Employee Value Proposition: What you need to know

Your employee value proposition (EVP for short) is a key part of building your overall employer brand and helping attract talent to your organization.

Employee Value Proposition Definition

Simply put, your EVP is the reason why employees work at your company. It’s one part what attracted them in the first place, and two parts what keeps them there after taking the job. This concept is so important because it relates to attracting and retaining talent, both of which represent large budgets in most companies.

Understanding EVP through a thought experiment

Think about the last person who tried to sell you something (for me, it was a golf club). Did you ask something to the effect of, “Why should I buy this product?” You want to hear their response to get a clear understanding of what this product is useful for and if you’re a fit. You’ll probably also check out some online reviews, see what the company’s product pages offer in terms of information, and maybe check out social media as well.

“Callaway

In my golf club situation, I didn’t ask something as robotic as “what’s your value proposition?” But, I did ask who this club is right for (I’m a beginner and don’t want something too fancy or hard to hit). I also went online to see the videos the company had put together of people using the club, reviews on various sites, and I checked out the company’s Youtube and Twitter pages to find out more info. I was spending $300 and wanted to know if this was going to be a good decision or not before handing over that much money!

Ok, now let’s think about today’s job seeker. They are used to being able to get all the information on any sort of big decision they make well in advance of making it, whether that’s buying a golf club or finding a new job. Your employee value proposition is the answer to the question “Why do people work here?” And, the best job seekers are going to expect a good answer!

While this question may come up in the interview process, talent is also trying to get a sense for your company brand through social media, your careers site, job descriptions, online reviews, and anything that’s communicated throughout the hiring process.

Specifically, candidates want to know information from their future colleagues around:

  • What drew you to the company in the first place?
  • What skills are you learning on the job?
  • What is the work-life balance like?
  • Why do you stay in your role?
  • What is the work environment like?
  • What is the career path like at your company?
  • How do you define the culture at your company?
  • Why do people leave your company?
  • How would you sum up the employee experience?

While compensation and benefits may make up part of your EVP, much of it will be composed of career development, employee engagement, values and mission, mobility within organization, challenges they’re working on, recognition, and overall culture.

Your EVP varies based on role, geography, and affinity group

Here are some examples of companies’ employee value propositions.

These are clearly high level. And, to start off, most companies EVP looks something like “We’re an innovative company with a collegial atmosphere.” No offense, but this is super generic. The reality is that your EVP and employee experience varies A LOT depending on who you are in the company.

Perhaps you have a role in the Boston office where the culture is very social and many people hang out after work together. Maybe you are in the Atlanta office where people are more family oriented and while everyone gets along at work, time outside the office isn’t spent with co-workers.

“Global

Beyond geography, EVPs vary based on roles too. The EVP for an engineer may be the ability to work on large data sets that no one in the world has access to. For a marketer, it may be a uniquely creative role that has exposure to high level strategy. These are very different!

To complicate things even more, you may have someone who’s interested in why veterans work at your company, which may be very different from LGBTQ.

It’s clear that your company’s EVP can get fragmented quickly.

How to determine your Employee Value Proposition

Ok, so creating a EVP now seems very daunting. How do we create unique EVPs across all these different geographies, roles, and affinity groups? How do we attract and retain the best talent?

In the past, most companies would do yearlong surveys and research, usually contracted out to a third party expert who specializes in conducting these interviews. The idea is to get many answers to why people work at your company, and then synthesize these answers into very digestible marketing messages that are communicated through videos, blog posts, presentations, etc.

While this approach is better than nothing, it falls very short of being a stellar effort. Instead, the best companies are building out content around the value propositions for specific roles. Take a look at Goldman’s career page. This is a company that has an incredible employer brand, and one of the main reasons is that they’ve taken the time to define what’s unique about working here for traders in Hong Kong, interns in London, bankers in NYC, and everyone in between.

Simply, companies that will win the war for talent will have well defined employee value propositions that scale across the many different aspects of their company.

In order to achieve this, we recommend utilizing a recruitment marketing platform with EVP built in, such as NextWave Hire. Through this software, you can quickly survey hundreds of employees across the company with very specific, data driven questions that get at the heart of the EVP and are based on millions of data points from other companies. Using a sophisticated machine learning platform, this data is quickly analyzed to pull out key themes from various groups within your company, along with the specific stories that relate to your company. With the rise of big data and machine learning, this is the most efficient and effective way to define your employee value proposition.

Where to use your EVP

Your EVP is the key messaging that will allow you to attract the right talent. And, this messaging should live in all of the places where you are trying to attract talent including: Inmails, your careers page, emails to candidates (pre, during, and post interview), social media, job postings, on campus presentations, career fairs, etc. Repetition is key to building your organization’s reputation.

“Sexy

The bottom line is that your EVP should be used throughout your recruiting process to continuously sell candidates. Remember, always be closing!

Common pitfalls

Many companies fall into the trap of being too generic with their EVP. Berkshire Hathaway is one of the best known conglomerates in the world. They own everything from candy stores, to furniture manufacturers, to insurance companies. Imagine if they had one tagline for all of these businesses. It would have to be so generic that it would lose all impact, and even be damaging to it’s sub brands. Imagine if Geico, which is owned by Berkshire, had the same tagline as See’s Candy. This is the same as having the same EVP for your marketing role in Atlanta and your engineering role in Boston. If you want something that encompasses all of them, you’re going to end up with an end product that is way too generic.

Beyond generic EVPs, other companies fall into the pitfall of seeing EVP as an exercise to go through every five years. This is simply not the case. In today’s ever evolving economy and business environment, your EVP is most likely changing each year. Why would you wait until you have to update it? Why not stay on top of the pulse of your company? Again, with a solution like NextWave Hire, you can do just that easily and cost effectively.

What are the results of our efforts?

A strong EVP means that your company value proposition is clear to job seekers.
Your employee retention will rise as people join your company who understand that this employee experience, work-life balance, etc are right for them. The job seekers who join your company have the experience they are looking for, and therefore their employee engagement and satisfaction rises. The bottom line is that the right EVP communicated effectively helps your company attract and retain talent.

In Summary

Your employee value proposition is your key to attracting the talent you want. It’s the reason why your current employees keep choosing your company over the competition. It’s vital to get this information in front of the right people.

Assembling this information can be done via 3rd party consultant on an annual basis for a fee, or through software that scalably acquires, and analyzes this information. Regardless of how you do it, the important lesson here is to use this weapon effectively in the war for talent, or get beat by the competition. To learn more about software solutions to help with your EVP, click here.

This post was originally published on the NextWave Hire blog where we write about tips and trends related to employer branding and talent acquisition.

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