Who really owns your EVP?
Developing an authentic employee value proposition needs to reflect the real here and now of a workplace experience…
While working as an employer branding consultant, I’ve found that many organizations, while developing an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), will gather their leaders in a collaborative workshop in which everyone shares their opinions, points of view and impressions of the work environment. And then they build their EVP around those perceptions.
So, when one asks them what kind of EVP they came up with, they answer with things like these
- A campaign slogan
- corporate video script
- 100 slide PPT
- A hackneyed phrase, lacking emotion and creativity, which has already been seen in at least five companies in the same industry.
Let’s break that down.
We need to properly understand exactly what an EVP is , before we evaluate if what those leaders did is right, and who the real owners of the EVP are.
Let’s start with the easiest part - what is NOT an EVP.
The EVP is definitely NOT a slogan, or a campaign, or a corporate video, or a social media hashtag. The EVP is not made to be visually or verbally attractive. The EVP is for internal use. It is an internal guide that must be created so that the talent audience of a company can clearly understand why they should (or shouldn’t) go to work there instead of anywhere else.
Developing a real EVP
And I said “clearly” because an EVP is tangible. It talks about real stuff that happens inside a company. It doesn’t talk about dreams, aspirations, or what we want to be in the far away future. It talks about what we are right here, right now. What we have to offer, today. But there are other elements to bear in mind when developing an EVP for real:
- It should be based on why the organization is different as a place to work in their talent market. For example, flexibility could be a commodity in the IT industry, but in the banking industry it might be a plus.
- It should focus on what those differential elements mean for our talent audiences at an emotional level. For example, having flexibility in a traditional and structured industry such as banking could mean freedom and autonomy to manage your work/life balance as you wish, so you can spend more time with your family and be there for the key moments of your children. The reason why we should be aiming to express our EVP at an emotional level is to resonate better with our audience, to build a significant bond with them.
- It should be adaptable to the different talent audiences the company has, taking into consideration locations, seniority levels, working areas and so on. A well-drafted EVP should be adaptable enough to function for employees in Buenos Aires and in Kuala Lumpur; and for senior software engineers and HR interns.
Researching an EVP
An EVP must be tangible, differential, and attractive for talent audiences. That is why we need to do our research and find out what our people value most about working with us beforehand.
Why aren’t they sending their CVs to go work elsewhere? Why do they keep choosing us as a place to work? Why do they want to keep on growing and giving the best of themselves here?
Having a workshop with leaders that share their sole personal opinions and perceptions is obviously not enough to create a strong, useful EVP.
You need to count on reliable, trustworthy data regarding what your talent audiences want from a job and why you are different from other similar workplaces out there.
Maybe your recruiters already have some of that data, from all the conversations they have with candidates daily, and maybe you can find all the other data you need by conducting interviews, focus groups and/or surveys with your employees, former employees and candidates.
But you must understand their thoughts, ideas, desires and points of view, because your talent audience is the real owner of your EVP.