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Wondering what an employee value proposition (EVP) can do for your business? It’s a bit of a HR buzzword, but when done well, an employee value proposition can be vital in attracting and retaining top talent.
At a time when we’re still navigating a post-pandemic work world, recruitment is harder than ever and employee trends like ‘quiet quitting’ are becoming commonplace, it’s never been more essential to communicate the benefits your workplace can offer. And this is where an employee value proposition can help.
So what is an employee value proposition? Does every business need one, and how should you create it? Let’s dive in…
What is an employee value proposition?
An employee value proposition communicates the ‘value’ and benefits that a company provides their employees in exchange for their time, performance in the workplace. This can be used to promote employee engagement as well as a branding and recruitment exercise, for attracting new talent. A great employee value proposition will be aligned to the purpose and strategy of the organisation and nurture behaviour and performance that is aligned to values.
An employee value proposition is a strategic approach to building a benefits package and then communicating that - both internally, and externally. EVPs (employee value propositions) allow companies to remain competitive, regardless of their size, and demonstrate creativity in how they’re listening to employees’ needs. A good EVP will be motivating and attractive; it should clearly outline how talent can be expected to be rewarded for outstanding performance, quality skills and capabilities - quantifiable and otherwise.
Have a flexible working-from-home rhythm? This is part of your employee value proposition. Retention bonuses and early finishes in summer? Also part of your EVP. A strong diversity and inclusion culture? You guessed it – part of your EVP.
Potential Components of an employee value proposition
There are a number of components to a holistic and well considered employee value proposition.
- Remuneration - Remuneration, compensation, pay. This is a foundational hygiene component of the EVP. Employees need to know what they’re being paid and feel that the exchange is fair based on the task of their role. Pay transparency is becoming more and more valued by employees and organisations need to consider how to communicate remuneration in an appropriate way.
- Benefits - This incorporates cash benefits (bonuses, commission and long and short term incentives) and non-cash benefits (the ‘perks’).
- Career development - Growth within the organisation and beyond. Great learning and development for employees will focus on technical and human skills, aimed at moving them towards their career goals and aspirations - not simply ticking boxes in the organisation’s capability matrix.
- Happiness and wellbeing - Happy humans make happy employees.
- Purpose - Connecting employees to the purpose of the organisation addresses an emotional need for fulfilment and satisfaction.
It’s important that leaders consider what they can do in the context of their budget and capacity. EVPs are not only for big corporate companies - in fact, some of the most compelling EVPs are developed with organisations that are for-purpose. They tend to be clear on their identity and attract talent who are aligned to purpose, so developing a benefits framework that reinforces that purpose makes sense.
Why is an employee value proposition important?
It’s important to clarify that an EVP should not be a thoughtless list. The whole strategic element of creating an employee value proposition requires you to conduct research; ask your talent what is important to them, what motivates them, what are their attitudes towards how they are currently rewarded, represented and celebrated.
This is what makes an employee value proposition important. It allows companies to give their employees exactly what they want, rather than making assumptions.
Conducting this research is also a positive signal throughout the company. It shows talent how invested a business is in their employees, their progression and what they receive in exchange for the work they do. One of the most important components of an employee value proposition is also how it is communicated throughout the organisation:
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%.”
Still wondering why it’s important to have an employee value proposition? Here are some top line benefits:
An EVP is a great asset when recruiting as it tells a candidate precisely what they’ll get in return for working with you. There are plenty of ‘standard’ or unresearched EVPs that you’ll often see listed on job ads i.e. “our greatest strength is our people” or “we value hard work” but by having an EVP that’s individual and tailored specifically to the rewards, benefits and type of work culture you’d like to instil, the proposition becomes more appealing. A well developed EVP can make companies first-choice for candidates in their market - it’s one step closer to becoming a ‘destination’ company.
Improve your employer brand
While there is a definite distinction between the two, an employee value proposition can help to improve your overall employer brand. An employer brand refers to a company's reputation with the wider world. And when employees and potential employees clearly understand the benefits of working for a company (thanks to a compelling and clearly communicated EVP), this is likely to influence everyone else's thoughts about how you do business and what it’s like to work for you. Today, employers should be conscious of how their brand and reputation is being discussed on job review sites and apps, such as Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn.
Produce genuine candidates
It is vital that your employee value proposition is authentic and specific to your company. By communicating exactly what it would be like to work for your business, you’ll attract genuine candidates who share the same core values and are likely to have greater success within the organisation. Similarly, those who don’t align with your EVP will be less likely to apply.
Retain good talent
In the world of talent management, attracting top talent is only half the battle. The other half, and arguably the more critical one, is retaining that talent. Once you've succeeded in bringing onboard top-notch individuals, the last thing you want is to see them walk out the door. This is where a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) comes into play as your secret weapon for retaining valuable employees. It ensures that your employees feel valued and appreciated, reducing turnover and the associated costs.
Builds positive culture
An EVP demonstrates to employees what the company values; it will encourage progression and help to set clear expectations for performance management. All of these elements work towards building positive employee relations and a supportive workplace experience.
Driving Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the foundation of a thriving and innovative workforce. It's the spark that ignites creativity, productivity, and commitment among employees. An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that harmoniously aligns with your company's mission, values, and culture can be the driving force behind elevated levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more productive, creative, and invested in the success of your organisation.
In the world of business, performance is the linchpin upon which success hinges. High-performance employees are the driving force behind an organisation's growth, innovation, and competitiveness. A well-crafted EVP plays a pivotal role in not only recognising and rewarding contributions but also motivating your workforce to excel. When employees feel that their contributions are recognised and rewarded, they tend to perform at their best. A well-crafted EVP motivates your workforce to excel, ultimately benefiting your bottom line.
You may have noticed the benefits of an EVP are largely interconnected. As a HR agency, we are often contacted by leaders at the c-suite level who have a business problem that they do not understand and cannot diagnose; my best employees are leaving, and we do not understand why.
There could be many reasons for this, but developing an employee value proposition can help rebuild reputations, reconnect communication, build trust, growth-minded culture and attract new talent. An EVP is important because it is an investment into the humans that power a business.
What makes a good employee value proposition?
The team at HumanX have decades of experience working with companies to develop their employee value propositions, we’ve got a pretty tried-and-true framework for developing a good employee value proposition.
A good EVP should be an amalgamation of market research and primary research conducted within the company. The risk of just using primary research is that your employees are not being entirely honest with you (or as honest as they might be, if you weren’t their employer). This disrupts the data but is often unavoidable. It can also mean you can go to market with an underwhelming offering. However, failing to conduct first-hand employee surveys can mean you entirely miss the mark and fail to meet the needs of your existing talent. A good EVP will use both resources.
Similarly, EVPs should meet the needs and expectations of the market. For example, if all companies are offering a work from home arrangement, and a few companies fail to do so, they are not meeting the expectations of the market. They are not a competitive company; it signals to candidates that this business is out of touch with their employees.
Another good feature of an EVP is personality. As we’ve mentioned, they can support company branding, so they should be showcasing the unique qualities and features of an organisation. It’s also something that should be refined and adapted as time goes on to ensure a genuine reflection of the company is maintained – not a ‘set and forget’ process.
Two of the most common pitfalls to avoid include:
- Under-selling the non-cash benefits and signals of your culture that differentiate you as an employer
- An EVP that isn’t accurate and sells an experience that doesn’t align with reality
At HumanX, we care about the humans that your EVP will support. Our employee retention consultants understand how crucial a strong employer brand and EVP are to the success of its company and people. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our HR consultants to discuss developing your company’s employee value proposition.
How to create an employee value proposition?
To get started creating an employee value proposition, consider these steps:
- Get feedback from employees – Gather input on what your business’s current qualities are, plus the motivations and behaviours of your current employees. If you need assistance running a survey or focus group, our outsourced HR experts can help.
- Conduct market research - Who are the ‘destination’ or ‘first choice’ companies in your industry. Alternatively, which organisation’s values do you admire and look up to? What are they offering? What is available on job review sites? What data has been conducted in your industry.
- Strategise - Collate this information and prioritise which benefits you want to include in an EVV. HR business partners are able to support at this stage; often, a company cannot offer every single benefit there is. As HR experts with a focus on workplace experience, we help companies make informed, data-led decisions.
- Communicate – Once it’s ready, make sure to communicate your EVP with the entire company; and externally. You’re going to need a unique HR strategy for each audience. Everyone needs to know why it’s so awesome to work at your company!
- Feedback, evolve, grow - Never stop listening to your employees, they really are your greatest asset. If you build a culture of open communication, this will be an easy step. HumanX can help you manage the feedback, evolve processes and grow after you’ve developed your employee value proposition.
Example Companies who are crushing it with their EVPs
After being awarded the ‘#1 Place To Work In Australia’ in 2018, Canva has remained a contender thanks to a great EVP. Some elements of its wonderful work culture and benefits include free breakfast and lunch, relocation benefits, flexible working hours, memberships to fitness studios and more. As of 2021, its net retention rate is an impressive 152%.
As part of the #LinkedInLife EVP, the company has a comprehensive benefit and compensation package, covering everything from childcare to life insurance. Plus, employees get a “paid shutdown” at the end of the year, in which the company closes for a week to celebrate.
Nike’s “Win as a team” slogan could not be more on-brand for a sports-centric company. Its investment in the health of its employees via free access to Nike Sports Centres, fitness discounts, and therapy and coaching for staff and family members aligns strongly with the type of employees they look for.
But if you’re wondering how to improve an employee value proposition without access or budget for such perks, it is still possible. “Employee satisfaction with the EVP increases by 15% when it encompasses the human deal,” reports Gartner. What does this mean? In a sense, using a human-first HR strategy that treats your employees as people and not ‘another number’.
Three ways to appeal to the human deal include flexibility (hybrid and remote working), a shared sense of purpose, and building deeper connections by supporting individuals.