Employer Branding
5 min

Employee Value Proposition:key to better recruitment

Post by 
Salini Sasidharan
August 20, 2019
Employee Value Proposition:key to better recruitment

It’s a war for talent out there! It is not just a figure of speech.  In 1997, McKinsey Quarterly online journal introduced the term “War for Talent”.  The journal predicted an immense competition in the recruitment sphere to acquire and retain top talent. Even after 22 years, the war for talent is still real and gripping.  So, what can help you win this war? A clearly defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is your best ammunition.

“If your EVP is strong, that’s key to winning the talent war,” Thomas O. Davenport - Senior HR consultant and Author


competitive advantage with right EVP Designed by ijeab / Freepik

What is Employee Value Proposition?

There is no free lunch!

Every company pays some kind of compensation to employees. In theory, every organization has an EVP  - even though it is not planned or designed. However, it is important to clearly understand the meaning of EVP to use it to the full potential.

Employee Value Proposition is the total rewards that an employer offers to an employee  as a compensation for his/her work.

However, EVP is not just monetary compensation. It includes a broad umbrella of benefits for the employee. EVP include tangible components like financial benefits. It also includes non-tangible components like work culture and career growth.

Do you have a great cafeteria that serves Kopi luwak? Then, it also could go into your EVP!

Any unique element you can think about your organization should be included in an EVP. A clearly defined EVP is like a magnet. It can attract top talent and improve your organization's brand value.

How does candidate see Employee Value Proposition?

Assume that Bob is a top performer and looking for a change. He has interviewed with different companies. Bob has two similar offers. He is in a dilemma to choose the right employer. In one of his offers, there is a comprehensive description of all the benefits he is going to receive. It tells him about the monitory benefits along with his projected career path, about the great teams he would be working with, the organization culture, work-life balance and the flexibility of working hours. However, the second offer gives him just a plain, boring account of his salary break up.

Which company would you think he will choose? Of course the first one.

What influenced his decision? The first organization's clear definition of EVP helps Bob to envision his future experience. When he knows what to expect, he feels to have more control over the situation.

How a clear EVP benefit your organization?

Most of the great organizations have their a clear definition for EVP. Here is what the famous sports brand Nike offers:

"When you join NIKE, Inc., you’re part of the family. To inspire greatness inside and outside work, we invest in our culture and offer employees competitive health, financial, security and work-life benefits."

Here are a few benefits of having a clear definition for EVP for your organization.

  • It is critical in attracting, engaging and retaining quality talent.
  • Improves the brand value of the organization and project it as a great place to work.
  • It can give you a competitive advantage when a candidate is trying to make a decision.
  • Help you hire the best talent whose values align with that of your organization.
  • Organizations with effective EVP enjoy a higher level of employee engagement and commitment.
  • Reduce employee turn over - When an employee joins with the clear EVP, there is less chance for disappointment.

What are the essential components of a well-defined EVP?

Components of EVP may not be always tangible

Components of EVP may not be always tangible - Designed by macrovector / Freepik[/caption]

From the perspective of a job seeker, an ideal EVP should have a few essential components.

Monetary benefits

Salary, bonus, stock options, health, and medical benefits and paid time off are the major tangible rewards that a prospective employee looks for. It can also include small things like a toll tag, reimbursement on phone and periodicals. It all adds value to the EVP of your organization

Career growth and opportunity

While money is important, it is not everything. As per the LinkedIn survey, 87% of employees value learning and personal development the most. Most of the top talent is in constant search for improving their career path. A well-defined EVP should emphasis the opportunity of career growth for a prospective employee, just like the Services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers  defines their EVP

"From empowering mentorships to customized coaching, PwC provides you with the support you need to help you develop your career. You’ll work with people from diverse backgrounds and industries to solve important problems. Are you ready to grow?”

Career growth promise is part of EVP

The promise of career growth is an essential part of EVP - Designed by Makyzz / Freepik

Quality of  work

Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer rightly pointed out in 1998 in HBR, People work for money, but they work even more for meaning in their lives. Employees yearn for challenging and meaningful work. Hence, your organizations EVP should highlight the quality of work. It would be great if you can specify what an employee can expect on a good day at work.

A good team dynamics with the right people

Teams play an important part in any employee's overall job satisfaction. Candidates often ask "Who will I be working with?" A clearly defined EVP should have the answer to this question. If there is a highly-skilled mentor available in the team, the EVP should clearly mention it. Clear definition of teams can help a prospective candidate to decide if he/she could fit right into your organization. This will, in turn, reduce the chance of employee turn over.

Great teams through employee value proposition

A great EVP includes great teams Designed by Peoplecreations / Freepik

Working for a great organization

If your organization has a great brand value you must include it in EVP. If you are a front runner in your industry and you rightly project it in your EVP future candidates would be more interested. Employees take pride in working for certain companies. Hence your brand value as a "cool organization to work for" should be clearly projected in the EVP

How to define an effective Employee Value Proposition?

As we have seen, designing an effective EVP is crucial to your recruitment process. So, the next question is - How can you define an effective EVP for your organization.

“Brand your organisation as the place to work during recession by promoting an innovative employment value propositions, not standard benefits.” - Professor John Quelch, Harvard Business School

Define the cornerstones of your EVP

What are the key values you are providing to a prospective employee? Is it a great salary? Is it huge benefits and perks? Do you have a great mentorship program? Define the main features of your EVP that is applicable to any prospective employee

Define your ideal candidate

As a recruiter, you will have a view of an ideal candidate. What are those candidate traits you are looking for? When you have defined your ideal candidate, you will have a fairly good idea about what the candidate's expectation out of the job

Customize the EVP to fit the different open position

From a generic EVP definition, highlight and customize the values that could attract  an ideal candidate for an open position. Please note that you aren't tampering with your original values, but just emphasizing specific aspects and tailoring the desirable benefits for different candidate personas.

Publicize your EVP and associate it with your brand

Once you have strong EVP, the next big step is to make it famous. You need to constantly put forth your value proposition plan through various media like - job advertisements, press releases, promotional blogs. Make sure that your EVP stands out and always associated with your brand. You should use your social media channels to promote your unique EVP. Promotional videos, just like this one by BMW is a great way to promote and publicize your EVP.

Living up to your EVP

It is great that you have a good EVP and you start attracting talent with it. However, it is important to constantly seek feedback from your employees. The organization need to make sure that an employee actually gets what is promised on the EVP.

"Only four out of ten employees believe their organisation deliver a strong EVP"(Source: Corporate Executive Board, Delivering on the Employment Brand Promise, 2008)

How Dell created a compelling Employee Value Proposition?

Every leading organization in the world has their own signature versions of EVP.  After a series setbacks, Dell the PC manufacturing giant decided to reevaluate their EVP.  Marie Moynihan  - the senior VP of global talent acquisition set out to formalize a compelling EVP for Dell. However, she soon realized that Dell didn't have consistency in selling itself as a global employer.

"It was my big 'Aha' moment" she recounts. Even though Dell sold a wide range of products across the continents, they weren't selling themselves as an organization. She involved not only just HR but various stakeholders especially the business leadership to provide their inputs. She tried to learn about their expectation of an ideal employee. The team then took inputs from as many people as possible to figure out what is unique about Dell.

Moynihan  then used a powerful input for drafting EVP - the annual employee survey. Her team looked into what the employees most valued and what made them happy in working for Dell. The survey also helped the team to bridge the gap between the employee experience and the EVP.  As the next step, the Dell team started looking at the EVPs of their competitors. They thoroughly studied the organizations who draw from the same talent pool as Dell. Surprisingly they realized that most of their competitors were selling the same values, making the same promises."How to develop a unique EVP ?" was their next question. The team came up with the key elements of Dells EVP.

How did Dell make their EVP stand out?

The question still existed. How to make the EVP unique, when almost everyone in the industry claim to offer the same thing. Marie Moynihan took the help of her people. Dell empowered employees to post about their life and experience in Dell on their official Instagram page. Once the people started talking about the EVP, it became realistic and authentic. They even created a group of enthusiastic employees  - "Dell Champions". They actively shared their Dell experience on social media.

Employees as ambassadors of EVP

Your employees can be ambassadors of EVP Designed by jcomp / Freepik

Just publicity wasn't the thing. Dell HR constantly worked with the employees to make sure their EVP was relevant and expectations are met.  This is how Dell created a strong, authentic, realistic EVP. They worked all the way from the basic requirement gathering to the maintenance of their EVP.

“The employment brand and EVP should win the hearts and minds of the right candidates by connecting on a rational and emotional level.” - (o2ideas Blue Paper, “Causality, the art of attracting passionate followers with your employment brand”)

Key Takeaways

  • The competition for attracting and retaining the right talent is ever increasing.
  • A clear and compelling Employee Value Proposition can help your recruitment process.
  • A real and authentic EVP helps to improve your brand value and diversity
  • There are several components to an EVP - money, culture, experience, people and career growth
  • You need to follow a systematic procedure to draft, practice and advertise your EVP.
  • Your EVP should be authentic and rooted in reality. If you promise it, you need to deliver it.

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