You've likely spent your fair share of time defining, fine-tuning, and living up to your company's value propositions, but how much time have you spent defining your employee value proposition?
What is an employee value proposition?
An employee value proposition (EVP) is essentially the "deal" you are offering to employees: the balance of the pay, rewards and benefits, workplace environment, and so forth. This is what employees get in return for their time and effort.
Even if you've never heard of EVP before, you still have one. All employers have one.
Why strengthen your EVP?
According to Towers Watson, companies that use an employee value proposition effectively are "five times more likely to report their employees are highly engaged and twice as likely to report achieving financial performance significantly above their peers when compared to companies that use their EVP less effectively."
If you want engaged employees and improved financial performance, strengthening your EVP is a sound investment. Moreover, a strong EVP is essential in attracting and retaining top talent.
Evaluating your EVP
Whether the employee value proposition concept is new to you, or you want to strengthen an existing EVP, the first step is to evaluate your current value proposition.
What do you currently offer to your employees in exchange for their time and effort?
Some examples include:
Salary — Are your salaries competitive?
Benefits — What type of benefits do you offer? Who is eligible?
Work environment / culture — What are your work environment and company culture like? What does it feel like to work for your company?
Autonomy — Are employees micromanaged or are they in control over how they do their work?
Rewards and recognition — How are employees rewarded for their efforts (beyond salary)? Do you offer frequent bonuses or do you only reward those who have made it through the year or have reached a certain milestone?
It's also important to think about how you're communicating your existing EVP. You may have a strong EVP on paper, but if you fail to communicate it or put it into practice, it's never going to reach its full potential.
Identifying the key elements of your EVP
Now that you have a good idea about what you think your EVP looks like in its current state, it's time to find out what your employees actually think your employee value proposition is.
Learn as much as you can from current and past employees. An effective employee value proposition is an employee-centric one, so getting their feedback is absolutely crucial.
Check sites such as Glassdoor to see if any of your past employees left feedback about what it's like to work for your company.
You'll also want to look at employee engagement trends and reports. For example, Towers Watson's research reveals that "Employees want to see the total deal as they seek to find organizational purpose as well as value."
They want to know about the work they'll be doing, but also about your company's:
Purpose and values
Once you've identified the likely elements and themes of your existing EVP and insights as to what employees actually want, evaluate your EVP to determine which elements to improve, eliminate, or include.
Including employee recognition
One of the most effective ways to improve your existing EVP is to include employee recognition. Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, and frequent rewards, praise, and recognition help achieve that efficiently and effectively.
Peer-to-peer recognition, for example, doesn't cost much, yet it drives engagement by both recognizing contributions and building relationships.
Developing your EVP statement
By now, you should have a list of the essential ingredients that will make up your EVP such as a competitive salary, collaborative work environment, and peer rewards program. The next step is to put your EVP into words.
Taking the information you've uncovered into account, think about what you'd love to overhear your employees telling others about your company. When you think about it from an employee's perspective, you may notice that the language shifts from being features-oriented to being benefits-focused. In other words, what's in it for the employee?
Try to summarize your EVP in one or two sentences, making sure that it supports your HR strategy.
Sharing your EVP
Once you've developed a concise, descriptive employee value proposition statement, share it with your employees, job candidates, and new hires. Having an EVP statement allows you to easily communicate the value your company offers.
Living your EVP
Finally, live your EVP. For example, if your EVP says that you offer the best benefits and regularly reward employees for their contributions, you need to live up to that promise. If your EVP is built on a platform of work-life balance, flexible hours, and autonomy but you insist that everyone clock in and out at the same exact time each day, micromanage all work, and make employees jump through hoops to get time off, your EVP will ring hollow and will backfire.
Developing and strengthening your employee value proposition is a worthwhile undertaking. Do it right, reward and recognize your employees, and build a happier, more engaged, and more productive workforce.
Need help building a strong employee value proposition? Check out our employee engagement handbook: