Understanding Employer Value Proposition

If you have read articles or listened to webinars and podcasts on employer branding, you are probably familiar with the term Employer Value Proposition or EVP, or sometimes, Employee Value Proposition or Employment Value Proposition. No matter what you call it, your EVP is a crucial piece of your workplace happiness puzzle since it helps you to attract and retain the right talent.

Let’s determine first what we mean by employer value proposition.

In a nutshell, a well-defined employer value proposition answers the question “why would the top talent want to work here?” It embodies the unique and authentic value that you offer to your employees and involves the elements that make your current employees stay with you and attract future talent to join you. These elements may include your culture and values, career development opportunities, or anything else unique and authentic that your company has to offer to the hard-working employees.

Why should organizations define their employer value proposition?

It has been shown that having a well-defined EVP can benefit your organization in many ways. These include increased attractiveness of your organization to potential candidates when candidates can clearly see why they want to join your organization rather than for your competitor, greater commitment of your employees when they know why your organization is a better place for them than your competitor, and compensation savings when that why goes beyond the paycheck. If you think about it, all of these benefits will also lead to cost savings for you. Increased attractiveness to potential candidates reduces your recruitment costs, more committed employees are more productive and also help you decrease turnover costs, and you can earn compensation savings when the money is not the main motivator on why the top talent wants to work for you.

Despite the evident benefits and associated cost savings, most companies today don’t have a defined EVP or even fully understand what it is. In fact, while doing research for this article, I had a hard time finding examples of great employer value propositions. Either the companies I researched didn’t display their employer value propositions on their careers pages and social media sites, or the propositions were so broad and general that they could belong to any company out there.

So what makes a great employer value proposition?

As you probably know by now, a great employer value proposition answers the why-question. Why does the top talent want to join you and stay with you rather than go work for your competitor? In order to provide a satisfactory answer to today’s talent that so easily sees through fake statements, your EVP needs to be fundamentally two things: it needs to be unique and it needs to be authentic. Let’s take a look at some good examples of employer value propositions to get a better understanding:

Through sport, we have the power to change lives.

Sport is central to every culture and society and is core to an individual’s health and happiness. We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives. We work every day to inspire and enable people to harness the power of sport in their lives. Everything we do is rooted in sports.

We aim to create an environment that is inspiring and filled with creative energy. We focus on five beliefs and qualities that we want our employees to feel, see and experience with us as an employer.

Adidas

Do your life’s best work here now. With the whole world watching.

The people here at Apple don’t just create products — they create the kind of wonder that’s revolutionized entire industries. It’s the diversity of those people and their ideas that inspires the innovation that runs through everything we do, from amazing technology to industry-leading environmental efforts. Join Apple, and help us leave the world better than we found it.

Apple

As you can see, both of these companies answer the question why the top talent should choose to work for them. At Adidas, you get the chance of changing people’s lives through sport while at Apple you can revolutionize industries and make the whole world a better place. These are some pretty impressive whys.

So they nailed their whys. What else makes a great employer value proposition?

You’re right, it needs to be unique and authentic. Do you think Adidas’s or Apple’s value proposition will appeal to every person on Earth? Probably not. Not everyone is attracted by the opportunity of changing lives through sport or want to have the entire world watching while they do their work. And that is what makes these EVPs so powerful. It is way worse to have an employer value proposition that could belong to any company and appeal to any person, than having a unique promise that truly reflects the value that your employees experience and attracts and retains exactly the right people.

When it comes to the second characteristic, authenticity, very similar basic principle rules for your EVP as for your company culture: it needs to be built on reality. If your employees don’t experience your EVP or your candidates find a different kind of reality than the one that was promised during the hiring process, your value proposition can quickly turn against you. The most efficient way to define an authentic EVP is to involve in the process the people who directly experience it, your employees. The more diverse group you create to work on it, the more likely you are to define an employer value proposition that truly reflects the value that your employees experience. Now, while the EVP needs to based on reality, this doesn’t mean that it couldn’t include some aspiration or mission that has yet to become reality. For example, Apple offers their talent the chance to “leave the world better than we found it”. This is obviously a work in progress but it gives the employees something to strive for together.

If you can create an authentic and unique employer value proposition that tells the top talent why they should work for you, you will not only attract and retain this talent better but also reduce the associated costs. Want to know exactly how to define your authentic and unique proposition? Then stay tuned by subscribing to receive the freshest posts straight to your inbox by clicking “follow” in the footer or by following The Happy Works on LinkedIn! We will be going into more detail in future articles.

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