Often when thinking about creating an employer brand, we immediately think about how it looks. We may focus on a logo or the type of font to use, since this will be what our employees and our prospective employees see first. But to have a strong brand, it has to be more than a pretty face—more than just good looking. It has to have some personality.
The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is how you can put life into your employer brand. It is the employment deal that defines what an employer expects from its employees and what it will uniquely provide in return.
So before you rush off to the drawing board, take these steps to develop a meaningful value proposition so you can deliver on your brand promise.
Step 1: Dig
Before you begin building your EVP, take a good look at what your company offers employees today. To do this, you need to go below the surface of just offering a paycheck. A lot of employers take a far-too-narrow view of compensation, looking only at the number on the pay stub and not embracing a total rewards perspective. Ensure you define and evaluate every aspect within the total rewards package.
Step 2: Listen
It's not only important to know what you have, but what matters. Continue your research by listening to your employees, either through an engagement survey or focus groups. Listen for:
- Why employees like working at your organization. Why did they join and why do they stay?
- What drives employee engagement? What issues exist that, if improved upon, would help move the needle toward greater engagement?
- Why employees leave. Look at what your employee turnover data and exit interviews tell you regarding issues or existing areas that need improvement.
It’s also good practice to listen to what your competitors are doing. Not so you can do something similar, but so you know how your EVP is different from other employers who are looking for the same talent. Look at your competitors so you know what can make your organization compelling for job seekers.
Step 3: Analyze
The employee value proposition is meant to create the give and get agreement between an employer and employee. To create this, you need to know what employees expect and value. Simply put, think about your target candidates and whether your benefits align with their interests. Analyzing the data you have at this point can help you identify your target audience (i.e., all employees or a particular segment that drives your business). It also allows you to know if you're offering the right benefits. If you invest heavily in a benefit that isn't attracting the talent you need or want, it's time to reconsider that benefit.
Step 4: Decide
Deciding what direction your employee value proposition will take is the next important step in the process. Invite other key stakeholders, such as senior management, HR, and marketing, to dive deeper into your results and can gain further insight on the key themes you saw emerge out of Step 2. Getting this feedback will help you being to solidify your EVP, which brings us to step five: The build stage.
Step 5: Build
Using your research and insight, translate key themes into words and phrases that reflect your company, culture, and values. It could be one statement or a set of pillars that define your employment brand. A marketable EVP is:
- Inspirational. Does it paint a realistic picture of what it’s like to work for your company?
- Aligned. Does it align with your strategic objectives, culture, and brand?
- Differentiated. Does it truly create a competitive advantage for you?
- Simple. Keep these areas focused and don’t try to be all things to all people.
Step 6: Codify To begin implementation, you need to codify or ingrain the value proposition across the entire employee experience. From your recruitment processes from onboarding to career development and even the exit stage. And ultimately, to your employer brand. When your EVP is ingrained in the employee experience, it will start to become second nature and you may even see brand ambassadors emerge.
Good looks can only get you so far. Ensure your brand promise can be delivered on by creating a strong employee value proposition that helps your organization deliver on the employee experience.