A strong EVP can help employers maintain a healthy workforce, attract new talent, and tide over the Great Resignation.
People want more out of work than a paycheck. They are looking for meaningful, fulfilling careers. They want their work to bring greater purpose to their lives, not be their entire lives. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation have made this painfully evident with millions of people worldwide quitting the workforce in pursuit of jobs and employers that match their personal goals and values. The result is an astonishingly large number of job openings and a crushing shortage of talent to fill them. The only way companies can survive the Great Resignation and win the war for talent is by giving staff members a rewarding employee experience and promising potential hires the same.
Employee experience is, quite simply, an employee’s journey in an organization. According to Gallup, it includes all of the employee’s interactions and experiences with regard to the workplace, the managers, the employee’s own role in the company, and their well-being. To analyze the overall employee experience at an organization, one needs to look at it through the lens of employee value proposition (EVP). Employee value proposition, at its most basic, comprises everything of value employers give their employees, including but not limited to salary, benefits, training, and career advancement opportunities. From the employee’s perspective, an EVP answers the question: “What’s in it for me?” To build employee loyalty and to attract top talent, it is imperative that employers draft a strong, authentic, and unique EVP.
A common employee value proposition definition you’ll find on the Internet is that it comprises all the benefits employees get for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to the table. These benefits can be monetary, such as salaries, bonuses, stock options, and student loan repayments. They can also be non-monetary, such as opportunities for learning and professional development, flexible work, gym memberships, free snacks and coffee, a healthy work-life integration, even a sense of belonging. If an organization makes its employees proud to work for it, then its EVP has done its job.
The purpose of an EVP, as Gartner puts it, is to help organizations win greater staff loyalty and attract talent effectively without relying solely on salaries. The consulting firm says a strong EVP reduces annual employee turnover by 69% and increases new hire commitment by 30%. On the other hand, a weak EVP can be disastrous – 65% of job applicants in another Gartner study cited an unattractive EVP as the reason they dropped out of a recruitment process. An EVP is, thus, a vital part of a company’s recruitment, onboarding, and retention policies. When it comes to hiring, many job-seekers today are looking to work for companies that share the same values they have. In a survey by recruitment firm Indeed, 21% of new hires said they’d chosen their current employers because their interests and values matched. So, an EVP that aligns with a company’s goals, vision, and mission can be a powerful tool that convinces promising talent to pick that company over another.
An EVP also serves as a commitment by an employer to invest in the professional development and improvement of their employees in exchange for the effort they put in for the company’s benefit. At the same time, an EVP establishes what the employer expects of their employees in terms of performance and conduct. For an EVP to work, employers must keep up their end of the bargain and ensure that the rewards they offer are proportionate to their expectations of their staff.
What do people want most from their jobs? According to Gartner, the five most compelling elements of a strong EVP are:
While these five elements are a great place to start when drawing up an employee value proposition, there is no one-size-fits-all deal. Employers must realize that their employees are a diverse group with their own preferences and opinions and on what makes a compelling EVP. For example, working parents might prioritize remote work opportunities and child care support while new graduates are more likely to value learning and growth opportunities.
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The Adapt or Lose the War for Talent: Why Your Employee Experience Needs an Upgrade survey by HR tech firm Topia found that only 17% of employees rate the employee experience at their company as exceptional. This means there’s a lot of work for employers to do to get their EVP right. Here are six steps employers can follow to come up with an effective EVP:
The first step is to take note of what you currently offer your employees in terms of salary, perks, opportunities, and work environment. Once you have that information, ask yourself a few questions. What are my company’s key selling points? Do they keep up with current workplace trends and demands? Do they set my business apart from my rivals? Since an EVP is as much about attracting new talent as it is about retaining existing talent, you can also list the values and skills you desire in future employees, such as a high level of motivation, experience, leadership qualities, and so on. This will allow you to center your EVP around potentially strong candidates and lead to a successful recruitment and onboarding experience. For example, if you wish to hire a highly motivated candidate, promoting your mentorship programs and the training opportunities you offer might help you convince them to join your company.
The next step is to hear directly from your employees and get their honest opinions on what works and what doesn’t work for them in the organization. For example, what benefits are they most satisfied with? What benefits and opportunities do they wish the company provided? Is the company giving them sufficient professional development support? Employee surveys, focus groups, and even exit interviews are excellent ways to gather feedback from your staff.
Now, use all the information and insights you have gathered to improve your existing EVP. The result should be an EVP that is custom-made for your employees. While it might not be possible to please every staff member, your EVP should strive to strike a balance between offering benefits that target a specific section of employees (such as working parents or a particular ethnic group) and those that work for a larger group of people. Similarly, you can design your EVP to strengthen your recruitment and onboarding processes. For example, if you are looking to build up your leadership bench by hiring ambitious candidates with a keen desire to learn, you might want to highlight the all-paid-for skills development programs, tuition reimbursements, and any other career advancement opportunities your company offers.
Don’t forget to communicate your EVP to your employees and potential new hires, whether it is by word of mouth or through a professional document. Promote it on your company website and social media accounts, during interviews, and on your job offer letters. Your EVP should be clear, concise, and unique so that it helps you stand out from the competition. It should be compelling enough to appeal to job-seekers and make those who are already on the rolls want to stay on with the organization.
Given the drastic changes in employee priorities in just these last two years, it is important that you regularly review your EVP to make sure it stays relevant. At the same time, be careful not to make too many changes too often as this might lead to confusion and create the perception that your company lacks a distinct identity. Carrying out well-thought-out changes periodically (say, every few years) will lead to an effective EVP that remains relevant for a longer period of time and becomes part of company culture (as it should be).
Your EVP should align with your company goals, mission, culture, and even its day-to-day operations. As we mentioned earlier, your EVP should ideally be part of your recruitment and onboarding policies. Similarly, it can be incorporated into other areas such as evaluation and reward systems, business plans, internal communications, and so on. When an EVP becomes an integral part of the organizational fabric, employees are convinced that the company is committed to their growth and well-being. This leads to a positive employee experience and, in turn, helps you build your employer brand.
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