How to build a strong employee value proposition (EVP)?
With talent in increasingly short supply, employers must work harder than ever at appealing to skilled workers.
Yet, it is the well-informed and talented job seeker who has the upper hand, demanding more than a competitive salary, pension, and free coffee. No wonder then that an employee value proposition has become an essential tool in any company’s recruitment marketing efforts.
What is an employee value proposition and why do you need it?
What is an employer value proposition? Quite simply, it is the answer to the question: why should someone work for you rather than for one of your competitors? It is what makes your company stand out from the rest and attracts the best talent.
The employer value proposition is a ‘promise’ between an employer and employee. What will the employee get from the employer in return for time, effort, experience, and skill? EVPs show employees what a company stands for, what that company's values are, and why they are the right choice of employer.
An employer value proposition is not a one-time document or statement, but rather it is an ongoing process that should be revisited and updated regularly. It is the result of careful planning, market research, and employee engagement.
An EVP is not just a recruitment tool but also a retention tool. Employees who feel appreciated and understand the company’s values are more likely to stay with the organization. In fact, research has shown that companies with a strong EVP enjoy lower staff turnover rates and higher levels of employee engagement.
There are several different terms used interchangeably for the employer value proposition. It is also referred to as an employee value proposition, EVP, and employer brand proposition.
An EVP is closely linked to employer branding and is essentially the external expression of an employer brand and employer brand strategy. For example, if a candidate had the option of working for two otherwise identical retail chains – selling similar products in similar locations to a similar demographic, they would choose based on what they believed the employer stood for and what the employer had to offer. Without being aware of it, they would have based their choice on the two employers’ EVPs.
An employer value proposition is important because it helps a business attract the workforce it needs to grow by offering a set of benefits that boost employee engagement and bring out the best in a company’s employees.
A good EVP will:
• Differentiate a company from its competitors:
When talented employees have a choice of where to work, they are likely to be swayed by an employer’s value proposition.
• Attract and retain the best talent:
Top talent wants to work for organizations that share their values and offer them something different from the competition. Employees who feel appreciated and understand the company’.
• Appeal to candidates’ values, beliefs, needs and wants:
An employer value proposition should be tailored to appeal to the specific workforce a company is trying to attract.
• Build internal and external perceptions of the business brand:
A strong employer brand will help a company attract the best talent, while a strong EVP will help to retain that talent.
Who is responsible for developing the employee value proposition?
The responsibility for leading the development of the employer value proposition sits with the HR team. However, truly great companies ensure that wider business is involved. The HR department would work with current employees to understand their needs and wants.
They would also conduct market research to understand what potential employees are looking for in an employer. With this information, the HR team can create an attractive proposition to both current and potential employees.
Once an EVP is developed, it needs to be communicated effectively across all parts of the organization. This includes not just the recruitment team but also marketing, sales, and even the executive team.
This would not just focus on the current time but also to understand what attracted them to the company and why they accepted their offer; this can be done through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The outputs can help HR understand how to attract focus employee groups.
With this input, HR should lead a cross-departmental team to develop a compelling EVP that will attract future employees while at the same time satisfying internal stakeholders.
Once this is done, the executive management team must approve the employee value proposition to ensure it supports the company goals and is within budget.
Should You Segment Employer Value Propositions?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Segmenting employer value propositions can be a very effective way of targeting different groups of employees, but it must be done correctly. If not, you could end up alienating certain groups or appearing confused and disjointed.
The first step is to understand what motivates your employees. What are their key values? Once you have a good understanding of this, you can start to tailor different employer value propositions to appeal to different groups of employees.
For example, if you want to attract top talent, you may focus on offering challenging work and excellent development opportunities. If you want to retain your current workforce, you may focus on excellent remuneration and benefits.
It is important to remember that each employee is unique. While certain segments may be more attractive to your company, it is essential to keep in mind that not everyone will fall into these categories. You must be prepared to offer something different to employees who do not fit into your ideal segments.
What influences an employee value proposition?
Many factors affect the appeal of one employer over the other, and a company must choose the combination of factors that they believe will best appeal to the target candidates.
In the past, employee value propositions focused heavily on remuneration and benefits. This is changing as employees – especially Millennials and Gen Z – seek companies that fit their high expectations. For example, employees want an employer who gives them a healthy work-life balance, challenging work, talent development, and a direct impact on the success of the company.
It is worth bearing in mind that a single organization may have multiple adaptations of its employer value proposition to appeal to a variety of candidates. For example, the factors that appeal to graduates will be considerably different from those that appeal to C-suite execs. However, the core employee value proposition will communicate the same employer brand, even if some of the details have been flexed to ensure help with marketing the company to a broader range of potential employees.
The pay you give your team is a significant part of the employer's value proposition but not the only factor. When choosing the pay levels, a business should aim to achieve one of the following:
•Below industry average
•In line with the industry average
•Above industry average.
This may be driven by your financial situation as much as the other components of your proposition. If, for example, you give a high salary, employees may be willing to work longer hours and endure higher levels of stress. That said, a high salary alone won’t compensate for problems in the rest of the EVP – and if this route is followed, a company could expect to find it difficult to retain talent in the long term.
It is interesting to note that Gartner’s research leads to it estimating that a company can reduce its compensation premium by as much as 50% when candidates see the rest of the employer value proposition as positive.
Employment benefits are important to employees, and they form a key part of an EVP. However, the benefits a company gives its employees can be a significant draw for potential candidates and say a lot about how the organization considers its current employees.
Benefits may include paid time off, medical insurance, and a pension, as well as other more unusual benefits. When considering what benefits to offer, think about the target market's needs. For example, a company with a young, active workforce may offer more flexible time off options than one targeting retirees.
The best talent wants to know what the future holds for them in a company. A clear talent path and chance to improve their skills is an attractive benefit to future employees, especially those at the start of their careers.
Employers should think about what training and development opportunities they can offer as part of the EVP. This might include providing access to online courses, sending employees to industry events, and even funding for further education.
Not only does the promise of future career opportunities signal security, but it also demonstrates a company’s commitment to its team of employees.
The work environment is key to employee satisfaction and productivity. A good work environment includes positive company culture, the right tools and equipment for the job, and adequate resources.
A study conducted by Workplace Trends showed that a staggering 82% of employees left their job because of a bad boss. This indicates that the relationship between an employee and their boss is a major factor in employee satisfaction.
The working environment is not limited to amenities such as workstations, the quality of the restrooms, and whether coffee is provided free of charge. It also includes work-life balance, software investment, and even how a workplace is decorated.
Although focusing on the working environment might be considered more frivolous than some other aspects of the EVP, its importance should not be overlooked. That is because companies who invest in their workplace are demonstrating a visible commitment to their employees, something that is essential when playing the talent attraction game.
The company culture is the personality of the organization and is often shaped by the founder or leaders of the company. It is about how people feel when they walk into the office, what is considered to be important, and the team spirit that exists.
Company culture is one of the most difficult aspects of an EVP to change and can be a major stumbling block for mergers and acquisitions. It is also one of the most important factors to employees when considering whether to stay with or leave their current employer.
Creating a good company culture takes time, and it is something that has to be nurtured over the long term.
Culture is of growing importance for employees, especially younger generations for whom purpose and positive impact is key. Not only does a clear communication of company culture help interest talent, but it also means a company is more likely to attract the right talent who will go on to become successful employees and support the further development of a positive culture.
How to create an excellent employee value proposition?
When creating an EVP, keeping the target market in mind is important. The benefits that are offered should be tailored to meet the needs of the employees that a company wishes to attract.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to create an excellent EVP:
Clarify what you stand for as an employer
Without understanding employer branding, employer brand strategy, and indeed the broader business strategy, an organization cannot create a sustainable employee value proposition. Therefore, it is first important to clarify employer branding and be sure of how workforce planning needs to support the wider business strategy.
As well as clarifying the internal perspective, it is important to understand how employees view the organization. Why did existing employees apply for a job with the company? What is it about the organization that encourages them to remain with the team instead of leaving for elsewhere?
Identify your target candidates
It is not possible to develop a one-size-fits-all employee value proposition. An organization must identify what it wishes to attract potential employees and craft the benefits offered around those needs.
Different things might attract candidates; for example, some may be looking for stability and security, while others may be more interested in opportunities for professional development.
What do you want from your employees? As well as a list of technical skills, qualifications, and experiences should include employee attitudes and values that complement your culture.
By doing this, the new team members you hire are more likely to appreciate and enhance your culture and, in turn, become ambassadors for your employer brand.
Define the main features of your EVP
With an understanding of what your target candidates want and who your organization wants to recruit, you will be able to agree on how to attract these individuals.
Building the employee value proposition takes time and may not at first be the most obvious combination of factors. It is useful to review proposition examples from other employers in and outside your industry. This is often found on the careers page of competitor websites and may spark some ideas to help with your talent acquisition program.
Remember that a ‘better offer’ does not necessarily mean more money; there are many factors that contribute towards happy employees! It could also relate to specialist employee development opportunities or a clear career path.
Flex your employee value proposition
The needs of the employees will change over time, so it is important that your EVP is flexible. You do not want to be seen as just offering a one-time deal or bribe; employees need to feel that they are valuable and an important part of the company culture.
Keep in mind that what is important to employees also changes over time. For example, there has been a move towards more flexible working arrangements in recent years, and employers who can offer this are more likely to appeal to potential employees.
Unless a company wants only one type of employee, it will be necessary to customize the employee value proposition to suit a range of employee life stages and experience levels.
A great example is that of employers who highlight their flexible working policies in certain job adverts. This makes them a more attractive employer to working parents who would prefer flexibility ahead of a high salary.
Communicate your employee value proposition
Creating an attractive value proposition; is another to communicate it effectively. The first step is to write it to appeal to potential employees and existing employees alike.
After all, giving employees reasons to love their employer brand is a key element of talent retention. The value proposition should be written in a clear, engaging way that reinforces the company culture and employer brand.
With the EVP written, it is now time to share it. As well as making sure the appropriate versions of the EVP are shared on your career site or sites of choice, it should also be published on the company’s website careers page, social media, and company newsletters. Having spent so much time creating a strong value proposition, it is essential to share it!
Continue to review your employee value proposition
The employee value proposition may have been created, but that does not mean the job is done. The job of attracting top talent and skilled workers is never over. As time moves on, both competitors and employees change, making it essential that companies take account of these changes and adapt their EVPs to the latest news.
Outside of external factors, it is essential to review your employee value proposition to ensure it continues to reflect your employer brand and broader strategy. If the way you operate has shifted, the EVP should be adapted to take account of this.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is essential to understand how the employee value proposition affects recruitment and retention. Are you seeing a higher-caliber candidate? Is employee retention improving? If not, perhaps the EVP still needs work.
Key Employee Value Proposition Stats You Can't Ignore
- A strong EVP can result in a 25% increase in employee productivity.
- 49% of employees would leave their current job for a better offer, but only if the new job is with a company that has an attractive EVP.
- 78% of employees say that they would be more likely to stay with their employer if they knew there was a career development opportunity that interested them.
- 84% of employees say that they are more likely to recommend their current employer to others if they have a good work/life balance.
- Organizations with a strong EVP have a 41% lower employee turnover rate.
- A well-communicated EVP can increase employee satisfaction by up to 15%.
- Organizations that invest in their EVP see a higher return on investment, with a 34% improvement in employee productivity.
- A well-crafted EVP can improve new hire quality by up to 50%.
Source : Gartner
So, as you can see, having an effective employee value proposition is not only key to retaining your best employees but can also be the deciding factor in whether top talent chooses your company over a competitor. By taking the time to create a well-crafted EVP, you are setting your organization up for success.
Creating and implementing a strong employee value proposition is essential for attracting and retaining the best talent. By taking time to review competitor propositions and create a flexible EVP that appeals to a range of employees, you are well on your way to finding the right person for the job!
Remember to communicate your EVP effectively through various channels and to constantly review it to ensure it remains relevant.
Creating a strong employee value proposition takes time and effort, there is no doubt. Yet by taking control of this important tool, a company has taken a vital step towards attracting the quality talent it needs to drive long-lasting success.
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