A compelling Employee Value Proposition could provide critical competitive advantage in today’s market for talent as employers across all parts of the economy struggling to fill vacancies and to retain workers.
A powerful and effective employee value proposition (EVP) will help you attract and retain the best talent, enhance employee satisfaction and maximise performance. It will be the reason that new employees want to work for you and that existing employees are excited to come into the office every day.
In the post-pandemic world, we are seeing a shift in expectations of individuals towards their employers and the work they do. The focus for employers should now be on employees as individuals and not just as workers; on building connections through emotions; and non offering exceptional life – not work – experience.
In this guide, we discuss the steps you should take to define your company’s employee value proposition. Establishing an effective EVP should be thought of as a process of discovering and cultivating values that are already present within your organisation, rather than creating a desirable set of ideals from thin air.
What is an employee value proposition?
An employee value proposition (EVP) is what differentiates your organisation from others. It can be seen as the sum total of the benefits an employee gets in exchange for dedicating their time, skills and experience to your company. This goes beyond financial gain; an effective EVP appeals to a prospective employee’s personal values through its brand and the employee experience that is on offer.
A strong EVP will be authentic and unique to your organisation, making it clear to potential and existing employees what you stand for and what values lie at the heart of everything your organisation does.
Why is the employe value proposition important?
While no longer a new concept, many employers are unclear about what an employer value proposition is.
The EVP has become an increasingly hot topic in today’s talent-scarce employment markets. With so many talent gaps across practically every industry and very little new talent to choose from, organisations must ensure they are pulling out all the stops to attract valuable potential employees and get ahead of their competitors. When it comes to attracting new talent, employee value proposition is every organisation’s greatest weapon. An effective EVP will not only help you to attract more talent, it will also ensure you attract the right talent by resonating with people who share your organisation’s ideals.
Research indicates that to an extent, EVP effects an employee’s desire to work for a company as much as – or more than – the salary on offer. While financial gain is undoubtedly a powerful motivating force, leading businesses have had greater success attracting, securing and retaining talented employees by appealing to their core values. An effective employee value proposition combined with a generous renumeration package will have valuable potential employees lining up to apply for a job in your company.
A strong EVP can also affect how your organisation is viewed by prospective clients and customers. When you give the impression that your business is driven by strong ideals in addition to profit, people will be more enthusiastic about working with you.
The core elements of an employee value proposition
In defining an EVP, employers should consider what the organisation offers prospective talent in relation to the following:
- Tangible benefits: what does the company offer in terms of salary, bonuses, rewards and other perks?
- Succession opportunities: does the company represent a good option for employees who are progression-oriented?
- Brand identify and values: do the company’s values align with the employee’s values? Would the employee take pride in being part of the organisation?
- Colleagues and customers: who will the employee be working alongside? What value will this add to the employee’s professional and personal life?
- Work activities: what value will the employee derive from the work they are doing? Will it be challenging, exciting or will it benefit a worthy cause?
Though it must do so simply, your employee value proposition should encompass all these benefits. Before ironing out any details, you must begin the process of unearthing the core values that will form the basis of your EVP by learning about your existing employees’ experiences and perceptions.
Aligning the EVP to employee experience
An employee value proposition is not just an attractive image used to lure in potential talent. To be effective, an EVP must honestly reflect your current employees’ perception of the company’s values and goals. It is no use developing an EVP which promotes your company as a fun and creative place to work, if you existing workforce actively disagree with that image. Discrepancies between your employee value proposition and your actual employees’ experiences will make it difficult to secure new talent and harder still to retain existing talent. Once employees realise the myth they have been sold, they will not stick around for long.
Thus, the challenges in developing an effective EVP lie not only in defining the idea in the first place, but in making sure it is consistently relevant to your workforce. Maintaining an employee value proposition takes planning and work.
Understand your employees’ perceptions
Defining your organisation’s employee value proposition should start at a grassroots level, with your ordinary employees’ perceptions. CEOs and other business leaders can work to direct and cultivate your EVP, but the values at its core must come from your lower-level members of staff. Gather information about past and present employee perceptions using focus groups, interviews, surveys and feedback forms. The aim of this data collection is to identify both positive and negative perceptions of the organisation. Negative feedback is equally as important as positive, as it will identify room for improvements to made which can eventually form part of your employee value proposition.
Consider the following questions when gathering information from past, present and potential employees:
- What attracted the employee to the company in the first place? What made them want to work for you?
- What do current employees enjoy most about working for the company?
- What do employees think is unique about the company?
- What would employees say are the organisation’s core values?
- Why did previous employees choose to leave the company?
- Why do current employees choose to stay?
Identify what makes you ‘you’
Having conducted this research, the next step in defining the company’s employee value proposition is to analyse the information collected, to identify key themes and selling points. Establish a dedicated team to look for the most frequently mentioned benefits and the qualities your employees value the most. Use your findings to begin the process of fleshing-out your company’s brand, making sure that it embodies and aligns with the employees’ core values.
Your brand and core values will then form the basis of the EVP. While your business’s employee value proposition must be unique, keep in mind that all successful EVPs tick the following boxes:
The EVP should:
- Set your company apart from its competitors
- Align with your company’s strategic objectives and overall business goals
- Be authentic in reflecting what it is like working for your organisation
- Be inspirational
- Be simple and easy to grasp
- Have wide appeal, particularly among groups you mean to attract
Aligning EVP with core business activity
Your target market will also play a role in defining your EVP. To develop a compelling set of core values and attract the right people, the company must align employee experience with core business activities. This will involve considering the main qualities that make the business’s products or services attractive to potential customers. More specifically:
- What do you offer your customers that sets you apart from the competition? and
- What sort of talent do you need within the company to fulfil this offer?
Using the conclusions drawn from this analysis, you can further shape and fine-tune your employee value proposition to attract talented employees with the right skills and personal attributes. For example, if your business is based around new technologies, you should develop an EVP which appeals to the most talented, forward-thinking minds in the tech industry. Your EVP should scream ‘innovation’ while painting a picture of a fun work environment that appeals to younger, creative individuals.
Promoting & nurturing the EVP
Once your employee value proposition has been identified, cultivated and clearly defined, your next task is to communicate it as widely as possible. Your EVP should take the spotlight everywhere you company engages with potential employees. On the company’s website, throughout recruitment campaigns and during the interview process, your employee value proposition should extol the benefits of working for the company, while targeting the people you most want to attract.
As mentioned above, an employee value proposition is only effective when it truthfully reflects the experiences of the people working for you. Managing your EVP successfully does not end with creating a clearly defined image and communicating it to the world. Even though the inspiration for your EVP came from your employees’ perceptions, your work in this area is not finished. Employers must continuously work to demonstrate their core values within the workforce and cultivate a strong alignment between internal practices and external image.
Companies with the most effective employee value propositions ensure their EVPs permeate every function, activity and practice within the business. Consider how you may use the values inherent to your EVP to inform policies, reward schemes, training programs and inter-departmental communications. Any costs incurred by development and implementation will be vastly outweighed by the benefit of shaping your employees into passionate brand ambassadors. When your workforce can see that you are committed to meeting your EVP on all levels, they will speak about their experiences and actively contribute to the company’s positive image.
DavidsonMorris’ specialist HR consultants are experienced in helping employers devise and develop an employee value proposition that contributes value and competitive advantage in support of the organisation’s recruitment and retention strategies. We have worked with organisations of all sizes and structures to guide through the EVP process, from initial research and consultation to articulating, promoting and nurturing its ongoing evolution and relevance. For more information about how we can help your organisation, speak to us.
Employee value proposition FAQs
What does EVP mean in HR?
EVP stands for Employee Value Proposition. It is the aggregation of an employer’s effort to attract and retain employees.
Why is employee value proposition important?
In today's war for talent, a strong and authentic EVP helps employers to stand out in the recruitment market and supports retention of top personnel.
How do you define your Employee Value Proposition?
An authentic and effective EVP should include your position on employment remuneration, rewards and benefits, career development, work environment and practices, and culture.
Last updated: 4 June 2022