Demonstrating UEFA’s strength in innovation, the HR team created its UEFA People employer branding project, to emphasise the passion, purpose and pride shown by UEFA staff across a wide variety of important roles. HR team members Jason Evans, Florian Python and Cédric Widmer tell us more about the project.
What is the aim of the project?
Jason: The UEFA People project is an HR-led campaign aimed at increasing our recruitment brand awareness across Europe. The project is neither a recruitment drive nor a project just for a specific tournament, but rather a content-based campaign aimed at showcasing our staff and the broad spectrum of their roles and experiences. The project will be rolled out over the next four years as part of UEFA’s recruitment and engagement strategy. In essence, we aim to show what it’s like to work at UEFA through the eyes of our own staff, to enable stronger engagement when we do implement recruitment drives in the future.
How did the project come about?
Florian: It started when we attended the LinkedIn Talent Connect event in London in October 2015, to get inspiration from the European HR community on how to use recruitment marketing and employer branding initiatives. This led us to discuss the recruitment challenges we face at UEFA. After one of the presentations we saw, we started thinking about ways in which we could improve our employer branding while embracing the obvious passion and dedication of our staff. On the flight back to Switzerland, we drafted a concept while the idea was fresh in our minds, and we presented it to senior management the next day. We obtained approval for the project to go ahead and here we are!
“Every second invested in this project was worth it!”
When did you start work on the project?
Jason: We started work on the project almost immediately, in November 2015. We carefully selected the best recruitment partners to work with across the marketing, technology and sport sectors, and then held a workshop with them in London. There, we presented the project and sought their input and agreement to join us in this project. It was also a chance for us to get to know them, and for them to gain a greater insight into who we are as an organisation and what we are trying to achieve through UEFA People. Having them on board was extremely important, as they are also part of our talent acquisition strategy. This project will now lay the foundations for our recruitment strategy leading up to UEFA EURO 2020.
What have you enjoyed most about the project so far?
Florian: It’s been excellent to focus on our staff and to showcase their commitment, dedication and skills to the outside world.
Cédric: It’s been great as it’s the first time that we’ve worked on such a big project, and one that has never been done before in any organisation.
Jason: I feel proud to have created a platform for our staff to have a voice and be recognised both individually and collectively. This is achieved by highlighting the work they do behind the scenes to create UEFA’s marvellous competitions for football fans across the world to enjoy. Working in HR, we should be at the centre of promoting our staff. And UEFA has allowed us to do that through this project, enabling us to attract a strong workforce in the future.
How has the project progressed?
Florian: There have been so many steps that it’s difficult to put everything in the right order! We have had many meetings between the three of us, to thrash out our ideas to make the campaign as successful and effective as possible, and also to ensure the consistency and coordination we need to make it work. It was vital to get the support of the heads of unit and to communicate the objectives to UEFA staff. We then needed to design the logo and produce the graphic designs, which meant that we had to work very closely with both our brand team and external agencies.
Cédric: The next step was to work with our content partners to collect all the necessary information from the staff in order to produce the most engaging content possible. We did a lot of this during the delivery phase of UEFA EURO 2016, when many employees were reaching the critical phase of their projects, so we were delighted that staff found the time to help, showing the spirit that we were highlighting.
Jason: As this was being done for the very first time, none of us knew what it would take to achieve our goals. With no solid marketing experience, it was a real challenge to decide on the different content types, plan the collection or creation of that content (including video or graphic designs) and coordinate all of that with the different locations and staff assignments. Luckily, we had the help of a very talented design agency for deciding on the campaign name and logo, as well as the infographic templates. We had help from the communications division, graphic designers, video editors and UEFA’s language services unit, who edited and translated countless texts.
Why did you get involved in this particular project?
Jason: I believed in the idea that we had, there was a purpose to what we wanted to do and I believed that it would have a significant impact inside and outside UEFA.
Florian: It was something completely new: to our knowledge, it was the first time something like this had been done. I was convinced that it would have a positive impact.
Cédric: The guys said they needed me to help deliver the project, and after learning more and seeing it develop, I am really happy to have had the opportunity. It’s been a lot of hard work in a short period of time, but I have had the chance to experience my first EURO alongside this project and it will live on in my memory for a long time.
What aspect of the project are you most proud of?
Jason: It hasn’t finished yet, but so far I am most proud of the way in which our staff have engaged with us and the project. The feedback we have received from them has been great and that has made the hard work worthwhile.
Florian: It’s not easy just before and during UEFA EURO 2016 for staff to give their time to provide content. It’s also not easy for them to trust that we will use their image carefully and for their benefit. I think we found the right words to convince them that they can trust us.
Cédric: It’s rewarding to see how much our staff have engaged with the project on external platforms too, which makes it a privilege to be part of something unique. Every second invested in this project was worth it!
What value does this project bring to UEFA, to your career and to football?
Cédric: It gives a positive image of UEFA.
Florian: I hope the organisation can understand the value of putting staff in the foreground, recognising the great work that is done and how proud people are to work at UEFA. UEFA can certainly be proud of having such valuable staff!