How Our EVP Has Guided Us Through The Crisis

We initially created our employee value statement to recruit new talent—but when the crisis hit, it quickly became the glue that held us together.

In 2019, I tasked our marketing and human resources teams with the creation an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that, at the time, I thought would mostly help WCCO Belting recruit new employees. Yet, with everything going on in the world right now, our EVP turned out to be the North Star that guided us through the uncertainties and communication around the Covid-19 crisis.

For an EVP to be impactful, it must be authentic. We had to accurately reflect what our employees value about working at WCCO Belting, so we sought feedback using a few different methods including digital live polling (which was effective in reaching employees that don’t have a company email address) and email surveys. Here are the key takeaways they shared with us:

• Employees are engaged at work because of the people they work with.

• Employees value that WCCO is a family-oriented business that promotes teamwork and drives improvement.

• To be successful at WCCO, you need a good work ethic, positivity, compassion and a willingness to learn and change.

• WCCO promotes work-life balance and offers schedules that help attract and retain employees.

After analyzing the output and through several discussions on the feedback we received, our EVP slogan became, “Loving where you work begins with the people you work with.” We are a family-owned business, but we are also a business that’s a family. In our 65th year of business at the time, it was important to us to capture the importance that good people remain the heart of our WCCO Belting and are the lifeblood of our company’s success.

During this difficult and uncertain time, our new EVP has, to my pleasant surprise, quickly solidified itself as our rallying cry. It constantly reminds our team that we’re all making sacrifices to protect one another’s lives and livelihoods as well as our ability to serve customers in essential industries, including our farmers. Those who can are working from home to reduce the risk of exposure to their team members who must be on the production floor to do their jobs. For the team members on the production floor, they have vigilantly followed new safety measures to reduce the risk of a spread.

The EVP has also helped tie our internal communications together related to how we are a people-first employer and a safety-first manufacturer—both critical messages to be communicating during this crisis. By including wording from WCCO Belting’s full EVP statement within messages to employees, we kept our purpose and “why we do what we do” at the forefront of our minds. It provided the “why” behind the decision-making of our Covid-19 Taskforce, and as a result, our employees never lost sight that every move we made was in their best interest. We kept their trust which helped leadership manage expectations and focus on next steps.

This is WCCO Belting’s full EVP Statement:

“While we’re proud of what we’ve built here, we’re even more proud we created a company around people who love to work, collaborate, and grow together. You sense it on day one. This is a place that celebrates family values, a healthy work-life balance, and being an active neighbor in the community. This is where your work ethic and creativity are rewarded — all powered by unmatched WCCO Belting teamwork that pushes you to perfect your skills and grow your career. Each day, we prove that loving where you work begins with the people you work with.”

Now in our 66th year, I never would have guessed that the decision to create an EVP and the work we put in to making it authentic would help give our employees the strength and sense of togetherness we’d need to face a global pandemic. It’s up to us to keep each other safe, and we do that because loving where we work begins with the people we work with. Yes, that’s our statement, but it’s become a natural response. In the end, business leaders should never underestimate the power that a meaningful EVP can have on both recruitment, engagement and retainment.