By: Caitland Conley
Attracting the best talent pool isn’t just an art—it’s a science, thoughtfully created by organizations who know that retention and employee engagement mean something significant in a job-hopping work culture.
A great Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a distillation of everything you, as a company or organization, can offer your workforce to encourage them to show up and bring their best day-after-day. It’s not just perks or promises of work-life balance, but also a commitment to not being complacent at work.
With a strong employee value proposition, you’ll be aligned and clear on exactly what you can offer to those on the ground, whether you’re a startup of 15 people or an enterprise company of 15,000.
What Makes a Strong EVP?
Your employee value proposition starts before you even hire your first employee. It’s more than a fitness stipend or an office cafeteria. The employee value proposition extends to everything you currently offer your employees—the promise of your brand, the projection of the company’s growth, your investment in continued education, and a strong organizational culture.
A strong EVP doesn’t just state, “We offer PTO!” and hope for the best. That’s the minimum someone can do in a full-time role. A strong EVP understands the reality that employees want a flexible work-life balance, growth in their careers, and to be taken seriously at work when it comes to pay and benefits.
A strong EVP is one that states, “Yes, the company offers a 6% match to the 401k program, provides tuition reimbursement to employees who want continued education, and provides childcare onsite.” When these elements are clearly communicated across the organization, that’s what makes people go, “Oh, I want to work there.” Of course, there’s significant overlap between what makes a great company and a great EVP.
Defining your EVP is both human-centered and data-driven, but will never treat employees as replaceable parts.
You’ll know your organization has developed an effective EVP when word of mouth is one of the best referrals for gaining and retaining talent. If your company has poor health plans and no room for promotions or career growth, you can bet that information and word about your company culture is going to travel. That will affect the types of talent you can acquire (and afford).
More Than Salary
Companies may think that competitive salary and pay is the biggest factor as employees choose their workplace, but it truly depends on the individual employee and their needs. In defining your employee value proposition, you should rely on data to make choices, including HR feedback from past employees to polling the current workforce to get a better understanding of how competitive you are.
You may discover interesting anecdotal evidence about employee productivity and the demoralizing effects that not having a strong EVP can impose on even the most driven and all-star talent.
The criteria for a strong EVP also changes based on the role you’re recruiting for. A senior level or executive level hire doesn’t necessarily need the same things from their employer brand that an entry level hire needs.
You should also regularly monitor your EVP and review its effectiveness year after year. The EVP can help or hinder as you tell the story of your brand. If it’s not clearly defined, potential employees may be confused as to what you can really offer. Recruiters won’t be able to talk your company up for its benefits or perks. If your brand storytelling is weak, you can lose out on getting competitive applicants.
When your company chooses to invest in a holistic employee value proposition, like standardized and predictable time off policies to regular employee surveys and growth initiatives, you’ll tend to see employee engagement strategies start to work better.
Examples of Employee Value Proposition
When you understand what you can offer beyond the bottom line, you’ll manifest your target employee or your target team members along the way. Programs and initiatives like this help a company to stand out:
- Continued education or reimbursement of classes
- Conference attendance and professional development
- Showcasing upward mobility in the company, not just hiring from the outside when bringing in the executive suite
- Offering benefits that competitors don’t offer
- Having benefits and compensation package that mirror your values as a company, not just as a PR move
With employee communication software powering your EVP from the top of the organization to entry level, you’ll have successfully implemented a value proposition that informs your brand story and drives enthusiasm among employees.
We decided early on to make our employee value proposition present when it comes to recruiting talented folks. That’s why our career page lays it all out plain and simple:
“At GuideSpark, we want our employees (aka “Sparks”) to be themselves and use their creativity daily. Sparks never stop learning and growing as people, employees, and professionals. And they actively engage with our mission to transform workplace communications and bring meaningful impact to employees.”
Your employee value proposition should be made clearly in your hiring and onboarding processes. Who wants to be cookie-cutter in a world full of incredible, diverse individuals? That’s why we encourage our team at GuideSpark to always be themselves.
A great company doesn’t stifle communication or limit criticism—it leads the way to an open, honest dialogue that everyone can participate in.
The Importance of the Right Talent
Top talent management and performance management is a lot easier when you’ve already established a culture of engagement and a strong EVP. Employees will understand what they have to lose when they’re checked out or burnt out, and can actively take steps to fix things.
Your most effective EVP is one that seamlessly integrates into your corporate identity. When talent doesn’t resonate with the messages you’ve created and communicated across the board, it’s easier for both the employer and the employee to know when a job is a great fit.
Current employees should also feel valued, not thrown aside every time a shiny new teammate joins the cause. This plays more into culture than your EVP, but it’s important that brand loyalty and commitment are employee values that are clearly communicated.
Improving Your EVP
If your EVP is weak or under-defined, here are tips for how to improve:
- Hold focus groups and survey current employees, asking hard-hitting questions like, “What can we do differently?” and “How can we improve x program?”
- Create website materials that clearly communicate your EVP to everyone—prospective employees, current employees, and the greater world. If public perception of your company is that it’d be a really uptight place to work for, but your workplace is actually really fun and encourages challenging projects, change the story that’s being told about you head-on
- Stand behind your policies, especially when it relates to your brand values. If you donate to certain causes or have programming to involve employees in the larger community, this can all be a part of your EVP.
- Focus on continual development and improvement of existing talent. Just because you have a weak EVP doesn’t mean you have weak talent.
- Write everything down. A written employee value proposition and strategy wins out over a verbal one every single time.
Unsure what you offer or where your true value comes in? Our core values communication and resources drive organizational change for some of the world’s biggest companies.