Want to develop a great EVP? Start with your people
If you wanted to know what it was like to work at an organisation, who would you ask?
Who really knows what the day-to-day feels like?
Everybody say it with me - the people who already work there.
It couldn’t be more obvious. So, why is it that so many people writing and developing employee value propositions (EVPs) do NOT talk to the people at that organisation?
When it comes to developing an EVP, your people should contribute to and inform this process more than anything else. It’s important to complement and validate these people insights against industry research, but beware of brand agencies that lean heavily on big reports and fancy words at the expense of genuine engagement with your people.
What to expect from a people-centred discovery process
Most HR leaders know the adage “you can’t please everyone” all too well. Every time we engage with a client and speak with their people, we come away with a mix of positive and negative feedback about their workplace. No matter how supportive and friendly the culture is, there will always be people who are dissatisfied. But talking to people at all points on the employee satisfaction scale is necessary - it gives a comprehensive insight into your organisation and what you need to focus on.
If people are engaged, happy and performing, they’ll give a good picture of the functional and social benefits of working for your organisation. What your top performers consider to be the best benefits are usually a good indication of the elements that will “sell” your organisation to other great hires. Identifying your ideal employees and figuring out what matters to them will help you attract more people with the same priorities and values.
Of course, we also talk to people who are disillusioned, burnt out, or underperforming and flying under the radar. This can be daunting to hear, but it’s better to face it head on. Understanding the problems these people face and/or the behaviours that don’t work well in your organisation will help you develop your culture, systems and processes to become a better workplace. It’s important to understand who isn’t the right fit for you. (This doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be the right employee for someone else.)
When your employer branding experts talk to your people, they’ll uncover the good, the bad and the ugly. The value of this is deep understanding, actionable strategies and an EVP that will be celebrated and backed by your people.
How to choose the right employer branding partner to develop your EVP
It can be tempting to get the ball rolling on an EVP in-house with surveys, focus groups or anonymous forms. We might be biased, but we always see better results when organisations undertake this process with the help of a partner. A specialist employer branding partner will have the experience and expertise to really get under the skin of the culture and help employees feel safe to talk about the challenges - resulting in more authentic, honest findings.
To really understand your organisation, an external partner should talk to a diverse, representative cross-section of your organisation (think role family, seniority, age, gender, tenure, etc.), and the conversations should be meticulously planned yet flexible enough to follow the important themes. This is where the value of a specialist partner comes into play.
When you play back findings to your people, there should be no surprises (if there are, it’s probably not an honest EVP). Everyone in your organisation should be able to identify with different elements of your EVP. The messaging should resonate with them and make them proud of their part in your organisation’s journey.
What to avoid:
EVPs are the “it” thing right now - and don’t get us wrong, we’re glad to see them having their moment in the sun. When done right, an EVP is a powerful tool for talent attraction and retention. But we’ve also seen many fall flat. Here are our top three things to watch out for:
- EVPs that are created by a generic marketing agency rather than employer brand specialists. (They’ll say they get it. They don’t.)
- EVPs that aren’t based on a deep understanding of your people. (Beware the regurgitation of Gartner reports.)
- EVPs that are designed to “wow” your project team or executives rather than speak to people you actually want to attract. (Be cautious of flouncy language, complicated phrasing, or using terms that may be very “slay” right now but don’t represent you as an employer.)
Need a hand shaping your employer brand to attract great talent? Get in touch, and we’ll show you how.