What’s your business’ point of difference?

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Why would a highly talented employee choose to work at your organisation? What is it that you offer to employees that makes you stand out from the competition when recruiting and is compelling enough to keep your existing talent engaged and in your employ?

As a business you have probably invested a considerable amount of thought as to what your “Customer Value Proposition” is; that clear compelling reason why people should do business with you. Now apply that same thought pattern to your employees and prospective employees; what is the clear compelling reason they should work for you? This is called an “Employee Value Proposition”. In most cases, drawing parallels between customer and employee disciplines is foolish; the relationship with a customer who spends one hour with your business per month making requests is radically different from the employee who spends 40 plus hours per week there. But, over the long term, just like customers, employees do have a choice. It’s in the organisation’s interest to obsess a bit over why they would stay or go.

In case you haven’t yet heard, employee engagement is the key to making your organisation competitive, profitable and successful. In an increasingly competitive labour market, where the best talent regularly change jobs, it’s important now more than ever to identify and communicate your organisation’s unique set of offerings and values to attract top job candidates and retain employees.

If you want your employees to go the extra mile, you have to offer them more than great pay and benefits. When it comes to recruitment, top candidates are often also looking for career development and work that is fulfilling and stimulating.

EVPs differ from one organisation to another, and across industries. The key is to articulate your brand and the values that drive your organisation. Be careful not to oversell or misrepresent staff benefits and conditions; that’s a surefire way to lock in high staff turnover and discontent. And make sure that policies relating to things such as time in lieu, travel and training are clear and applied consistently.

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Writing an EVP is not an exact science, but the following points will help you craft an effective and powerful workplace tool.

Analyse what your employees want, and expect in the employment relationship.

It’s crucial to be clear about why you want to create or adjust your EVP. Having clarity about your core purpose will help you define employee benefits and guide the implementation of your EVP. Ask yourself: “What challenge are we trying to solve?”

Analysis must identify which employees enjoy working with your organisation most and why, as well as what your organisation needs to attract and retain talent. Identify the following:

  • the key reason your organisation needs an EVP, i.e. the current problems and what the EVP will drive
  • who the target audience of your EVP is, i.e. all employees or a particular segment that needs attention, e.g. casuals, young people, graduates, females, etc.
  • what your employee engagement survey data says about why employees like working with your organisation, what drives their job satisfaction and see if there are issues identified that, if improved, would lift employee discretionary effort and motivation
  • what your employee turnover and absenteeism data tells you and how it matches against industry standards, taking note of pockets in the organisation where retention or absenteeism issues are more prevalent
  • what your exit survey data says about why employees chose to leave and what was missing from their employment experience with your organisation

    what your competitors state as their EVP and understand your points of difference

Design an EVP

Once the EVP elements and themes are established, a draft EVP can be designed. Insync recommends
you involve a diverse group of employees in the design process, preferably from different team, job level and tenure groups. This drives the buy-in needed to make your EVP authentic and effective. Furthermore, involving employees is a very effective engagement tool in itself.

The EVP should be designed alongside the organisational vision and strategy. This is critical as employees might have identified something that is just not sustainable for the organisation. For example, a theme may have emerged in step one around flexibility. However, it’s no good stating in your EVP that you have flexible work practices if they’re not really that flexible. The EVP and reality must be aligned otherwise it’s a recipe for frustration, cynicism and mistrust.

Communicate the EVP to both existing & potential employees

Even the best EVP is pointless unless it is well communicated to staff and job candidates, both verbally and in written form. It is important to use the right platforms to target different audiences. Make sure your message is consistent across your corporate websites and hiring channels, and that it comes from the top rather than from the HR department.

Reinforce and deliver

It’s not enough to create a great and well-worded EVP that’s properly communicated. The EVP must be “lived and breathed” throughout the organisation. The EVP must be regularly reinforced by all levels in the organisation and across all departments to ensure it truly becomes part of your organisational DNA.

Not only should senior leaders be equipped to drive the EVP throughout the work environment by walking the talk, employee champions should also be identified to operate as genuine brand ambassadors. By sharing their thoughts and experiences of those working within your organisation, the authenticity of the EVP will be reinforced.

Supporting material to complement the EVP should also be developed to assist leaders and employee champions to deploy the EVP throughout all organisational development activities. It’s important that initiatives resonate at the organisational, managerial and individual level.

Measure your success

A critical step often missed following the rollout of an EVP program is to assess the extent to which it has actually made a difference. Ask yourself: have you delivered the promise? And are you attracting the right type of people?

Measurement is as simple as collecting employee feedback at regular intervals. Employee surveys – entry, exit and/or engagement – can measure effectiveness of your EVP. Measures such as employee engagement and satisfaction can be used. Over time, absenteeism and turnover data should also be positively impacted. The time taken to recruit and an increased talent pipeline are recruitment measures that can provide an indication of EVP success. Are the right people knocking on the employment door for the right reasons?

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Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more