Why do your employees work for your organization? Is it the salary?
The benefits? Job responsibilities? Friendships with colleagues?
What you offer employees and how those offerings influence the employee experience defines your employee value proposition (EVP).
Just as every organization inherently develops a culture — positive or negative — every organization will have an EVP. The most effective organizations are intentional about how they create and develop their employee value proposition. These companies recognize their EVP as a critical and strategic foundation from which to design and deliver employee experiences.
Developing a strong EVP to drive a valuable employee experience does more than create happy employees — it creates better financial outcomes. RedThread Research compared companies that focus on the employee experience versus those that don't and found that those who emphasize employee experience:
Additionally, companies where most employees (75%) are highly or moderately engaged also lead in customer experience.
But while the benefits are great, achieving them is not easy. Today, HR and business leaders are faced with unprecedented competition to attract and keep talent. Complicating matters even further, they are also expected to enhance employee well-being, help them adapt in a world of constant disruption, and improve their overall productivity and innovation.
These leaders need to understand that how employees experience their time at work plays a fundamental role in their career success — including engagement and retention — and, consequently, in the success of the organization. By focusing on developing a strong EVP, they can solve or at least alleviate several challenges at once.
An employee value proposition isn't about "stuff." It's not about the pet insurance policy or unlimited PTO or even about working from home. An EVP is a combination of statements and principles establishing a framework for aligning a range of important activities that provide the "V" in EVP, including how work gets done, how employees and managers interact, opportunities and careers, and how systems and processes are set up.
An EVP is also not a one-size-fits-all strategy; it should be tailored to your organization, delivered differently to slices of your organization, and fully recognize the business operation dynamics and capabilities.
But how do you define, experience and deliver your organization's EVP so that it's unique? Start thinking about your employee as your "customer."
Most companies are familiar with tracking a customer's journey, starting from the first interaction with the brand to the purchase point and beyond. Think of that viewpoint now but adopted for the journey of the employee. What are some pivotal moments in a candidate's or employee's career that influence and connect them to the organization, and what does that experience look like?
For example, the hiring and onboarding processes are vital. Mercer's Global Talent Trends 2019 report found that 78% of employees who were thriving in their careers said they had a positive hiring experience, compared to 30% of non-thriving employees. Furthermore, the positive experience has long-term effects: new employees are 69% more likely to stay with a company for three years when they've had a great onboarding experience (SHRM).
As you think about onboarding as part of the EVP, consider what events should occur in those 90+ days that help employees feel valued, connected and increasingly proficient. How should the first day of work be structured so the employee feels welcome? Who conducts the orientation? What role does senior management play in the onboarding process? How is a mentor selected? How are performance goals and progress determined and discussed? What type of follow-up should take place after the first 90 days to ensure the employee becomes embedded into the organization?
When you look at the process from the employee's perspective, you may not be able to address every moment, but you can target the most essential ones (i.e., the career development path of your most critical employees or the recruiting process of jobs where hiring is most challenging) and make the journey exemplary.
Data, both quantifiable and qualitative, can help identify those pivotal moments and the moments that need to be reconsidered. For example, which departments have the greatest turnover and at what point in a career? What commonalities are there between the onboarding process and employees with a high three-year career trajectory? What work processes are frustrating or need to be digitized to align with new processes or support new technology/upgrades?
New tools are now available to "crowd source" solutions and provide feedback in real time rather than traditional surveys. Many organizations seek regular feedback from surveys or focus group activities to identify areas that are challenging and test new approaches. These are additional inputs to help your organization consider the customer experience relative to the operational needs of the organization, as well as course correct.
Just as customers who shop at the same store are not the same, employees who work in the same organization are not the same. Your EVP needs to "speak" to personas, or employee groups, looking at specific needs by gender, role and work environment. By asking how your EVP principles translate for the personas you're targeting, you can ensure that what you offer resonates and is framed in a way that is relevant to each persona.
In our Global Talent Trends report, we found that there are clear differences across job level, gender and generation when it comes to why people stay with a company. Those in managerial roles, for instance, seek professional development and opportunities for meaningful work, while individual contributors prefer job security above all else.
Along the same lines, women tend to value health benefits and flexible schedules more than their male counterparts. For Baby Boomers, compensation is a key driver, but those in Generation Y tend to place a higher value on fun work environments and advancement opportunities.
What matters most to the different demographics in your organization? Knowing this and taking action to address those pain points significantly improves the employee experience and makes your EVP a valuable tool.
Your organization's EVP will develop whether you define it or not. But, by intentionally creating it, you establish it as a strategic north star — one that unifies how you look at programs, processes, people and the entire employee experience. The result of your investment in EVP is knowing that the "Value" is relevant and resonates with your employees and aligns with what your organization delivers.