Creating an Impactful Employee Value Proposition

September 12, 2022

By Matthew Kerzner 

No matter your organization’s size, geography, structure or service offerings, businesses continue to place a priority on both recruiting and retaining top talent. To stay competitive in this hiring market, business owners need to understand that employment is a two-way street. And they need to ask not only what will their people do for them, but what can they do for their people?

One tool HR professionals and business leaders have been increasingly leveraging over the past few years is an employee value proposition (“EVP”). Like a mission or vision statement, this is a written affirmation that communicates to both your current and prospective employees the precise commitment you’re making to them. This serves as a steadfast device for not only recruitment and retention, but it is a branding opportunity that showcases your organization as a trusted and credible industry player.

Let’s examine what goes into an impactful EVP along with some best practices for either reassessing and building up your current one or drafting a new one that you can be proud of and in which your people will believe.

Getting Started

When you’re looking to better attract external talent or retain and reward your top performers, drafting a strong EVP is a great place to start. Having a well-communicated statement that is compelling, practical and unique for your staff and business can be used as a guiding light to establish new programs, practices or benefits that impact your employees and generate real trust.

If you don’t already have an EVP as part of your business plan and are considering drafting a new one, look around as you may already have one that just isn’t defined. Review your current mission statement, strategic plan, benefits or job postings and ask yourself what you’re already doing that is working or what makes your organization a unique place to work. Furthermore, talk to your employees and ask what’s important to them.

For organizations that already have a defined EVP, it’s important to always reassess—in accordance with the job market—your corporate goals and your employees’ changing needs. We’ve seen substantial changes to the job market over the past three years and, like anything, it’s important to pivot fast and often. I recommend clients review their EVP at least once a year. A convenient time to do this is whenever you’re closing out your financial year, because you’ll already be assessing your budget and strategy for payroll, benefits and programs. These all play into what your EVP will communicate to your people.

The Five Elements of an Effective EVP

When it comes to demonstrating your commitment to employees through your EVP, I find that the most effective and impactful ones communicate five specific areas. While not every EVP will hit on all these points, take some time to determine what about each of them is unique to your business.

  1. Compensation – How are your employees rewarded and recognized? Is your compensation plan fair, equitable and tailored for each employee? Consider benchmarking yourself against other businesses in both your industry and location.
  2. Benefits – Your overall benefits package needs to be both flexible and impactful. What can you offer that stands out from competitors? A generous vacation package or lower medical premiums might go much further than ping pong tables or office lunches.
  3. Career – Are your employees getting what they need to reach their professional goals? How are you setting your people up for success and giving them clarity on what growth looks like at your business?
  4. Work Environment – From the most basic work perspective, are you giving employees the right tools to do their jobs? Is technology a big focus for your company? What about offering in-depth training or certifications to employees?
  5. Culture – Is it clear that employees can understand and align themselves with the business goals, work/life balance or community giving? What can employees expect from both each other and leadership?

How to Define Your Unique EVP

Now that you understand some starting points and what goes into an impactful EVP, consider how to make it unique to both your business and your employees. If you’re looking to define an impactful and authentic EVP, include feedback from employees across every demographic, tenure and background in the process.

To better understand what’s important to your employees, leaders should involve their entire C-suite, as well as leaders of different departments and employee resource groups. Focus groups, routine employee engagement surveys, performance interviews and even exit interviews can also serve as great tools. Ask questions such as what’s important in a benefits package, what work/life balance means to them, or what they need to succeed to gain a better pulse on what’s working and what isn’t.

Additionally, ask prospective employees when interviewing what stood out about your company in the job search process or what’s important to them in an employer. Not only does this help you gauge if they’d be a cultural fit for your team, but it can provide a valuable look into what themes are important in an employer, which you can incorporate in your EVP.

When Is the Best Time to Implement or Revaluate the EVP?

It can often feel difficult to find time among busy schedules to define something as abstract as an EVP. Though, in today’s ultra-competitive hiring market, it’s more important than ever to focus on the people and organizational health side of your business. Here are a few metrics leaders can keep an eye on and serve as indicators for when it may be time to implement or reassess your organization’s EVP.

  • Voluntary Turnover Results – Whether it’s annually or monthly, keep an eye on how many employees are leaving of their own accord for new opportunities and why.
  • Open Positions – While this often goes hand in hand with business growth, it’s important to understand both which positions are staying open and for how long.
  • Productivity Numbers – If you’re consistently producing record numbers, take this as an indicator to reward your top performers. On the other hand, if numbers are on a steady decrease, it may be time to explore additional ways to increase motivation among the team.
  • Benefits Enrollment – Benefits are a big investment area for business, but are your people using them? Lower enrollment can serve as an indicator that it may be time to look for different benefits that better meet your employees’ unique needs.
  • Time Off – How much time off are your employees taking? Are they using everything allotted? If employees are consistently ending the calendar year with time on the table or they don’t have enough, consider how you view or communicate the benefit to your employees.
    These are just a few of the many indicators to know that it may be time to reevaluate your EVP. Additionally, working with an outside expert or benefits consultant can help business leaders tie these metrics, among others, together with the proper tools, training and leadership to extract the most out of them.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a happy employee will give it their all in the workplace and be the best cheerleader for your business and services. Having a clear, concise and unique EVP demonstrates commitment to your people and builds your reputation as a great employer in the industry. Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of you.

About Matthew Kerzner

Matthew Kerzner is a Managing Director in the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance and the Center for Family Business Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development with a specialization in assisting family businesses and closely held businesses.