What is an Employer Value Proposition (or EVP) and what does it mean? How does it differ from the Employer Brand (or EB) and why is it so important for companies to define and promote their EVP?
One way of defining the difference between the EB and EVP is to imagine the EB as an outward-facing marketing proposition and the EVP as an internal exercise that outlines the offerings provided by the company in return for the skills, experiences and capabilities an employee brings to the business.
The EVP is a strategic statement that defines how your business wishes to be perceived and outlines the company’s vision, mission and values. These are supported by the company’s offerings in terms of learning and development, career progression, benefits and remuneration thus shaping, supporting and giving credence to the EB.
The EVP and EB go hand-in-hand so that the experience matches the promise. Any mismatch between the two would undermine employee trust and engagement and no doubt lead to poor reviews on review sites such as Glassdoor.
A well-defined EVP can give employers a competitive advantage in the war for talent as candidates become more selective and discerning in their choice of employer. This is especially helpful if the business doesn’t have the budget to compete with the remuneration offered by its larger competitors. The EVP can promote other unique qualities that differentiate the business from its competitors, thus attracting the right talent.
An EVP should provide incentives that reward hard work and create a supportive, inclusive working environment. According to research from Gartner, “Organisations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%”
So how do we go about developing an EVP?
This should not be a top-down exercise dictated by senior management since leadership teams will see things differently from employees. Developing an EVP should be an inclusive activity involving HR, management and employees to ensure that strategy, vision and working philosophy tie in with reality. Use works councils where they exist or create focus groups that represent a fair and diverse cross-selection of all employees. Ensuring inclusion across different levels, functions and disciplines, will help to make sure that any subsequent messaging resonates within each target group.
Start by identifying all the benefits of working at your company and the unique strengths of the organisation versus its competitors in terms of remuneration, working environment, career progression, learning and development and culture.
This could be done as a focus group exercise and/or through the use of a simple questionnaire. Alternatively, consider using the results of the questionnaire as a basis for your focus group discussions.
When considering remuneration, it’s worth bearing in mind that a generous remuneration package does not always compensate for a poor working environment and a lower-than-average remuneration package will need to rely on other unique selling points to attract key talent.
A pleasant and welcoming working environment is as important as remuneration. A comfortable workplace with good facilities, bright open spaces, breakout zones and stylish furniture can be a very attractive feature. Supplying free healthy foods and snacks is also a welcome offering.
Covid has changed the face of the working environment and more companies are adopting a hybrid working solution. Where this is not possible (i.e., in customer-facing roles such as leisure, fitness and hospitality), businesses are providing more flexible working solutions such as job sharing and condensed hours to attract target audiences who value flexibility and a healthier work-life balance.
Opportunities for career progression is also an attractive proposition for high potential individuals who are looking for challenge and growth. Many employers like to showcase success stories of people who have risen in the ranks and who have been encouraged and supported throughout their career journey from entry-level positions to senior-level roles.
Examining the company’s policies on training, performance development and promotions will give clarity on the company’s attitude towards career progression and growth and how the company supports this by providing opportunities for learning and development and supporting good performance management and development practices.
The culture reflects everything from human, social and even political issues. Identifying with the corporate culture can help candidates determine whether or not their values and beliefs are aligned with those of the company. If candidates share the same beliefs, attitudes and behaviours as those identified by the company, this gives them some reassurance of a harmonious working environment which could lead to a longer-term working relationship.
Other benefits can also cover aspects such as financial strength and constant growth, unique products and services and a strong commercial footing, reassuring candidates in terms of security, stability and longevity.
In each stage of the EVP definition process, consider how the company fairs against its competitors in terms of remuneration, working environment, culture and career progression. This will help to establish the company’s USP against the competition and promote aspects that are more generous or attractive than its competitors.
These exercises will help analyse and define the company’s strengths which will form part of the EVP and give it more honesty and credence.
Where can you go from here?
For inspiration, take a look at EVP statements from corporations such as Nike, Airbnb and Starbucks who have invested time and effort in establishing strong EVP statements, testimonials, quotes and blogs providing a diverse and varied view of life at their organisation.
By giving detailed descriptions that support a few key points, you can present realistic and honest EVP statements that support the recruitment, retention and motivation of employees and unite current employees under a common manifesto.