How To Develop And Live By Your EVP

What are the top components of an effective and powerful employee value proposition?

How To Develop And Live By Your EVP
Editorial Team
May 19, 2022
How To Develop And Live By Your EVP

In our previous blog “Employee Experience Matters – Your Employee Value Proposition Holds The Key,” we spoke of the importance of employee value proposition (EVP) for employers who want to hold on to existing talent and attract new talent in the age of the Great Resignation and the ongoing war for talent. Here’s a short recap: Employee value proposition is an individual’s journey in an organization from beginning to end, including their interactions and experiences in the workplace, with their managers, and in their own roles. Simply put, EVP defines the value an employee gains from working in an organization. It serves as a preview of what the employee experience in that company will be like, making it an instrumental part of any employer’s retention and recruitment practices.

In the wake of the Great Resignation, the balance of power has shifted from employers to employees. Businesses struggling to keep their workforce happy, engaged, and productive while also hoping to hire the best and brightest in an extremely tight talent market have no choice but to strengthen their employee value proposition. The above mentioned blog lists six ways in which they can do that. However, employers mustn’t forget that an EVP is the sum of its parts. It is made up of many components. Learning and professional development, work-life integration, employee well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are some EVP components that are becoming increasingly important to today’s newly assertive workforce. To develop an effective EVP and provide an irresistible employee experience, employers must pay attention to developing each component to its fullest. Here are some ways to do this, starting with a component that is a key player in today’s war for talent.

1. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)

The Great Resignation has also been called the Great Reassessment, and rightly so. Millions have quit the workforce, primarily to find more meaningful work that aligns with their values. In this context, the Great Resignation has been a positive movement for workers’ rights because it has forced employers to offer their employees a better deal. That’s not all. Some are calling the Great Resignation a period of opportunity for historically under-represented groups such as Black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), women, women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the differently-abled, and so on. They say it has opened employers’ eyes to deeply entrenched workplace inequities such as pay gaps and lack of opportunity for promotions and career advancement.

Take the case of working women, who have perhaps suffered the most due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With schools shut, child care services unavailable, and partners working from home, many women have had to quit their jobs and stay home to look after their families. The choice was made simple by the fact that women earn less than men. Two years into the pandemic, the unpredictable nature of the health crisis is still preventing many women from returning to work. In the United States, women’s labor force participation was 57.5% in November 2021, the lowest since 1989. It need not be this way. If they choose to, employers can reverse this trend by evolving their employee value proposition to focus on specific demographics (women in this case) and offer them what they need from their place of employment. Motivation at work, job satisfaction, work-life integration, and burnout are major pain points for women, says Deloitte’s Women @ Work 2022 report. By offering equal pay,career advancement opportunities, and mentorship programs, employers can help improve motivation and job satisfaction among female workers. Flexible schedules, including the freedom to pick one’s own work hours and location, can bring about better work-life integration. And bias training, opportunities for peer networking, and a culture that genuinely supports speaking out against sexual harassment and discrimination can offer women the support they need to better assimilate in what is usually a masculine work culture.

As in the case of women, a company’s EVP can be segmented to cater to different demographics. It can include remote work options for Black employees, who reportedly feel a greater sense of belonging and inclusion in remote settings rather than on site. Similarly, an EVP that delivers flexible schedules and increased use of technology is said to benefit employees with disabilities. As you can see, a strong EVP can be a valuable DE&I tool.

Learnit offers many Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshops that can help employers and employees bring a positive change to their workplaces.

2. Professional development & learning

For today’s workforce, targeted learning that helps them improve their skills and gain more knowledge are a top job attraction. A recent study says 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. Recognizing this, 67% of the HR leaders surveyed in that study reported an increase in their learning and development (L&D) budgets for 2022. By offering quality training in a targeted and consistent manner, employers stand to gain a skilled workforce that contributes to business success. However, the L&D component of a company’s EVP must not only focus on providing relevant training. It must also take on the responsibility of preparing employees for greater responsibilities and promotions within the organization and offering them opportunities for internal mobility (which is the movement of employees across roles within the same organization).

Different individuals have different training needs at different stages in their career. When an employee receives the right training at the right time and place, it greatly improves their employee journey. For example, new recruits who receive on-the-job training have a more memorable onboarding process. This is important because research suggests that 20% of new hires quit in their first 45 days and 88% of companies have less than perfect onboarding practices. Given the current talent crunch, employers can use learning and development as an effective tool for retention and recruitment.

Similarly, employers can offer coaching programs for employees to learn new skills and functions or gain more experience. Learning from more experienced colleagues will not only satisfy an individual's need for continuous learning, it can be instrumental in taking their career on the path that fully capitalizes on their talents, interests, and objectives. A company that promotes learning through mentoring and coaching can be a huge attraction to younger employees who are especially hungry for lifelong learning. Though relative newcomers to the workforce, 76% of Gen-Zers see learning as critical to their career growth.

While on the subject of learning, L&D leaders mustn’t forget that a large section of the workforce  today is hybrid, with some working remotely and others in the office. There is also no such thing as traditional work hours. This can make it a challenge for employers to provide targeted training, but nothing that cannot be overcome by using a blend of learning methods. When employers offer their staff multiple options such as online learning, traditional classroom teaching, and self-study, it makes the training more interesting and less like a chore. For example, employees who cannot get away from their jobs for a week-long classroom session will surely see more benefit in microlearning, which is provided in short bursts and can be worked into the normal workflow.

Learnit can help you connect with a learning strategist to develop and implement a successful learning strategy for your team.

Also, read the Learnit playbooks to help improve your company’s training and development strategy.

3. Employee well-being

In recent years, drastic changes in the way we work have taken job stress, burnout, and decline in physical and emotional well-being to record highs. As workloads got heavier during the pandemic, the percentage of people feeling burned out on the job jumped a significant 10% between 2020 and 2021, according to one survey. Due to the stress they faced, 57% of the survey respondents said they now wanted to completely disassociate themselves from work.

In this backdrop, many thoughtful companies have made employee well-being a key component of their employee value proposition. This is beneficial not only to employees but also to employers because well-being is known to improve engagement, productivity, and retention. Engaged employees with high well-being are 59% less likely to look for employment elsewhere and 45% more likely to be highly adaptable to change. To focus on well-being, a company’s EVP must take a more human approach and treat employees not as workers but as people with frailties and needs. It must encourage a culture that treats each individual's life experiences and situations with empathy, understanding, and respect.

One way to care for your employees’ physical and mental well-being is to help them build deeper connections – which is one of the five pillars of a human-centric EVP, according to research and consulting firm Gartner. Companies can provide empathy training for managers with the objective of building trusting work relationships. But connections mean more than just work relationships, says Gartner, adding that family and community connections should also be part of the EVP.

Another pillar of a people-centric EVP is flexibility, which goes beyond where and when people work. It extends to giving employees a certain level of autonomy in the way they work, perhaps by allowing them to take up certain tasks or make some decisions on their own. To help employees embrace their autonomy, employers can help them learn some useful skills such as critical thinking or strategic decision-making.

Other methods to ensure employee well-being include encouraging healthy habits in their personal and work lives, such as getting the right amount of sleep, eating well, and practicing self-care. Emotional well-being is a growing concern today with a large number of younger employees (81% of Gen Zers and 68% of Millennials) citing mental health  decline as a reason for quitting their jobs. Employers can offer counseling sessions and lessons on how to avoid burnout to build their employees’ mental resilience.

Explore Learnit’s full range of Health and Wellness workshops.

You might also be interested in our Whole Health Matters course, which equips you with the tools and knowledge you need to reduce stress and improve work-life integration.

4. Mission, values and purpose

The traditional employee value proposition has always been rooted in financial and career prospects. However, today, it is being shaped by our growing awareness of social and political issues. The rise of the “belief-driven” employee means people today prefer to work for organizations whose values align with their own. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer report, 61% of employees choose, leave, avoid, or consider employers based on their values and beliefs. The report adds that people are eight to nine times more likely to work for employers who demonstrate a commitment to issues such as human rights, diversity and inclusion, gender equality, economic equality, healthcare access, and climate change. A belief-driven employee is also more likely to remain with their company for a long time and recommend it to others. Due to this potential for talent retention, more and more employers are re-aligning their EVPs to focus on mission, values, and purpose. To explain briefly, mission defines the reason an organization exists, what it does, and for whom. Values are the principles that guide the organization and its behavior and culture. Purpose answers the question “why does an organization do what it does?” Ideally, purpose should go beyond profits and extend to the long-term impact an organization plans to have on its customers, stakeholders, and community.

So, how does a company go about making its mission, values, and purpose a key component of its EVP? Here are some examples.

Most employers put up a value statement on their websites. But wouldn’t it be more effective to use this same value statement to make the company’s recruitment and onboarding experience more desirable? Say, an employer is interviewing a candidate who has shown a keen interest in participating in humanitarian efforts as part of their job profile. By explaining clearly, with examples, how they can help the candidate accomplish this, the employer can increase their chance of making a successful hire.

Additionally, companies often promise a diverse and inclusive culture in their value statements. However, they can go beyond mere statements and make diversity an unshakeable part of their EVP and employee experience. Effective strategies to do this include hiring more women in traditionally male areas such as information technology, ensuring that job candidates are interviewed by a diverse panel, and training their managers in allyship, inclusive leadership, and unconscious bias so that they can become the champions of a diverse workforce. There’s no reason not to encourage workplace diversity, given that it improves decision making and productivity.

5. Compensation and benefits

While employee expectations are changing with well-being, flexibility, and opportunities for learning and professional development all ranking high, salary and other financial benefits remain a top attraction. Thanks to the Great Resignation and the war for talent, wages for existing US job holders rose by a record 5.9% year-on-year in December 2021. For those who switched jobs, the rise was 8%, also a record. This is welcome news after the severe financial stress caused by the pandemic. However, the compensation component of a modern employee value proposition must go beyond attractive salaries. People today want transparency in the way organizations reward employees. They want to be assured that they are receiving fair compensation for their work and that their contributions and efforts are being recognized. How can employers provide this assurance? The most important step is to enforce a fair evaluation process that rewards merit and avoids nepotism and favoritism. Senior managers who wish to place such a mechanism in place can benefit from Learnit’s Effective Performance Reviews workshop, which will teach them to offer unbiased, fact-based evaluations and review performance based on clearly outlined expectations. When the review is fair, so is the compensation. Effective feedback is an essential part of any evaluation process because it improves performance and motivation. Employers must ensure their managers have the skills to provide respectful and growth-oriented feedback and are also open to receiving feedback. What’s more, a fair evaluation system is also a powerful tool for employers to correct existing pay inequities.

Apart from salary, companies offer additional monetary rewards such as bonuses. However, today’s employees might find greater value in benefits such as health insurance, stock options, paid leave, and paid vacations, as well as financial assistance in repaying their student loans and planning their retirement funds.

Finally, to sum it up, people today look at the whole package and not just the salary. They place a high premium on benefits such as flexibility, work-life integration, and learning and development, all of which we have discussed above.