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What Is An Employee Value Proposition And Why Does It Matter?

When it comes to assessing the value of a new career opportunity, employees will evaluate companies the same way they evaluate products. How are companies matching up in the eyes of potential employees?

More companies like Glassdoor are allowing for the honest, open, and uninhibited review of organizations globally. Many employees (both previous and current) take advantage of the unique opportunity to anonymously pick apart or praise companies. 

Organizations may be grateful yet apprehensive of such platforms - the potential to receive both positive and negative reviews from happy or disgruntled team members can be scary! Candidates are quick to peruse platforms like Glassdoor to gain a better understanding of a company's culture and what it's like to work at an organization.

When a company hires and onboards employees who achieve their goals and produce successful outcomes, they undoubtedly look for the same qualities in potential candidates when hiring for other roles

 

"An employee value proposition (EVP) is an all-encompassing offering of what employees can expect to gain or benefit from when working for your company."

 

That’s perfectly understandable; what organization doesn’t want productive, contributive and passionate teams?

But not every company knows how to attract and retain those types of employees - the ones who show up because they want to, not because they need to. What do some of the world’s most successful companies, like L’Oreal or Apple, do to entice the best candidates and retain their top talent?

It starts with an EVP. 

What exactly is an ‘EVP?’

You may have heard of the term ‘value proposition,’ which refers to the key differentiator and offering of a company that promises something of value to be delivered to its customers. 

However, a value proposition isn't the same as an EVP. Any organization should design its value proposition with its customers in mind, but the EVP needs to be designed and customized with their employees in mind.

Put simply, an employee value proposition (EVP) is an all-encompassing offering of what employees can expect to gain or benefit from when working for your company. 

Traditionally, EVPs comprise benefits (think: medical or dental), rewards, and ‘perks,’ such as extended vacation days. EVP is one of the most important factors companies have to consider when it comes to the recruitment and retention of employees.  

In the modern workplace, the EVP could include both traditional benefits in addition to elements that positively impact one's work-life balance and professional environment. Benefits can range from remote work options and time-off during the workday to attend fitness classes, to learning and development opportunities, a collaborative working environment, and more. 

Why should you focus on your company’s EVP?

Before considering the 'why' behind an EVP, it's helpful to first look at how an EVP should function.

What an EVP ultimately boils down to is its relatability - a company’s EVP should win the hearts and minds of employees by connecting with them on both a rational and emotional level. 

From a company perspective, that means clearly and consistently relating the values and vision of your company, both with current and prospective employees. For employees, it means looking closely at what you want in and out of your company, and evaluating whether your organization fulfills your personal and professional needs. 

Organizations that proactively focus on an efficient EVP experience between 30-40% more commitment from their teams than those that don’t, which points to one of the most significant and common organizational woes: retention. 

Here are a few stats that may surprise you about the employee value proposition:

It's fair to say that a compelling EVP can assist organizations in hiring the right employees while also reducing turnover. These are two significant challenges most C-suite and organizational leaders face today. 

Beyond those two elements, an EVP is critical for ensuring people want to work for your company. Leaders can no longer ignore that candidates evaluate companies the same way they do products. This forces organizations to dive deeper into what they can offer people as opposed to looking solely at what people can offer them. 

 

"Candidates evaluate companies the same way as they do products, which forces organizations to dive deeper into what they can offer people as opposed to looking solely at what people can offer them."

 

 According to a recent survey from Glassdoor, company mission and culture matter more than salary. So much so, that 77% of adult candidates consider a company’s culture, and 79% consider its mission and purpose, before applying. This is especially true for millennials, which Glassdoor found prioritize culture over salary

Culture is an intangible component of an organization's EVP, and people care about workplace culture, perhaps now more than ever before.  

That brings us to our next point!

What does your company’s EVP need to succeed?

Only 2 in 5 employees believe their current organization has an effective and attractive EVP.

Meanwhile, only 44% of CEOs and C-suite executives feel their company has a managed EVP and are less likely than employees or HR professionals to know whether their company employs it. In contrast, 60% of CEOs believe they are responsible for the overall branding of their organization. 

An EVP needs to be unique, relevant, and realistic for it to help attract, retain, and engage employees. However, like any initiative, an EVP only works if the leadership behind the company employing it also believes in it. 

Don't forget that the EVP is on the employer, not the employee. When employees have the support and tools they need to succeed, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. However, the responsibility of developing a purposeful EVP rests with the organization, not the employee. While the term 'employee engagement' refers directly to the employee, without the resources and encouragement from leadership to succeed, employees can't engage.  

There are a few key elements you can consider when improving your EVP...

Start by asking your employees what they need

Most EVPs revolve around the perceptions, opinions, and feedback of existing employees, and rarely take into account those of past or potential ones. Leaders have to consider what past employees felt was lacking, and how prospective employees may feel. Glassdoor, for example, allows leaders insight into what employees think of a company's culture, salary ranges, development and advancement opportunities, leadership, and more.   

Organizations can start by surveying current employees and asking what types of benefits they need as well as those they would 'like to have' (like fitness passes or free parking). These insights can be compared to what previous employees have said through past surveys or reviews (through platforms like Glassdoor) to streamline the benefits and offerings of an EVP.  

Consider your company’s culture 

Not every employee works or performs tasks in the same manner, nor will every employee need the same thing from a working environment to be successful. Some can function with the bare minimum, while others may find that time for play (such as having a ping-pong table in the office) stokes creativity and collaboration. 

It's important to remember that employee value propositions inherently consider every aspect of what will make an employee want to join, then remain with your company. So, your EVP will need to evolve to accommodate different working styles and needs, based on the type of employees your organization is looking to hire. If you factor this into your EVP, you're well on your way to improving your strategic approach to hiring!

 

"It’s important for an EVP to be unique, relevant, and realistic in order for it to be a key factor in your company’s strategy to attract, retain, and engage employees!"

 

Be flexible and agile 

The best organizations are agile ones, able to adapt naturally and strategically to change as well as the pain points every company faces as they grow and evolve. The same should go for your company's EVP. You'll need to segment and customize your EVP based on the target audience or type of employee you're looking to attract. 

That means being flexible with your offerings and adaptable to the changes and trends in labour markets and workforces. 

Always incorporate recognition

At Kudos, we're adamant about our recognition strategy, and not just because we develop recognition-first software. Recognizing and acknowledging others' contributions and dedication not only improves engagement but motivates employees to do their best work. Recognition should be a cornerstone of any EVP as it is a crucial part of your overall workplace culture. By incorporating recognition into your EVP, both existing and potential employees can see the value in working with your company (because they'll be valued, in turn). 

Development

89% of leaders believe their employees quit because of money. While salary plays a significant role in employees hopping on board, it is no longer the sole deciding factor. Many millennials report development opportunities are a key driver in their decision to join a company. By including development in your EVP, you're signifying to employees that you care about their career trajectory, advancement and promotion!


89% of executives expect an increase in the competition for top talent. With that increase comes the need for organizations to truly stand out among the countless others competing for the best employees. Is your EVP working for your company’s hiring strategy, or against it?

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