Case study.

Improving the Cornerstone Employee Value PropositionFollowing our Reward Gateway award for the best Employee Value Proposition (EVP) strategy 2022, we want to share with you our case study on the challenges we faced, the approach we took and the results of our actions.

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The challenge

In 2021 Cornerstone, like many companies, was facing up to a world starting to readjust in the wake of COVID and changing dynamics in the workplace. For us, this meant dealing with an annual turnover of 12%, an average time to hire of 60 days and employee engagement at 70%.

Research from the current state of the UK economy meant we needed to build further upon our existing EVP of financial and well-being offerings alongside our other benefits such as Private Medical Insurance, Employee Assistance Programme, and 30 days annual leave. We needed to deliver a more meaningful offering to improve our engagement score and to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

We set ourselves the target to within a year reduce our turnover by 35%, our average time to hire by 10% and increase our engagement score by 5%.

The approach

We began by understanding the key drivers for our turnover through exit survey analysis which identified the leading cause as base salary. This came as no surprise given the buoyancy in recruitment and the market being candidate driven, with bidding wars not uncommon between employers.

  • Traditionally our Board would approve annual salary increases aligned to RPI, which at the time was around 3%. We knew that with the cost of living and NI tax rise this increase was not enough. Therefore, we invested our energy in creating a proposal demonstrating the need to increase the percentage to 6% and deliver a universal pay increase for all our eligible employees. Through extensive market research and intelligence, we were able to convince our Board of Directors this was the right thing to do.
  • We also amended our Short-Term Incentive programme (STIP), which previously saw two employee levels receive the same STIP incentive, regardless of the greater expectation of strategic and managerial output from the senior level. We delivered a proposal that increased the percentage awarded to this level by 2.5%. This allowed us to positively message their value as employees and recognise the additional expertise and strategic skill they bring to our organisation.
  • In addition, we offered all employees the option to salary sacrifice their STIP benefit into their pension before tax which enabled them to pay reduced personal tax and NI contributions and retain more of their money within their pension pot.

Beyond financial

  • We created a brand-new Family Policy to become more inclusive: enhancing parental leave and providing meaningful support in new ways for more challenging life events such as IVF, menopause, and domestic abuse. We also give time off for a child’s first day at school.
  • We adapted our Learning & Development strategy to become more accessible to all and to focus on strengthening the core of our organisation rather than targeting our senior leaders. Cornerstone achieved this through opening our key partnerships with organisations such as Henley Business School to our whole business. We trained three employees to become qualified coaches, who now offer a free coaching service to all employees covering both personal and workplace conversations.
  • We redeveloped and relaunched our internal recognition programme to become more accessible to all our employees.
  • We updated our working conditions and shifted to a hybrid working model, opening our office three days a week. For those who attended the office, we continued to provide complimentary cold canned drinks, a free selection of teas, bean to cup coffee, bottled water, and fruit baskets, as well as introducing breakfast pastries and cakes.

The outcome

The review of our EVP and subsequent communication activity has resulted in:

  • Our turnover has decreased by 50% between 2021 to 2022 - a great start, and whilst it is tracking ahead of our target, we will continue to monitor and aim to reduce over the coming FY
  • Our Average Time to hire has decreased by 25%, which we attribute to the work we have done in the marketplace, with our agencies and our internal employees in driving our EVP message through word of mouth and LinkedIn campaigns.
  • Our greatest Engagement Score as an organisation. Not only that, it is also 6% higher than the 2022 Telecommunications Engagement benchmark and is something we are immensely proud of
  • The increase in our STIP award contributed to a huge engagement leap of 25%, rising from 66% to 82%
  • The usage of our L&D offering has increased by 100%, demonstrating that our adapted strategy has been successful in reaching a wider population of our organisation. We could not be happier seeing our employees making use of this great resource.
  • The usage of our recognition programme Valuing You has increased by 1277% and the traffic to our recognition platform has increased by 16%, reflecting increased employee engagement.

We could not be prouder of the enormous efforts that have gone into improving our EVP, and we truly believe we have a standout offering in the marketplace.

We continue to actively look for new ways to expand and broaden our employee offering to engage, support and encourage togetherness and community as well as personal well-being.

Year on year, our challenge is to continuously improve our EVP and demonstrate that people are our greatest asset.