms of what they look for in an employer. According to a recent EY Graduate Survey, 34% of graduates now put ‘training and development opportunities’ at the top of their first job wish-list. So it’s more important than ever to work with L&D colleagues to design bespoke offerings that respond to what graduates are looking for. Get those elves working!

Three takeaways

1. When it comes to recruitment, your DVP should be front and centre of your EVP
2. It’s not just a case of offering training and development, but the kind of development opportunities on offer
3. If graduates have got a Buzz Lightyear at the top of their wish-list, try not to give them a cabbage patch doll instead!

(Facilitator – Charlotte Crowe, Head of L&D)

3. The Story Lab

When was the last time you watched an advert that made you smile?

You most likely smiled because the advert told you a story. Stories have a powerful impact on our brains. But why is that? And how you can use stories to create impact in your recruitment strategy?

Stories light up more parts of our brain than simple facts, and they help things stick. In a recruitment strategy this can be very powerful in creating more impactful connections with your brand and activating people to apply. Imagine a leaflet at a career fair containing a bulleted list of development opportunities they’ll experience with you: for example, ‘we pay for your qualification exams’ – an appealing offer to graduates, but presented in a dry list, it might not feel that impactful, or stay with us for that long. Now imagine a leaflet that uses stories from real people in your organisation who have done those same exams, and even learnt from failure along the way. It’s an opportunity to challenge any misconceptions of your brand and demonstrate that people who work for you are real and relatable. You might even make them smile!

Three questions to ponder…

1. How are you creating environments for your people to share stories?
2. Are your stories showcasing the uniqueness of your DVP in the market?
3. How are you telling these stories?

(Facilitator – Colette Weston, Experiences & Events Manager)

4. The Attraction to Action Lab

How could a DVP help you stand out in a crowded and competitive market?

Imagine an attraction campaign that connects your DVP, the components of your attraction campaign and real people within your organisation. Triple threat!

Keeping these components separate is a common pitfall that we see. If you are able to build bridges between these three crucial areas, it can allow your campaign to lead with the values and behaviours aligned to your organisation. It’s a bold approach that will signpost clearly what candidates can expect, and will ensure that candidates at later stages not only fit the criteria, but have a far better understanding of what is being offered to them. How are you going to communicate this to them? Making them experience what it’s like to be part of your organisation – not just read about it – is invaluable. As long as it’s memorable, it could be face to face or even digitally!

Three questions to ponder…

1. How do your experiences bring your DVP to life?
2. If you were to ask a candidate what development they would expect from joining you, how would they answer?
3. How can you create more memorable experiences with your DVP?

(Facilitator – Hawa Mansaray, Experiences & Events Executive)

For more information on the DVP and how we can help support you, please get in touch with Rohan at rohan.amin@thesmartytrain.com.

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