The Gatehouse Blog

‘Opportunity, excellence, and belonging’ at AMEC

AMEC plc is a global consultancy, engineering and project management company, operating across Oil & Gas, Mining, Clean Energy and Environment & Infrastructure markets in over 40 countries. Tereza Urbankova, Internal Communications Manager, discusses the ‘employer brand’ communications campaign and explains how it is changing the way that the company is engaging with its people.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

The EVP (or employer brand) project originated as part of a training program called ‘Manager Advance’, offered by AMEC Academy, our development platform which provides all development programs for staff worldwide. This program is very useful because it basically puts together a small group of people from different countries, different sectors, with different knowledge and skills and gives them a project that takes them out of their comfort zone. The objective was to identify what AMEC’s EVP is, articulate it, test it and roll it out in the organisation.

The group did quite a lot of external research first, looking at how our competitors and other companies manage their EVP, if at all. They also conducted an internal research throughout AMEC, approaching various business units, as well as diverse geographies.

Throughout the process they were trying to identify what AMEC stands for and represents externally, and what our people think that AMEC is like as an employer. This research piece took around six months; it was a deliberately thorough process.

Then they narrowed their findings into what resembled a temple with three ‘pillars’ – a typically ‘engineering’ concept! Those three pillars were called opportunity, excellence, and belonging. Once the concept and research section was completed, the group presented the EVP to the senior management team and it was approved.

The corporate communications team has been providing support to the group since the start and after the senior management approval, we got involved much more actively in testing, roll out and implementation phases.

Three guiding principles

EVP is an employee promise; it’s a deal between an employer and an employee which revolves around expectations. This can work only when both parties are fully engaged.

‘Opportunity’ means AMEC provides development opportunities to its people, be it through the AMEC Academy or through work on challenging projects or working for prestigious clients, for example. At the same time, people must want to grab opportunities and use them to grow within the organisation.

‘Excellence’ was delicate to manage since it very much overlaps with opportunity; you want people to excel and deliver excellence (one of the core AMEC values), so this was about AMEC providing the environment for its employees to excel in. And that could even include development opportunities, for example.

‘Belonging’ is about people wanting to be respected, recognised, rewarded and valued and AMEC expecting its employees to be loyal and going the extra mile. It’s very subjective sometimes as it also depends on what makes people feel they belong.

From EVP to Why AMEC

We conducted focus groups across all parts of the world to identify if these three elements resonate with our people globally, which took several weeks. We changed EVP to ‘Why AMEC’ which was much more accurate for us, and which our engineers could identify with. The ‘pillars’ changed to ‘reasons’, i.e. why people join AMEC and why they stay. These focus groups revealed some more findings; we used them to refine the Why AMEC terminology.

Eventually, we came to a point where we thought we had a final product. By this point, the Group Senior Vice President for HR was driving the project, as one of the strategic recruitment initiatives. We felt we had something really good, really meaningful. Something that resonated with our people, but there was another challenging task ahead of us: embedding it into the organisation.

We had the senior management support already but we needed support from bottom up. Through an internal campaign we ‘hired’ over hundred engagement champions, all of whom are volunteers, helping us roll out individual Why AMEC reasons. We changed the graphics of the campaign to make it more dynamic and we also linked the individual words – opportunity, excellence, and belonging – to our strategy for growth which we call ‘2015 and beyond’ and which is all about collaborating, improving, growing, and therefore achieving. We consciously linked the three individual elements to that strategy, in order to give it credibility and make sure that people understand how they contribute to the company’s overall strategy when they implement Why AMEC. We started communicating this initiative as ‘change for growth’, which again, made it more meaningful to our employees.

An ongoing process of delivery

We then kicked off the roll out campaign. We divided Why AMEC into parts, with one reason launched in each quarter. However, the previous quarter’s learning was not shelved; we always try to maintain a holistic view of the campaign in order for it to remain relevant. In the process of roll out, the entire Why AMEC team (now comprising of the original team, a couple of engagement champions who wanted to get more involved in the project, HR and Communications) has been supporting our engagement champions driving it.

As with all internal communications, we knew that measurement would be crucial to the whole process. We conducted pulse surveys from the beginning that focused on capturing the engagement index scores as well as feedback on individual reasons and on the overall campaign. We never stop measuring the engagement and feedback part of the campaign, as this gives us validity. We were pleased to see Why AMEC winning a UK’s ‘cHeRies’ Finders Keepers Recruitment and Retention Award for excellence in HR, Training and Recruitment in 2014 as the campaign has helped us in the recruitment of over 4,200 people into our Brownfield and Asset Management operating units; whilst reducing onshore voluntary staff turnover by 6% in 2013.

We are still driving the Why AMEC campaign within the business with the help of our champions. We promote their success stories about how they embedded Why AMEC and what tools they used. This inspires people in other parts of the business and they can see it works. We also promote the initiative through the regular CEO blogs, the Intranet and through Yammer internally. Externally, it has also been included on our corporate website and LinkedIn profile under the career sections which shows how it is viewed as a tangible element that is part of our Group drive for ‘2015 and beyond’.

BIOGRAPHY – TEREZA URBANKOVA

Tereza Urbankova is a PR, communications and marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience in industries such as hospitality, retail, IT, defence, broadcast, logistics and engineering. As well as managing internal communications at AMEC plc, Tereza works as a freelance communications and PR consultant. She speaks Czech, English, Spanish and Russian. tereza.urbankova@amec.com  LinkedIn profile