An Employee Value Proposition is quite simply “why would someone work IN THIS BUSINESS?”
You’ve basically deciding what’s good about working here, what’s unique, what’s not great, and keeping it really honest. An EVP (the proposition for employees) needs to be honest and real, otherwise, they’ll find out on the first day of work that you didn’t tell the truth.
Best place to start is with the business and the work. This is a reasonable order —
What is the purpose of the business
- Why does it exist
- The impact on the community, the world, or your customers
What is the work to be done
- How does people’s work link to the purpose
- Products made
- Services provided
How do you work together
- Decision Making and Autonomy
- Service Orientation
- Fun or Not
- How are people treated who work here
What’s unique compared to other places
- What does it feel like to be part of your team
- Are these genuinely unique versus your competitors or places a person could work
From this summary, you end up with a few key points that are your employee value proposition.
If you pick up the EVP on a Page template, you can work through the questions to get the EVP.
Additionally, to do a quick check of where you’re up to – see the Checklist below.
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What is an EVP
An EVP is the Employee Value Proposition.
It’s your promise to every person — both people who work with you already and people who are thinking of joining you or thinking of applying to work with you.
It is the things that are most important to know about the business and the work you’re doing.
It is boiled down to a few key points that are super special and attractive to the sort of people you want on your team. These key points also need to be unique in comparison to your competitors. For example, if you say “we’re really creative and innovative” make sure that’s true compared to other companies in your industry. If everyone is more creative and more innovative, you need to find something where you’re the winner.
The most important aspect of an EVP is that it is real. It can’t just be marketing spin about how you wish it was to work with you. It needs to be what people will actually experience when they join you.
What do you do with an EVP
Your EVP is brought to life through your culture, your leadership, all the people practices (recruitment, talent management, development, rewards) and also in your advertising for new people to join the company. It can as obvious as a poster, but it is also the key points that interviewers use when they’re talking to new people and letting them know how it is to work with your business.
Whether you’re a big company and attracting thousands of people to your business, or a three person company looking for that fourth person to join the team, you need a EVP — an Employee Value Proposition — so you know exactly why someone would want to be on your team and you can talk about those reasons to the people you want to attract.
The things to consider
As you ‘build’ or ‘decide’ on you unique EVP, you need to consider a few aspects of your business. This list is a good start;
Consider the purpose of your business. What’s your Vision for the business? Why does it exist? What do you do for customers or clients? What impact does it have the community? Does it have a positive impact on the community, or even on the world?
This Purpose needs to be honest. If you make guns, then be clear that you make guns and the reason — Defence and/or recreational shooting are both businesses, but don’t pretend to be “world peace”. Likewise, if you’re a soft drink company, say you make soft drinks for entertainment and parties, not that you’re a health food company. Get the heart of what you do (honestly) for clients and customers.
Especially note if this purpose comes to life across your whole company. If you’re a wine company, and you LOVE making great wine, and you love your employees to love to make great wine together, then that’s an important of the EVP. You want people who LOVE making wine as well.
Work to be done
Consider the work being done. What is the actual product you’re making? What is the actual service you’re providing? What work does your team do? If you’re a retailer, how important is the customer and customer service? You probably want great retailers, who love helping customers and selling to them, so that’s an important to include in your EVP. Equally if you’re all about making high quality shoes, then that’s a critical element too. You want people who LOVE making high quality shoes AND you want people who LOVE selling high quality shoes. Both sign up to the idea of being part of the high quality shoe industry.
How you work together
How you work together is really important as well. What are your expectations about how people work together? What are you Values? Is collaboration and teamwork critical? Is innovation important? Is speed important? How are decisions made? Is there a lot of autonomy? If there a lot of accountability? Is there a lot of rules? Is there a lot of policies and detailed rules? Do people work in teams or alone? What hours do you work? And is there flexibility or does everyone work the same way? Do you volunteer or do community work as a team or business?
Your actual workspace is important. Starting with where it is, and whether you have to physically be in the office or you can work remotely. Plus, the actual workspace? Is it modern and roomy and light, and overlooking the ocean? Is it a factory? And if it is a factory, is a super safe and clean factory, or is it a fun team work factory that’s a bit casual and grubby in spots. Do you get an office or a big work space by yourself? Or is a cubicle and everyone moves around a lot talking? This isn’t about selling it, it’s about describing reality.
Few things matter as much as the boss. What is leadership like? Well trained and highly competent? Young and great fun? Experienced and great fun? Serious and very committed to running the business as well as it could be run. Is leadership shared or is it very hierarchical? Are leaders trained in the same skills as the work to be done, or they professional leaders, and rely on the team as experts in the work? Where do your leaders come from? Are they trained in house or do you recruit from others? Are you great at careers and development? Is your business a place where people can really grow and reach their full potential?
Across all those things, you’re looking for great things that are consistent to the industry (e.g., quality food in the restaurant industry) ANY what’s unique (e.g., The only restaurant in your town that’s open for breakfast, so the hours are great for some people who like to play or train sport every afternoon). What are you known as an employer in the industry or in the community? What’s special?
What attracts great people to your team
As you reflect on your EVP, think about why the best people on the team joined your team and what they loved when they first joined. Think about why they stay. If you’re not sure, ask them — “What great about working here?” There will be something in these answers that tell your current EVP. If you’re attracting great people and keeping them, and they’re really committed, then you probably have a great EVP, and you just need to let people know what it is.
Why do great people leave your team
An equally important question as “why great people are attracted to your team” is “why do great people leave your team or business?”. If you’re unable to keep great people, then you need to find out why that is. Now, you either have to change something in your business so that people don’t leave for this reason, or you have to own that that’s a reality.
For example, if great people leave because there’s no parking and the hours are late, so people don’t want to take late public transport, then you either have to change hours, so they are safer, or invest in some parking spots, so people can drive, or you have to advertise for people who live close by, so transport is not an issue.
Defining your EVP in a page
Your EVP is not a two hour conversation or a full brochure. It should be the obvious things. Say, three things that really are awesome (and honest) about the business, and maybe three things that are awesome (and honest) about the actual job and work to be done.
We have a simple “EVP on a Page” template to help you sort through all the detail and get to the two or three bullet points on each topic. You can sit quietly and think it through solo, or you can workshop it with the team. Either way, you can get to great outcomes.
Bringing your EVP to life in your people stuff
Your EVP should come to life, and be obvious, in your culture, your leadership, and ALL your people stuff. If you’re claiming to be fun, creative and exciting, then make sure that’s clear in everything your team experiences every day. Make an extra effort to bring it to life obviously. If you’re all about quality or safety, then make sure that’s part of recruitment, on-boarding, training and leadership. Treat your EVP, a little like you treat Culture — running into everything you do.
“Selling” your organisation or business as a place to work
And finally you use your EVP to ‘sell’ your business to your own team (imagine you’re re-recruiting them every day) and to potential new people, or people thinking of applying to your business. Use photographs that really demonstrate the EVP, simple words, ‘cooler’ versions of the themes said in a few words or a slogan, and think like a marketer. This is your chance to attract, and to retain GREAT people for your team.
© 2017 All rights reserved
mwah. making work absolutely human
Being an expert on EVP, is really like being a great Marketer, or great communicator, and it’s really a combination of both. Knowing your exact brand and how you want people to experience it, and then bringing it to life. The closer the EVP is to reality the better your employment brand, and the more likely you’ll attract the right people to your team — people who really sign up for who you really are as a business.
Some more thoughts on bringing it to life
Describing your EVP is a short sentence of a few words is awesome. Even visuals or the right photo attached to those words, can bring so much clarity and such clear emotion that people will ‘get’ what you mean. If you get the words right, they attract the right people.
Your culture really needs to be perfectly aligned to your EVP. Look at the Culture Map and think about it terms of the EVP. What do you say, do, measure, applaud, and punish? What are your rituals and examples? What are your priorities and examples? What are people saying about culture?
Your EVP should be clear in your Recruitment, Talent, Development, Performance and Reward Strategies. Look at these processes compared to your stated EVP and make sure they look they’re obviously from the same company. Look at your celebrations around culture and around your team. Make sure you are celebrating the things that are part of what you promised in the EVP.
Make sure all your leaders, and all your recruiters, know your EVP and are clear on the story or stories to be told. Train people in how to bring these stories to life in an interview.
What are the stories of working for the business? What do people say about it? Talk to people on your team who left and came back. What was their experience and why did they return?
Think about your stories and who should tell them?
Ideally, your team should tell your EVP stories. It is their stories or their employment and their work. There is no more honest voice if they love the business, and the work you do together, and think the ‘promise’, or EVP, is well and truly lived in reality. Put your team on your posters or advertisements.
Make sure your advertising is in the right place for the right people you want, and then bring it to life with the EVP.
The EVP is the foundation of your employment brand. There’s a whole world of detail around employment branding and it’s a whole expertise. We’ve included an article below to explain the Employer Brand idea.
Employment Brand Article
And a summary article on EVP development from an expert in the field.
© 2017 All rights reserved
mwah. making work absolutely human