Crafting a strong employee value proposition is a growing tactic to attract and retain great talent in today’s difficult hiring landscape.
Troubled by the pandemic, many individuals have considered their jobs with a fresh perspective. Some are quitting in what has been labeled the Great Resignation. And because of this, we’ve seen a shift in how people structure their working and personal lives worldwide.
People have started questioning: do we actually like our Employers' Culture? Does our job feel as meaningful as we’d like it to?
There is a desire from employees to find more purpose in their work; they are looking for alignment between their values and the company’s values. But finding that alignment is difficult, especially if a company doesn’t spend time defining its values or if they just use a bunch of buzzwords on a landing page.
Employer branding is one way to showcase what a company stands for and believes in. The employee value proposition is at the heart of this. To communicate these values to the outside world, companies must look within at their talent experience. This is where the employee value proposition comes into play.
What is an employee value proposition?
Your employee value proposition (EVP) describes the give and get of the talent experience. It’s an agreement between the employer and the employees. It gives people an idea of what you stand for as an organization. It sets the expectation of what everyone needs to bring to their work and what, in return, they will get back. It's a unique form of branding that bridges traditional branding and recruitment.
How does your EVP relate to your employer brand?
Your employer brand is the reputation you have as an employer - regardless of whether you have a strategy in place and spend time on it or not. Employer branding tactics are used to attract talent and offer value to your employees. Your EVP is related to your employer brand through the talent experience.
The talent experience refers to the lived experience of your employees - everything they feel, learn, and act upon during each stage of their time at the company - through candidacy to alumni.
By focusing on creating a strong employer brand through improving the talent experience, companies can stand out in today’s competitive hiring landscape. This is evidenced by the increasing amount of companies who are dedicating their time to their employer branding efforts. Still, few are doing a good job assessing, managing, and cultivating their employer branding— however, those with a strong employer brand have a significant advantage over their competitors for top talent.
Imagine that you received three offers from three similar companies. The money is in the same ballpark; the positions are all interesting. How do you decide? And what comes to mind about these employers? What are the positive associations you have-- and are there potentially some negative ones? That’s where the employee value proposition can help candidates to make a decision.
Commercial versus employer branding
A company’s commercial brand is also linked to its employer brand (and vice versa). In this way, your employee value proposition may also be linked to your commercial branding.
Commercial branding focuses on the associations your consumers, clients, or customers have with your product or service.
Employer branding focuses on the associations held by employees or prospective employees.
Therefore, clients or consumers could have a positive association with the commercial brand and while employees or prospective employees have a negative view of the employer brand or vice versa. They are connected, and one could impact the other, causing a spillover effect.
For example, if you buy a product or service from a company and you have a bad experience with it, the chances are you’ll be less interested in working for them if you ever find a relevant vacancy.
These opinions/perceptions held by candidates can impact their interest in and desire to apply, interview, or accept a job. It can enable one company to attract A-players while leaving another company asking why they cannot generate interest in their job vacancies. This is one example of how your EVP relates to your talent attraction strategy.
How to build your employee value proposition
Now that you understand what an EVP is (and is not), and how it links to the employer brand and talent experience, you can begin scoping your own EVP project.
Creating a framework for your EVP is no small task. Consider the following question: Do you have the expertise, talent, and time in house to undertake this project? Creating your EVP can take up to a year, so it may be worth it to consider hiring an agency or a employer branding specialist. Together, you can set up your company’s employee value proposition project.
There are 4 key deliverables to look for at the end of your EVP project:
- A position statement statement and supporting narrative statement (aimed at broad internal and external audiences)
- The pillars of your EVP (highlighting the core behaviours needed for success at your company)
- The EVP itself (articulating the “give and get” of life at your company”)
- Personas (aimed at specific individuals who’d be best suited to particular roles at your company)
Now that we’ve established what the outcome will be of your project, we can focus on how to get there. Your EVP project can be completed in these three phases:
Phase 1: Research
The goal of this phase is to gather all the information needed to define the pillars of your EVP. To achieve this, you need to give a voice to the people in the company and work collaboratively to find an authentic narrative.
This could include:
- A company wide survey
- Individual employee interviews
- Employer branding workshops with groups of employees across the organization
- Involvement and interviews with C-level and other leaders
(Remember you want to gain an understanding the sentiment of the organization from the top to the bottom!)
Based on your research, common themes should begin to unravel, revealing the core of your talent experience. An employer branding specialist can help turn this information into an EVP framework!
Phase 2: Creating your EVP content
After the framework and foundation of the EVP is defined, it’s time to bring it to life through brand guidelines and content (from typography and colors to photography and videos). This can be done in-house or by briefing an external agency.
An employer brand audit is a great way of understanding the current way in which your EVP is communicated. This can help your organization to decide what old content needs to be revamped or changed, and what new content can help broadcast your refined message.
Phase 3: Launching your EVP
After the framework and content have been defined and created, it’s time to launch your new EVP - first internally, and then externally! This could be a cause for celebration for your company - as creating an employee value proposition is a collaborative effort involving stakeholders across the organization. Ideally, an authentic EVP will tell the story of your talent experience, solidifying the promise between the organization and its employees.
Once your EVP is brought to life, it doesn't end there. It’s just the beginning. You need to ensure that the story is being told consistently throughout the talent experience and that there’s a proper content calendar. An employer branding specialist can take the lead in the continuous execution of EVP storytelling.
Creating an EVP is a relatively new tactic - many companies are still figuring out how to approach it. Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight, and every organization works differently. Crafting an EVP is an investment for the long term, and there are no shortcuts.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to attract talent. Despite that growing complexity, we’ve made no fundamental changes to how we attract our talent. There’s one silver lining to this complexity: recruitment has become top of mind for every organization hiring people. So now is the time for teams to use that momentum and future-proof their talent attraction strategy.
Creating an employee value proposition is one of the most effective tools in your recruitment strategy toolkit because it will help your organization to attract the right talent and improve retention by focusing on the experience of your employees.