S4 EP26: EVP authenticity, recruitment standards and wildcard candidates – with Faye Kennedy, Head of Talent Acquisition, Markel International

“It’s difficult to launch an EVP. It’s something that has to be felt and experienced through those employee lifecycle touch points”, says Faye.

“If you come back and say, ‘this is us now, this is what we are’, it’s not going to land well if it differs from what you are currently. Authenticity is key but also to factor in an aspirational component.”

Faye shares how she fell in to the insurance industry with a claims role at Aon over the option of going to university through to her current position as Head of Talent Acquisition at Markel International.

Operating out of the UK, she discusses building a talent acquisition team across Markel International’s hubs in Europe, Asia and Canada.

Faye emphasizes her passion for creating a strong culture and shares the journey Markel went on with an external agency to review both its brand and EVP.  

“The most obvious thing that kept coming out was that we are a people orientated organisation with a really strong culture. A lot of that is testament to something that was created by a former chairman back in 1986 before we went public.  What was important for us when going through this process and developing an employee value proposition was to ensure that anything that came out of that was derived from the Markel style.”

She highlights the Markel culture, what it means across the organisation and the role it plays in attracting the best talent.

“Unless you can effectively communicate who you are as an organisation, what you stand for, what your culture looks like, it’s very difficult to attract and retain talent.”

Faye explains the impact that digital and social media channels have on the presentation of the EVP.

“When you’re thinking about ways that you present yourself in a digital format, you have to come up with a more creative and succinct way of presenting yourselves. We came up with the EVP, which is ‘Play your part in something special’. That’s the tagline. It’s then supported by a narrative, that brings it to life.”

Faye discusses how HR and People leaders can attract the best talent to their organisations and the importance of selecting an external search partner with aligned values.

She highlights the age and gender neutralizing technology Markel are using to underpin recruitment.  

“All of our job descriptions and job adverts are run through that technology. It assesses the language and highlights key words that could be construed as discriminating from an age or gender perspective.”

Faye showcases the work Markel have done around recruitment standards.

“We wanted to develop an interactive document that hiring managers could dip in and out of. It outlines best practice and is  written through a diversity and inclusion lens. It covers things like creating inclusive job descriptions, legislation wherever you are in any of our global spaces, talent attraction methods and the importance of shortlisting against a predetermined set of criteria.”

Faye concludes by highlighting how wildcard candidates are supporting DEI. 

“You present as many CVs that match 100% of the hiring manager’s requirements. But also one that only matches 75%, an individual that comes from a different educational background or a different industry, someone they wouldn’t necessarily have looked at. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to employ that individual, but what it does is create and encourage diversity of thought.”

Connect with Faye Kennedy on LinkedIn or find out more about Markel International

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO, Insurance Search, the Executive Search Consultancy for growing Insurance and Insurtech businesses around the globe.

To discuss identifying & attracting the very best talent to your team or being a podcast guest, reach out to Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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