Building a Strong Employee Value Proposition

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Doug Michaelides, Stratford Managers marketing guru, reminded us in this post that successful organizations don’t gamble on a ‘single coin toss’. Instead they display confidence by executing integrated marketing campaigns to achieve their objectives. This makes perfect sense even to an HR guy: after diligently making a decision to go to market with your new product or service, confident that it meets a customer need, you sustain your investment in marketing campaigns long enough to get results.

Why then don’t we put the same level of analysis, structure and commitment into delivering an employee value proposition (EVP)?

This discipline begins by defining what the organization would most like to be associated with as an employer. The EVP captures the “give and get” of the employment deal. It matches the value that employees are expected to contribute with the value that they can expect in return.

What Employees Value:  Employee Value Proposition

Turning back to what we can learn from marketing, an article in HBR by Eric Almquist, the global head of consumer insights for Bain, describes the things that customers really value in a “value pyramid” spanning 4 categories of need: functional, emotional, life-changing and social impact. The most successful companies create customer loyalty by delivering multiple elements of value.

Let’s apply similar principles to your EVP. How well does your EVP provide your prospective and current employees value on multiple elements (particularly the higher levels) such as:

  • Variety: is there a collection of professional development opportunities that enable employees to achieve their career potential?
  • Wellness: do you place a value on work-life balance and/or flexibility in the workplace in a way the contributes to employee motivation?
  • Affiliation: is it the mission or mandate of the organization that drives people to want to join and stay? Does company’s reputation for high quality products or services have an impact on employee motivation?
  • Self-transcendence: does the company make a commitment to being socially responsible and offer opportunity for employees to give back to the communities within which the organization is operating?

Employee Value Proposition pyramid - Top to bottom: social impact, life changing, emotional, functional

With a little effort, a variety of factors, unique to your organization and aligned with your strategy, can be identified and quantified as attractive to prospective recruits and existing employee whose loyalty you wish to retain.

Clearly an investment in properly defining your employee value proposition (EVP) is critical to maximizing the ROI on your HR programs for attracting talent and ensuring employee retention. Sometimes those marketing guys actually seem to know what they’re talking about!