Creating a unique and effective employer value proposition (EVP) often requires a significant investment of money, time and effort.
Despite this, a messaging gap often exists between those EVP investments and the recruitment and retention of talent, often due to poor internal communication across the workforce.
Craig Johnson, a partner at Mercer in the firm’s Workforce Communication & Change group, says that regardless of who develops the employer value proposition specifics, in many cases these values are not put into action.
“The EVP may be finished but often it’s not filtered throughout the organization very well,” he says. Typically, from an internal communication perspective, Johnson says even organizations that have very strong EVPs fall flat in getting the value proposition message out to both recruits and current employees.
“Creating an employer value proposition is just the beginning,” he says. “You need to nurture and filter it throughout the organization. Most of all, you need to offer and communicate strong examples of what it actually means. “
A major success factor is having an internal communications strategy that makes EVP’s “come alive” in your organization. Johnson explains, rather than using a long video of the CEO to communicate an EVP, a more effective approach is offering your employees brief (two minutes or less) videos featuring everyday employees exemplifying behaviors that align with the company’s EVP.
“That’s someone they can identify with and that’s the behavior they can understand and emulate,” he says.
Whatever internal communication strategies and platforms you deploy, tech-based or otherwise, don’t try and conquer the world, Johnson advises. Instead, use smaller snippets of information rather than trying to communicate an entire EVP, which many times will have a dozen or more data points tethered to it.
The Human Element of EVP
Nate Regier, co-founder and chief executive officer of Next Element, a global advisory firm specializing in building cultures of “compassionate accountability”, says that apart from elements such as videos, emails, intranet pages, and print materials, there is the human element to driving home the employer value proposition message.
“Employees want to feel heard, participate in results, and know they are part of something bigger than themselves,” Regier says. He offers three key components – openness, resourcefulness, and persistence – as a way to close the EVP communications gap.
Regier says leaders must “show their cards,” share their motives and create a safe space for people to be themselves. It feels vulnerable to many leaders, and it’s exactly what employees are looking for – a real connection with a real person.
This means creative problem-solving that “empowers instead of rescues,” says Regier. Leaders who look to leverage all the resources around them towards a common EVP foster an environment of curiosity and healthy risk-taking.
Here, it comes down to consistency between word and deed. The best leaders follow through on promises and ask others to do the same. Consistency and alignment are critical to engagement for both recruits and employees. For example, don’t say you are a “family friendly” company in an EVP if that’s not really the case. It will backfire.
“All three of these skills are necessary but not completely sufficient to build relationships that boost and communicate the EVP,” he says. “Great leaders balance each one, know when to use them and mentor others to do the same.”
For more information on closing the EVP communications gap, go here.