Adjusting to a world that’s been rocked by a devastating worldwide pandemic has changed how people relate to work. Employers have to acknowledge this and address it to develop an effective and engaged workforce. The old interview question employers asked of candidates, “Why should we hire you?” has been turned around to employees wondering “Why should I work for your company?”
This is at the heart of an impactful employee value proposition (EVP) moving forward two years into an evolving pandemic/endemic. Everything you promote about your organization should answer this question for candidates and current employees. The answer should be compelling and easy to find.
The employee value proposition is part of employer branding. It’s all the attributes that employers have that make people want to work for them and keep working for them. It’s made up of company values and culture as well as benefits.
But the employee value proposition is so much more than benefits and pay. COVID-19 made that a very thin baseline for attracting and keeping a qualified workforce. Consulting firm Gartner VP Carolina Valencia points out that the new employee value proposition is born out of shifts in the work environment driven by the pandemic experience.
One of those shifts is the reality that employees are not just a company’s workers; they are people. Work is not separate from life, it’s just one part of an employee’s life. The value of a company’s job openings isn’t in features such as free coffee and extra perks, but in how people feel about working for their employers.
Rather than focusing on what they are giving employees, employers create an impactful employee value proposition that focuses on how employees feel about their work and their employer. Gartner titles this as the new human deal that fosters deeper connections, radical flexibility, personal growth, holistic well-being, and shared purpose. These components help employees feel understood, autonomous, valued, cared for, and invested.
Your organization’s employee value proposition is important to your company’s employer brand because it answers the question “Why do I want to work for this company?” That question has become the central focus of most job seekers since the pandemic began, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. It has changed the employer/employee relationship in fundamental ways.
Gartner research shows that delivering on a strong EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by almost 70 percent and experience an almost 30 percent increase in new hire commitment. Gartner HR VP Brian Kropp describes the U.S labor market as hypercompetitive and advises employers to develop EVPs with meaningful attributes that attract talent, keep talent, and keep talent engaged. This means key elements that make employees feel great about their work and their employers.
HR experts like Gartner encourage employers to focus on key attributes valuable to the workforce. These include competitive wages and benefits, career development opportunities, and work-life balance. These should be human-centric, not just accounting check-boxes, designed to build deeper communications based on shared purpose.
The first step to creating an impactful employee value proposition is to assess existing perceptions. Collect feedback from current employees through anonymous surveys to get honest answers to questions about why they wanted to work for your company, what they value most, and what is most challenging about their work. Get valuable information about why employees leave your company from exit interviews as well.
With information from employees about how they feel about their work and your company, check your organization’s core values to see if they match employee perceptions. If employees are saying that it’s important for them to be able to have time to take care of themselves and their families, then mandatory overtime policies and a culture of overdrive are not in sync.
Look at key selling points in recruiting, including compensation, benefits, and work environment, and compare them to employee perceptions and competitor offerings. Address shortfalls in these areas to better align with employee needs and be competitive in the job market. Make sure key selling points are designed for what your employees say they want out of their jobs. For example, extra wellness offerings to make it easier for employee self-care and flexible paid time off to make it easier for employees to balance work-life responsibilities rather than a standard benefits package.
Gartner advises employers to make sure their EVP includes a human-centric focus that builds deep connections, training managers to better bond with employees. In a workforce shaken from an ongoing pandemic, holistic well-being has to be part of any EVP, supporting employee wellness and mental health. Build shared purpose into your EVP with openness about societal issues and opportunities for communication and involvement for both employees and your company.
Two companies with compelling EVPs are HubSpot and Hilton. HubSpot’s people-centered EVP focuses on a culture where their employees have ownership of their work and includes mission and heart. Hilton’s EVP focuses on thriving, team performance, and support with top benefits, like a sabbatical program and career development support. These are the kinds of EVPs needed to attract and keep an effective, successful workforce.