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Karyopharm: Developing an EVP Inspired by Employee Stories

This case study explores how Karyopharm Therapeutics approached developing an EVP using a holistic, storytelling-infused approach in partnership with Stories Inc.

Karyopharm Therapeutics is an innovation-driven biotechnology company and an industry leader in oral Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE) technology. Since being founded in 2008, their growing workforce has been working to discover, develop, and commercialize medicines with the goal of improving the lives of patients with cancer.

In the months leading up to developing their first EVP, Karyopharm had reached an important pivot point. Once a founder-led company focused on scientific discovery and research, they had transitioned to a new leadership team that would lead the company into its new chapter that would include commercialization. With new leaders and workflows came an opportunity to evolve company culture. To address these changes head-on, company leaders recognized the need to create and activate a formal EVP that would communicate their culture at scale and attract top talent.

Enter Stories Inc.

Objective: A holistic approach to developing an EVP

As Karyopharm evaluated their EVP options, they recognized the need to create an employer brand that could evolve and scale alongside their growing business. Two key priorities quickly emerged: 

  1. Inspired by Employee Stories — to create a more authentic and effective brand, Karyopharm knew the EVP statement and brand pillars needed to be rooted in real employee experiences. Team members needed to feel that their perspectives were represented in the employer brand.
  2. Efficiency is King — with a lean budget and quick Q1 timeline for launch, Karyopharm needed to take a leaner approach to creating and activating their employer brand. Efficiency was key. 

Stories Inc. was a natural partner to execute a storytelling-infused brand build. Rather than separating the EVP creation and activation process, Stories Inc. took a more holistic approach by using employee interviews to inspire both the employer brand creation and the content that would be used to bring the brand to life.

The project was executed in four steps, which are explored throughout this case study.

Step One: Interview company leaders to guide brand direction

The most effective employer brands blend who you are today with who you want to be tomorrow. To get a better understanding of company strategy and desired brand positioning, Stories Inc. interviewed clinical, sales, and people leaders who represented the most important areas of Karyopharm’s business. 

These interviews revealed key aspects of the company’s culture that would guide the employer brand positioning: passion and innovation, mission-focused work, and the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. 

These insights would inform how Stories Inc. prepped individual contributors for their storyteller interviews as well as the questions that would be asked during those sessions.  

Step Two: Uncover employee stories that bring messaging to life

Stories Inc. prepped and interviewed eight Karyopharm team members, on-camera, to uncover their real experiences working at the pharma company. These storytelling interviews unearthed hours of footage and tons of stories supporting the culture pillars previously identified by leadership.

After the interviews were complete, Stories Inc. transcribed all the interviews and began connecting the employee stories to the employer brand pillars. 

Step Three: Bring the EVP to life

Armed with leadership insights and compelling stories from team members, Stories Inc. got to work creating the EVP statement, brand pillars, and rallying cry. This was a collaborative process between Stories and Karyopharm people leaders. Drafts were also shared with a group of Karyopharm leaders to ensure that the EVP was resonating internally and represented the employer brand vision.

Key brand assets included: 

  • EVP statement: Fueled by passion. Driven by science. Advancing together. 
  • Three Employer brand pillars: each pillar was supported by 5+ proof points shared by Karyopharm employees during their storytelling interviews.
    • Innovate together
    • Connect through purpose
    • Reach your potential
  • Rallying Cry: internally-facing statement created to excite team members about the EVP and inspire them to embody the brand pillars in their work every day.
  • Employer brand style guide: aligned with Karyopharm’s corporate brand, the style guide included tone, logo usage, colors, and typography that should be used when communicating Karyopharm’s employer brand. 
  • Activation templates: a library of graphics and social post templates optimized for image ratios for all key talent channels (see below). 
Developing an EVP social media templates

Step Four: Activate the EVP using an employee story content library

With the EVP statement and brand pillars clearly identified, the final step was bringing these statements to life through content. Because employee stories were key proof points for identifying the employer brand, Stories Inc. was able to move quickly to create a library of employee story videos that fuel Karyopharm’s talent channels. 

The output was five videos, including compilation videos that bring these brand statements to life; employee spotlights that dive deeper into key themes; and short-form video created with the goal of catching candidates’ attention. We’ll share a few examples below. 

Compilation Video: Our Culture at Karyopharm

This culture compilation video features all eight storytellers that were interviewed. The video moves seamlessly through the three key aspects of Karyopharm’s EVP: innovation, purpose, and personal growth.

Compilation Video: Science at Karyopharm

In this compilation video, we hear from team members from the clinical side of the business. They share what excites them most about the science at Karyopharm and why they are inspired to come to work every day.

Employee Spotlight: How Lilia Finds Purpose at Karyopharm

Employee spotlights are a great way to dive deeper into a culture theme that is important to your organization. In this video we hear from a Karyopharm alumna, Lilia Fenelon, who worked at the company while caring for her mother, who was sick with cancer.

Efficiently Developing an EVP…with Stories

For Karyopharm, developing an EVP came during a pivotal time of transition with new leadership. By taking a holistic, storytelling-infused approach, Karyopharm Therapeutics was able to research, develop, and launch an employee value proposition that reflects their current culture and where they aspire to be in the future.