4 Ways to Write a Winning Employee Value Proposition
“We’re building a company people love. A company that will stand the test of time. So we invest in our people, and optimize for your long-term happiness.” This is the employee value proposition of the international jack-of-all-apps, HubSpot. And at its core, it tells employees that the company prioritizes its people’s happiness.
But an employee value proposition, more fondly known as an EVP, is much more than a simple value statement. It’s also an employer brand image, and a two-way psychological contract between employees and the companies they work for.
Let’s take a closer look at why EVPs are so important.
What is an EVP, and Why Do We Have One?
So, what does EVP stand for? Well, in words, it stands for employee value proposition. But in meaning, EVPs are the complete experience of working at a company. And this experience is a combination of 5 key elements:
- Work: The extent to which tasks and responsibilities are challenging, fulfilling and align with personal career goals.
- Rewards: Meaningful rewards that speak to the needs and interests of employees, including leave, bonuses, training and skills development.
- Environment: Beanbags, smoothie bars and everything else that makes the office a happy place to be.
- People: Healthy relationships between employees, leaders, managers, suppliers and business partners that encourage growth and mutual success.
- Opportunities: Opportunities for career advancement, personal development through formal training and on-the-job learning, and even networking opportunities.
EVPs are fast becoming an important tool for attracting top talent when the competition is rife. Because today, companies don’t just choose who works for them. Today, people have as much power to choose where they want to work, too. And this choice grows larger as online recruitment tools like LinkedIn make jobs around the world accessible to almost anyone, anywhere.
What is the difference between the employer brand and employee value proposition?
Because of this, employer branding has become essential.
Employer branding is how companies communicate their EVP, culture, and values through social media, online reviews, and advertising content. It’s the stuff that makes the right people stand up and say “Wow! That company wants the same things as me, and my experience there will help me fulfill my own purpose”.
Still feeling a little foggy? Well, what better way to explain EVPs than with some of the best employee value proposition examples taken from real companies we know and love.
Real EVPs in Practice
Can you guess what the world’s top 100 most attractive employers have in common? An EVP. This makes the list of inspirational real-life examples of employee value propositions, well, long! But if we have to choose, why not start with the best practices of EVP that come to life in two of the things we love most: technology and coffee.
When it comes to their EVP, Apple is a shining example of a company that doesn’t need to search for talent, because talent finds them! Why? Because this is what it says on their careers page:
“This is where some of the world’s smartest, most passionate people create the world’s most innovative products and experiences. Join us and you’ll do the best work of your life — and make a difference in other people’s lives.”
This EVP is bound to attract and retain people who are smart, passionate, creative, and looking to make an impact on the world.
Starbucks Coffee Company
Starbucks’ EVP inspires growth and connection. They describe the complete experience of working at Starbucks like this:
“Being a Starbucks partner means having the opportunity to be something more than an employee. The possibilities for you to grow as a person and grow your career are endless. To live the Starbucks mission and to be a leader. We offer the opportunity to connect to something bigger, and become the very best you can be. It’s all here for you.”
Besides the obvious focus on opportunities for growth, the Starbucks’ EVP also emphasizes other elements like flexible schedules, competitive compensation, and a welcoming environment.
How to Create an Employee Value Proposition that Wins the Talent War
Developing an employee value proposition that attracts and retains top talent is often an enlightening process. Through these 4 steps for creating an employee value proposition, you’ll discover what makes your company an amazing place to work, and what areas could use some improvement.
1. Define your employee persona
The first step towards understanding what type of work experience you should be creating is understanding who that work experience is for. These are your ideal employees; start with the experience, personality, skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will help drive your company towards its strategic vision.
Many companies need more than one type of employee, because each of them offers a unique set of skills and perspectives. For example, NBC Universal has six target employee segments, including tech and digital talent, non-creative talent, Millennial and entry-level talent, current employees, creative adjacents and diverse talents.
Understanding the type of work experience that would appeal to each of your target segments is a key part of the employee value proposition development process.
2. Listen to current employees
Once you’ve identified the kind of people you want in your company, start with finding out what makes them tick. It’s important to understand the characteristics of a work experience that would make these employees feel happy, engaged and motivated to perform at their best.
You can find these answers by chatting to past or current employees who fit the employee persona. Use exit interviews to understand why top performers leave the company, and what the working experience is lacking that would have made them stay. Focus groups, interviews and anonymous surveys with current employees can also shed light on what employees enjoy about the working experience, and what would make it even better.
Interviews with job candidates can also provide insight into why people choose to apply for job openings at your company.
3. Define your unique EVP elements
Every company’s employee value proposition is characterized by a unique combination of the 5 elements: work, rewards, people, environment and opportunities. Some companies offer high pay, but little opportunity for growth and learning. Others boast benefits like flexible working hours and an on-site gym, but pay market-related salaries.
Just remember that today, most people are looking for more than a fat paycheck or a stable job. They’re looking for growth, development and a culture that supports continuous training. In fact, a recent survey found that people rate opportunities for ongoing training and personal development more highly than salary and other benefits of the job.
So, it’s important to pay special attention to the learning opportunities your company offers when defining your EVP. Taking advantage of a quality learning management system (LMS) that enables employees to learn anytime, anywhere about the concepts most relevant to them can make continuous learning a valuable part of the work experience.
4. Write your employee value proposition
You’ve reached the point where you put pen to paper, and write a strong EVP statement that is:
- Inspirational – inspires people to take action and realize their personal ambitions and dreams.
- Strategically aligned – supports the company’s strategic vision and goals, and helps build the culture and brand that the company is striving towards.
- Unique – describes the characteristics of the employee experience that make the company different from other employers.
- Focused – stresses the most important wants and needs of the most important people (i.e. the target employee persona)
Your written employee value proposition should answer the question: Why would the people we need want to join our organization, perform at their best, and stay with us over choosing a different employer?
While simply having an employee value proposition is all good and well, companies need to be careful of failing to deliver on them. Social media is raw and honest, so when an employee’s actual experience doesn’t meet the expectations they had based on the company EVP, the rest of the world is bound to learn about it through online reviews, social media posts and comments.
This could discourage prospective employees, or give existing employees a reason to start looking for a better experience elsewhere. So, start creating the employee experience you promised in your EVP today!