Career development opportunities
While there will always be a demand for external talent, Hough is now turning part of his focus towards leveraging internal talent. “We’re mostly reliant on our people seeing internal vacancies and applying for them, so we’re looking at how we can better facilitate cross-skilling and horizontal moves within the business and building and linking internal talent teams,” he says.
When it comes to external hires, Hough emphasises the importance of making sure potential candidates understand the available progression opportunities and using this to inform the employer branding process.
“Everyone knows a successful approach to a candidate is not just the pitch of the role in question, it’s what that individual could become,” he says.
While creating an attractive employer brand proposition for potential candidates is fundamental for Hough, he acknowledges the need to ensure you follow through on your employer brand message. And he believes this all comes down to behaviours and values. “Our values and behaviours are prevalent throughout our recruitment, assessment
and performance management processes and used in the communications language across the business – it’s consistent. People have got to feel the culture right from the word go. I couldn’t be an ambassador for LV= if I didn’t think it was a great place to work,” he adds.
It is clear that Hough is extremely proud of the LV= culture, which he admits is hard to articulate but is fundamentally based on attitude. “We want people who are forward thinking, hard working and understand the right way to engage and get things done. “It’s not about bums on seats, and I’m clear about that,” he says. “We’d rather have empty seats than the wrong people.”
To that end, Hough reveals that his central recruitment team plays a key role in taking the time to understand
what line managers are looking for. “We work really closely with the business and line managers. You can’t understand the business challenge if you’re getting it third hand,” he says. “I believe we have a seat at the table, but you have to work hard constantly to make sure you understand what the business needs.”
For example, to give its customer service reps a better lifestyle, LV= has worked hard to improve its shift patterns for full and part-time workers.
Hough explains: “The business wanted us to help develop their part-time strategy in our Huddersfield office. We did some research to understand what local people were interested in [in terms of the proposition, e.g. hours and salary expectations]; especially from a part-time perspective. We used this research to identify our part-time target market; predominantly students, working mums, and retirees.
“It was from this that we developed our new part-time proposition. This was so successful when piloted in our Huddersfield office, and this was then rolled out at other core locations. It means that, when considering shift patterns, we don’t make fundamental mistakes of start times that may conflict with bad traffic/childcare arrangements, for example.”
For Hough, this approach has been “transformational” in helping to improve employees’ quality of life and how the business operates. “As technology improves we know that people expect to work in a different way, in different working environments, potentially with split shifts etc. and we will need to think about what people want, how we use office, our space, and so on – then take it from there.”