How to Create a Strong Employee Value Proposition That Stands Out

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How to Create a Strong Employee Value Proposition That Stands Out

Federica Gentile | Mar 24, 2017

Everyone is familiar with the famed company culture of Silicon Valley’s star companies. Apple’s headquarter’s features seven cafes and a gym. The Amazon campus’s outdoor dog park on the 17th floor. Google even offers free rides to work and massage credits. While it’s no surprise that these companies have excelled in the realm of corporate culture, they also have been extremely successful in attracting top talents. These company’s don’t only understand the value of a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) - they have mastered the art of it. Now, you can too.

Put simply, an EVP is the perceived value of working at your company to prospective and existing employees, based on your company characteristics, public identity, culture and employee benefits. An exemplary EVP differentiates organizations from their competitors, enabling them to attract new talent and retain top employees.


According to the Corporate Leadership Council, EVPs viewed as unattractive require  21% higher compensation premiums to hire employees than organizations with attractive value propositions. To create strong value, you need to understand the wants of current employees and potential hires. Having this organizational insight equips companies with the information required to attract, engage, retain and develop top talent, as well as to identify where improvements need to be made.


To develop and implement an employee value proposition strategy an organization must focus on four key areas:

  • Brand identity
  • Engagement
  • Recruiting
  • HR strategy.

Making the necessary adjustments in these main segments will not only attract top talent but will lower costs associated with salaries and turnover.

Let’s uncover how that’s done and identify some of the organizations currently serving as the business model for a strong EVP.

 

Understand Your Brand’s Identity and Make It Public

Brand identity is the public perception of an organization, it encompasses an organization’s  values, purpose, strengths, and passions. When developing your employee value proposition, you must consider the strengths and weaknesses of your brand identity and begin identifying the audience segments that it speaks to. As a starting point, organizations should consider performing a rigorous analysis of their existing workforce.


The most effective EVPs are derived from combining the needs, values, and sentiments of the key segments of your current workforce. This information can be collected by identifying the talent segments you want to analyze (i.e. top performers, new talents, long term employees, or high-risk) and sending questionnaires about what they perceive to be the value they receive from your company, or the areas in need of improvement.

By obtaining a detailed breakdown of employee answers to these questions in the form of a survey, HR will have acquired a database of invaluable employee generated data to start analyzing and acting upon.

Consider the following, for example:

Segment

Question

Potential Answers

Top Performers

What are your main motivations? (scale of 1-5)


Follow up question: Which motivations do we do the best at satisfying? (scale of 1-5)

Money & Benefits, Autonomy, Work Culture, Work Life Balance, Opportunity for Growth

New Talent

Why have you chosen to work with us?

Economic Offer, Opportunity for growth, Opportunity for travel, International work environment, Location, Only employment offer received

Long Term Employees

Are you actively looking for another job?

Active, Passive

Follow up question (If active):
what are the reasons you are seeking new employment

Personal choice unrelated to the company, economic choice - looking for more money, I don’t see room for growth, I don’t enjoy the work culture

Follow up question (if passive):
Which aspects of your job are keeping you satisfied?

Economic, Growth opportunities, Autonomy, Continued learning experiences, Work life balance, Environment/Culture

All

What social media platforms do you use to interact with people? (multiple choice)

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram

What are you most influential news sources in terms of inspiration and advice? (multiple choice)

Harvard Business Review, The Economist, The New Yorker, New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Local Newspaper, I don’t subscribe to particular news channels only those that catch my eye on social media

 

Tips:

  • Take time to consider the potential scenarios by employee segment and what additional questions you might ask. By asking employees to rank the qualities they value on a scale, you will gain a deeper understanding of main trends.

  • Keep questions and answers direct and don’t allow for too much independent variability in the answers (choices such as: Other, with a manual response) as it will deteriorate the ability to analyze the outcome.

 

  • It is important to consider your own objectives as an HR community and organization. In order to avoid an analysis paralysis, only ask the questions that are going to return you actionable insights toward your objectives!

 

Now that you’ve understood from your own employees what are the things that attract them to your brand and the platforms in which they receive information and interact with the larger digital community - you’ll be able to identify core trends and start putting together an action plan.

 

Engage Your Workforce On The Platforms They Know and Love

59% of employees state that an organization's activity and presence on social media was part of the reason they chose their current employer. An exceptional social media recruiting strategy can not only boost ROI of current recruiting efforts but is an opportunity to display aspects of your EVP to attract top talent - keeping passive candidates engaged and active ones in the loop.

In fact, if social media isn’t a part of the recruiting strategy, you’re missing out on the 57 percent of job seekers that use social media at least once a month to learn more about potential employers.

Job seekers have a desire to understand the inner workings of an organization to better understand the company culture and what work life would entail. Marriott does an excellent job of providing this glimpse into its organization on their Facebook Jobs and Career page.

Marriott Employee Value Proposition Examples

The page was established as a resource for job seekers to find current openings and get a sense of what working for the organization would be like. They even answer candidates questions in real-time in a weekly career chats hosted by the company.

L’Oreal Cosmetics is also a star when it comes to recruiting on social media. They understand the necessity of communicating their brand identity on all social platforms— and have established different twitter handles and LinkedIn pages to create a localized connection to their existing and potential workforce.

EVP employee value proposition strategy

Another strategy deployed by L’oreal is the use of Youtube to convey it’s humorous, light-hearted and fun work environment.

After you’ve collected your database of employee generated data, you will have grasped a more clear understanding of what platforms your workforce uses to communicate, in addition to the things that they value most about your company. Now you have to put it into action.

Working together with you marketing counterparts, you can begin to craft the brand messaging that reflects the EVP your own employees have already revealed you to have. This will allow you to put a digital recruiting strategy into motion, leveraging upon the platforms that they identified as the most relevant.

Once your digital recruiting strategy is defined, you’ll be able to start measuring it’s performance. Brainstorm with your team to define the KPIs that will serve as clear indications of the performance of your efforts. Here is a good baseline:

    • Engagement
      Engagement is about quality over quantity. By assessing engagement, you’ll be able to understand how are your audience is receiving your content and whether or not you need to rework your messaging, test new and innovative contents or change your overall tone.

      Why it’s Important
      Engagement serves as an indicator of your overall social media health and growth potential, letting you know if your strategy is working or needs revision.
    • Impact & Segment Analysis
      How many people are you reaching, where are they from, what level of education and years of professional experience do they have? Understanding your audience is going to help you identify that you need to, for example, acquire a followers group of more experienced professionals to appeal to. And of course, this will impact your messaging and strategy!

      Why it’s important
      If 90% of your follower database are high school students, your social media recruiting efforts are going to take an extremely long time to show a return on investment (ROI).
    • Return on Investment
      Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to know if you are receiving new qualified applicants from these initiatives. A social media strategy doesn’t come at zero cost, and so you must ensure your efforts are worth the investment and back that up with data - or consider a new approach.

      Why it’s important
      All actions invested upon by an organization should generate positive outcomes in return; investing in a social media strategy is no exception.


By analyzing social media recruiting channels, companies can determine which platforms result in more valuable applicants and how to appeal to those applicants.

There are several different tools that can assist you with this process and your choice of which to adopt depends significantly on your organization’s overall strategy for growth, innovation and talent sourcing. Applications like hootsuite can be useful to an organization with a limited budget, while adopting a platform that integrates with your existing information systems will provide a more robust view of your social media performance. The latter is usually connected to a company’s marketing platform, therefore your first step might be to engage your marketing team to obtain more information internally.

 

Recruit Talent Reflective of Top Performers

You’ve analyzed your workforce. You’ve determined your EVP. And now you have put it in motion on social platforms and publication channels (which you are continuously monitoring, analyzing and using to improve!) - Now you want to recruit the people who value your EVP, particularly: those who have the traits of your high performers.

A better understanding of what is necessary to attract top talent requires revisiting the survey data found in the brand identity study. How did exceptional employees communicate? On which social media platforms were they most active? Where did they get their motivational news and information and which company benefits made them stick around? These answers should be used in recruiting efforts to attract new talent and build a solid foundation for EVPs.

To make your job easier, you should be tracking this information as part of an ongoing process in order to build up a database of historical information and trends, along with real-time views of your employee composition on demand. Several cloud based applications are available to support HR in achieving this level of flexibility and insight, and can be launched in your organization in just a matter of months. To learn more on this topic, check out our previous blog: Cloud recruiting for the data hungry HR Officer.

 

Aligning HR Strategy to your Organizational Goals

When initiating an EVP strategy, it is the human resources department's main function to select, find and develop talent in the direction the business is going.

The automotive industry's vision of revitalizing Detroit is a prime example of how organizational goals impact HR strategy and the EVP.

Ford Motor Company, one of America’s largest automakers has set out to revive Detroit by attracting top talent to futureproof automotive technology.

"It's a very exciting time at Ford because we are transitioning from an auto company to an auto and a mobility company,"  Ford CEO Mark Fields expressed to Business Insider. "Mobility for us, at the very simplest level, is to allow people to live, play, and work where they want. How do we help enable them to get around to do that? And there's a lot of talk around technology companies disrupting the auto industry. Our approach is very simple: We're disrupting ourselves."

Fields message to Silicon Valley and the talent market is clear: We’re hiring top technology talent, too. We are disruptive and innovative, too. Work with us if that’s what you value.

And we’re not surprised that their social media and hiring campaigns reflect this message as well:

FORD Company Culture.jpg

Ford Company Culture Employee Value Proposition.jpg

So what’s the rush on creating your Employee Value Proposition?

There are an abundance of benefits to creating an employee value proposition strategy. A strong EVP not only distinguishes an organization among its competitors, it assures that the organization stands out to the types of talents that have a true match to the company’s culture and values. In addition to improving talent acquisition, well executed strategies keep employees satisfied, boost productivity rates and improve talent retention.

As Chief People Officer of Hubspot, Katie Burke, writes in her blogpost “Why Culture Doesn’t Just Happen”: “For companies where culture is truly a competitive advantage, it’s not an HR priority; it’s a business priority.” In today’s highly competitive market, where digital has brought upon a skills gap for many industries who are striving to innovate their business models to meet the needs of the changing of the times, acquiring and retaining top talent is not only a priority- it’s a necessity.

 

Next Article: Employee Compensation Model 

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