Employment1 Aug 2023
Creating an Employer Value Proposition that aligns with your company's culture
Why work for you? It’s the question that every candidate and employee asks themselves. How you respond as an Employer can be the difference between attracting staff or real talent. And the best tool to have to answer this question is a clear Employer Value Proposition or EVP.
Your EVP represents both the give and get from the employee experience. What will you receive from the employer and what will you be expected to deliver in return. Your EVP is the foundational messaging that underpins your Employer Brand.
A company’s culture, i.e. how employees and teams behave at work is often guided by a set of agreed corporate values. This culture must be authentically represented in your EVP so you can attract the right talent who will thrive in the described environment. Equally you may wish to deter candidates from a culture that is not a relatable fit for them as well.
An effectively crafted Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can help reinforce why employees are here at work and help them keep each other to the agreed cultural standards while at the same time be advocates and help attract more like-minded employees to join the organisation.
The modern definition of Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
An Employee Value Proposition of EVP refers to the employee's total benefits from the organisation in exchange for what they bring (skills, attitude, experience, knowledge and contribution). Benefits can include tangible ones (like retail discounts, compensation, leave entitlements, study leave, flexibility etc) and intangible benefits such as collaborative culture, inspiring leaders or a unique purpose that is motivating. A strategic EVP is built on a foundation of proof points (generated from employee and market research) and expressed as 3-4 strategic messaging pillars and an overall narrative or ‘story’. The reason behind this as most people can only recall a few ‘reasons why’ - not dozens of proof-points, so the EVP is a way to summarise the best and most important ‘values’ that are authentic, relatable and differentiating about your employment experience.
What's the difference between your EVP and your Employer Brand?
Your Employer Brand is the perception that lives in the hearts and minds of candidates and employees. All organisations have an Employer Brand because that perception lies with those that experience it, not you as an employer. The question is, are you nurturing that perception in any way. That’s where the EVP can help. Your EVP should be authentic, relatable and differentiate your employment experience (culture and benefits and workplace environment) from others.
Your Employer Brand is articulated through various channels such as; Careers website, social media, intranet, news media and even at BBQ conversations on the weekend. Whenever there is communication around what it is like to work at company X - that is your Employer Brand in action.
How to create an Employer Value Proposition that aligns with your company's culture
An EVP helps organisations highlight the combined benefits that a company offers employees (and specifically those that they value the most). So to create an EVP, it's necessary to work from inside out, to create an effective EVP.
Following are some of the high-level steps to create an EVP that aligns with your company culture;
The first step is to understand what the company stands for and the direction it is heading in. The reason for an organisation's existence helps frame what the organisation has in store to offer prospective employees so they can decide if that aligns with their personal values and career aspirations.
Employees are the backbone of any organisation. But selecting the correct type of employees becomes essential so the organisation must understand and promote what the right type of talent wants from their career and employer. This is commonly articulated in a Talent Strategy which defines how the workforce needs to be shaped over the short to medium term. Your EVP can also be segmented into different key talent areas as drivers and values will differ for each type and the key is to be as relatable as possible.
Since what an organisation truly believes in should come from within, your EVP must also align with the values and behaviours of your employees. Through employee research, first understand what employees truly value regarding their culture. This data will give you a clear sense of how aligned current employees are with your corporate values and how best to authentically highlight the cultural values in your EVP. For example, one client that we researched had ‘Innovation ‘as a value but their employees all disagreed with that. They instead felt they worked on innovative products but culturally ‘innovation’ was not supported. As such, the EVP was able to aspire to an ‘innovative journey’ with more work to be done (so to set real expectations for new employees).
Creating an EVP is a complicated task. What can help inform the design of your EVP is market research. Look for published industry papers that can give you an insight on macro trends in terms of what candidates or employees want from their employer. In 2023, post-Covid, employees are looking for stability, belonging and flexibility. Working from home has also been accelerated and some company leaders are struggling to attract employees back to the office. As such you can’t just make a policy without understanding the greater trend which your competitors may be taking advantage of to attract some of your talent away from you.
Employees in this competitive market have many options to choose from. So to attract the right talent, make your EVP stand out from the competition by providing unique benefits. Ask yourself how you can make your benefits more unique to you. Let your EVP inspire what matters most to employees. Review your competitor benefits and design a suite of benefits that no-one can match.
A well-designed EVP should reflect the voice of employees and empower them to become advocates for your Employer Brand. Through an advocacy program, employees can become brand ambassadors who promote the benefits of working at your organisation to their networks. Think of it like ‘word of mouth’ promotion which research shows has more cut-through and credibility than if you posted messaging on your corporate platforms.
Benchmarking 12 months before, at launch and in 6 monthly increments your key metrics that align with your objectives can help you adjust the EVP over time. Your EVP is on 24/7 and any feedback systems you can put in place that can help you optimise when, where and how your EVP is deployed will be beneficial to ensuring you can attract, engage and retain the right talent to meet your business goals.
Benefits of an authentic Employee Value Proposition
An EVP adds to the value of your Employer Brand. It offers an organisation varied benefits, some of the prominent ones being as follows:
1. Helps attract top talent
2. Reduces employee turnover
3. Reduces hiring costs and time to hire
4. Improves people engagement, retention and performance
5. Enhance the Employer Brand value
Frequently asked questions
Who should develop your company's EVP?
An EVP is an organisational-wide business tool. It impacts all areas. You need endorsement from C-suite, insights from HR and Recruitment, alignment with Brand and Marketing and buy-in from Leaders and Hiring Managers. Most importantly you need employees willing to share their authentic, honest stories. Traditionally EVPs are lead by Talent Acquisition, sometimes Corporate Affairs but whoever leads needs to bring everyone on the journey together.
What are the 5 components of an EVP?
The five components of an EVP are:
Benefits, Environment, Career Development, Culture and Journey.