Employment1 Nov 2023Simon Druery

New insights on Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Research: What works and what doesn't

In the fast-paced and highly competitive world of business today, sourcing and retaining the best talent is vital for an organisation's prosperity. With the employment rate in Australia at an all time high, it’s a candidate-driven-market, so companies are battling to attract and retain the skilled and qualified professionals they need more than ever before.

That’s why it's imperative to understand what your employees value most. And the best way to do that is through research. Developing an EVP, informed by employee and market research, ensures that your ‘people promise’ is authentic, relatable and differentiating. Only then can you start attracting, engaging and retaining the right talent to move your business forward.

Understanding Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Employee Value Proposition research has been a subject of increasing interest in the corporate world. Senior business and HR leaders are realising that the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a powerful tool in creating more belonging and alignment with purpose, values and visions.

Understanding what truly motivates employees and aligning those values with the organisation's goals is vital for building a compelling EVP that helps attract, engage and retain the right talent for the business. It can help create an environment and culture where employees are not only satisfied with their jobs but also deeply connected to the organisation's mission and values and become advocates for the employee experience.

Key insights from recent EVP Research

Here’s a quick summary of some of the key pointers of recent EVP Research

What works in EVP Research: Strategies and tactics based on recent findings

EVP research involves various strategies and tactics to understand, optimise, and communicate the Employee Value Proposition effectively. There are certain steps that companies need to be taken to form successful EVP strategies:

1. Get clear on objectives first for the business and strategic workforce planning and from there develop the project objectives 

2. Write a project brief and battle-test it with key stakeholders - does it define the problem that needs to be solved clearly. If not - refine

3. Provide an environment for authentic, honest employee data - the more ‘real’ the more successful your EVP will be

4. Understand clearly what employees value but also WHY - that’s the heart of your EVP

5. Define the gaps between current offer and what people actually value; and compare this with your competitors for talent. Can you proactively design your ‘employee experience’ so it is set apart?

6. Think about segmenting for different divisions or talent cohorts - the more personalised you can make your EVP for different types of people the more magnetic it will be 

7. Look beyond your business, look beyond your market and look at the macro trends for opportunities to leverage and issues to mitigate or avoid

8. Along the way engage your people (through testing at different stages), so they feel they can embrace and ultimately own the EVP - they will be more likely to organically become ambassadors for your Employer Brand

What doesn't work in EVP Research: Common pitfalls and misconceptions

Certain factors can hinder the success of EVP research. Some common pitfalls include:

Applying the insights: Recommendations for applying your EVP insights

3 Strategic Lenses - Authenticity, Relatability and Differentiation

At Belong Creative we use a strategic framework to help distil all the research proof points into a compelling, representative and balanced EVP. This framework consists of 3 strategic lenses; Authenticity, Relatability, and Differentiation.

1. Authenticity - Being authentic means showcasing your organisation's genuine culture, values, and employee experiences. It is the cornerstone of a successful proposition.

2. Relatability - Your EVP needs to speak directly to the needs and aspirations of your employees. It involves tailoring your message to connect with your employees and what they actually value the most.

3. Differentiation - What makes your organisation special? Showcase what sets your organisation apart from others by highlighting your unique combination of offerings, benefits and work culture. It's all about painting a picture that not only defines your employee experience but sets it apart in a human way. 

Applying Macro Trends 

Make sure your EVP project goes beyond ‘navel gazing’. Once you’ve pulled out the key insights, stop and look at the broader context of social, market and brand trends that you can leverage. 

For example, the job market in Australia is better than ever before with unemployment rates reaching record lows. This success has sparked a race among employers to attract and keep the best talent. However with inflation and increasing mortgage interest rates, cost of living pressures are mounting on everyday Australians. Companies who offer employee support programs (financial, mental health and wellbeing) can show empathy to their people - helping increase retention. Senior Australians may also be delaying retirement due to economic conditions, which creates an opportunity for the EVP to appeal directly to this segment and leverage their depth of experience. Or perhaps as part of your EVP positioning, your organisation is deeply committed to sustainability and this can influence and attract a certain talent segment. These are just some examples of how the EVP can leverage macro trends.  

These macro trends are more than just numbers; they're shaping the way employees work. By recognising and responding positively to these trends, you can craft an EVP that's not just about today. It's about building a future where your employees' needs are met, keeping them engaged and productive.

Summarising into Strategic Pillars 

The final step is ‘bucketing’ the proof-points into 4-5 different facets of the workplace to help create pillar themes that are more relatable to your audience. It is not 1 on its own but the combination of these pillars that makes your employee experience and therefore your Employee Value Proposition unique to you.

Look to create breadth using diverse facets of the workplace such as;

1. Why; purpose, vision and journey ahead

2. Who; people, culture, relationships

3. What; quality and type/s of work product/services

4. How; ways of working, attitudes, values and behaviours

5. Where; if geography or physical workplace is important

For each pillar, you may be able to apply a branded theme that connects the pillars together, helping your EVP to be ownable only to you.

Leveraging Research Findings: Transforming your Employer Brand

Your organisation can create a compelling and transformational Employer Brand strategy that resonates with both current employees and potential candidates by leveraging the insights gained through EVP research.

Article by Simon Druery

Simon Druery is Director and Brand Strategist at Belong Creative. What gets him jumping out of bed each day is helping business owners and marketers craft brands that people want to belong to. When he’s not working you can find him travelling Australia in the family caravan and enjoying a tawny port by the fire.