Jupiter’s relationship with Beaverbrooks started with a bet. Specifically, a £10 bet between me and their Chief Exec (prior to her promotion to Managing Director in January this year) - the lovely Anna Blackburn.
You see, I was thinking about our upcoming focus groups, and how they’d very probably uncover some things about the employee culture that Beaverbrooks might be surprised by. Perhaps something that would upset their ideas of what their people thought about them as an employer. That’s just what happens when you focus group a company’s people.
Anna, however, was confident that we wouldn’t. She insisted that the positive culture of ‘enriching lives’ that they had developed was absolutely real and that I had a surprise coming if I expected to find any cracks in the proverbial façade. So I slapped £10 on the table and told her, ‘This is how confident I am.’
A month and many focus groups later, and we were back in the Board Room with the Beaverbrooks senior management team, where I had the pleasure of pulling that £10 back out of my purse and handing it to Anna, saying, ‘Well, you were right. Your people really do love working here. And it really is all about enriching lives.’
It was a lovely ‘I told you so!’ moment for Anna and Beaverbrooks as a whole. And much is revealed about the culture of the company by the fact that she immediately told me she could only accept the £10 as a donation to the Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust and that Beaverbrooks would match the donation. I should have expected nothing less.
In lots of ways, finding out that the company was everything it said it was made our job of developing an Employer Brand, here at Jupiter, much harder. Because, where our insights would normally dominate a company’s limited understanding of itself as an employer, here, the exact opposite was true. Beaverbrooks knew themselves so much better than we’d ever be able to. So rolling out their Employer Brand was, more than anything, an incredible learning curve that we’re still only just getting to the top of almost a year down the line.
It’s been a true partnership, where we’ve developed the tone of voice and messaging very much in conjunction with the business, guiding each other along the way (us on, say, what makes a strong headline; Beaverbrooks on the content of the messaging). And it’s been quite a humbling exercise for me and for Jupiter, overall. Usually, we’re so confident going in that ‘we’re the experts’ and, of course, we still are. We know the employer marketing landscape better than most, being that we’ve been in it for over 25 years. Yet, this particular experience with Beaverbrooks has taught us a valuable lesson: some companies already really know how to treat their people.
Impressive stuff, Beaverbrooks. And I speak on behalf of my entire team when I say how proud we are to be working with you.