I’ve talked a lot in this column about securing the best talent for your organisation and how to behave like an inspiring individual and company to make that happen.
It’s worth bringing together these elements into one place through developing an employee value proposition (EVP) as a useful tool in persuading the best talent to join your organisation – whether that’s via a formal recruitment or employee referral process.
Why an EVP?
An EVP is just like any other value proposition used in marketing (and, of course, successful recruitment hinges on successfully marketing your company or team to potential employees) in that it is all about a promise and engendering a belief in the candidate that it will be delivered and experienced.
Looked at another way, it is essentially a standardised shorthand both for all the reasons any prospective employee might work for a particular company and a way of ensuring a good fit between employer and employee
It is designed not only to attract new talent, but to retain and motivate existing employees and be a tool for their advocacy. That being so it needs to be accurate, truthful and transparent in order to manage expectations. There’s nothing more divisive than a proposition that bears no resemblance to reality on the ground.
What should be in an EVP?
An EVP can cover abroad range of information, from culture to salary, long-term vision to workforce diversity. Short or long, it should reflect the essence of the company whilst seeking to extend the company brand and appeal, aligning values. enhancing engagement and increasing commitment of employees. In doing so, it should increase employee referrals as well as build over time a competitive cultural edge that’s hard for competitors to imitate.
Such information when presented in staff handbooks, corporate websites or recruitment micro-sites can range from the straight-forward to the quasi-philosophical. Most of all, though, it should `feel` like the company and complement the skills and experiences contained in job descriptions.
What makes a good EVP?
So, an EVP that accurately reflects the company is vital. But it should involve putting your best foot forward.
Alongside information on your mission and purpose your approach to pay, promotion and performance could be included, As could expectations of employee and management responsibilities, values and characteristics as well approaches to family, fitness and wellbeing. All of which should be both `hard` and `soft` elements that contribute to the experience of working in the company or team. It should also complement the skills and experiences contained in job descriptions.
In terms of standing out, if you were to read Netflix’s EVP then you’d see some distinctive elements that would be sure intrigue any potential candidate. For instance, employees are subject to no holiday or clothing policy and a five-word policy for expenses (act in the company’s interest).
These aren’t just `nice to haves` they align with the first of three key elements of the Netflix EVP – freedom and responsibility, long-term vision and diversity/inclusiveness – all of which when accompanied by clearly-presented written and pictorial evidence serve not only to strongly differentiate the company from its competitors but to reinforce a culture that ensures it achieves its business aims.
How to create an EVP
But, before you put any grand plans into place, it might just be worthwhile you taking a quiet moment to ask yourself how your personal experience stands up as a company proposition that could both have broad appeal and align with company processes and strategy.
You may have a pretty good idea what should be in your firm or team’s EVP, but it’s a good idea, and presents a great opportunity to get useful feedback, to find out if your vision of your firm or team is a shared one.
Some simple questions that might be asked of existing colleagues could include open questions such as
- Why were you attracted to the company/team initially?
- What makes working for the company/team special?
- How do you describe the company/team to friends and family?
- What makes you continue to want to work here?
- Why might you decide to move on?
- How might your experience of working for the company/team be improved?
Compiling the answers may be a useful exercise in shining a light on whether your differentiators are real or imagined when placed starkly on a page. Equally, it may reveal that there are gaps between promise and experience and there is work to do before a useful or more compelling EVP can be produced.
With thanks to FDIN advisory panel Partner, Jonathan Simnett of Big Stick