Published in CHRO SA on 3 October 2023
Why is it that when you look at the employer value propositions (EVPs) of many companies today, you might notice a striking similarity? At first glance, their key drivers can blur into a mass of similarities.
There are only so many words in the dictionary to convey what you want to about your value pillars or key drivers. But here’s the concern: your EVP might unintentionally mirror that of your closest competitor. Whether it’s autonomy, work-life balance, integrity, putting people first, future readiness, purpose-driven work, teamwork, or more – they all sound a bit too familiar.
So does it matter that you are virtually indistinguishable in how you stand out in the talent market?
EVPs need substance, not just labels
Words are lifeless unless you give them meaning. Companies may share similar EVP labels, but what really sets them apart is how they bring these labels to life. The key to unlocking the essence of your EVP lies in immersing your audience into your organisation’s culture, values, attitudes, behaviours, and the value exchange between employer and candidate/employee.
Sure, on the surface, you might look or sound like others and tend to be boring. But the smart ones invest time, resources, and budget to continuously define what makes them unique. This goes beyond the basics like salary, incentives, and health benefits. It delves into modern-day motivators like purpose, flexibility, work-life balance, remote work, and more. Being authentic, transparent, and honest about what your workplace offers (and what it doesn’t) will earn you credibility and attract individuals who match your company culture.
Keeping your EVP relevant
Creating a compelling EVP is one thing, but keeping it relevant, engaging, authentic, unique, and well-understood is an ongoing endeavour. It’s not a one-time investment that can be built and launched, expecting it to stand the test of time with minimal effort. Our dynamic macro environment, rife with challenges, undergoes constant change that directly impacts employees and candidates – often beyond our control.
Now more than ever, your EVP cannot remain static; it must be continuously scrutinised to assess its compatibility with the evolving needs of both employees and candidates.
Recognising these dynamics is critical. Those companies that successfully navigate this shifting landscape will retain their relevance, appeal, and motivational power for existing employees while also attracting fresh talent.
Infusing meaning and relevance
The question that remains is how to infuse meaning, provide relevance, and deepen the understanding of the pillars supporting your EVP and brand. While the following suggestions may appear self-evident, we must ask ourselves whether we are investing enough in refining and defining the composition and relevance of our employer value propositions.
Here are some straightforward ways:
- Harness the power of your people: Undoubtedly, people relate best to people. It is imperative to leverage the trusted voices of your team members to craft a unique employer brand and breathe life into what you offer. Actions speak louder than words, and there’s no better way to achieve this than by placing your employees at the forefront. They can generate authentic content that translates their firsthand experiences – the give-and-get value exchange – both internally and externally. This approach immediately forges the emotional connections you see.
- Personalising the organisational EVP: While creating an overarching organisational EVP is standard practice, consider how well it resonates with employees who may feel distant or disconnected from its broader purpose. Failure to perceive their contribution to purpose and belonging within their immediate sphere may lead to feelings of underappreciation or a lack of tailored attention to their needs. This, in turn, could drive them to explore opportunities elsewhere that align more closely with their professional aspirations.
- Global and local EVPs: Multinational corporations frequently develop global EVPs, yet their success depends on a crucial factor – skillful localisation of EVP nuances. An excessive focus on a uniform global employer brand and EVP, without adequately tailoring them to regional needs, can lead to a lack of appeal in local talent markets. To avoid your EVP becoming sterile and out of touch, invest the necessary time and effort to align with the distinct characteristics of regional markets, ensuring your high-level EVPs resonate locally.
- Leaders as EVP ambassadors: Effective leadership entails a deep, personalised understanding of team members. Leaders who invest time in listening and understanding their teams can tailor their EVP offerings to the unique needs of individuals. This could encompass mental and financial well-being initiatives, ongoing skills development, and succession planning.
What’s your next move?
As we fast approach the end of the year, it’s time to evaluate your EVP’s distinctiveness. Is your EVP distinct enough to retain talent, stay competitive, and remain relevant in the evolving talent market? Are your regional teams prepared to elevate their strategies, and are your leaders fully committed to embodying your employer brand?
Remember, employer branding is an ongoing business imperative, and having a clear plan of action for the upcoming year is vital. Time is ticking, and the talent market waits for no one. An EVP is the currency to gaining your competitive advantage, and your strategic outlook can lead you to success.
So, what’s your next move?