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12 October 2023

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Whether your organisation is a multi-national conglomerate, local authority or a smaller, family-run business, attracting and retaining the right people is essential to making it a success. 

One way of staying competitive and attractive to talent is by developing an employee value proposition (EVP) that resonates with new, potential and existing employees. Not only will constructing a strong EVP pull in the best new people, but it will make sure current employees are happy, engaged and loyal, boosting retention levels. 

A strong EVP can really enhance your brand, demonstrating your commitment to your workforce and helping increase productivity, but there can be pitfalls along the way. Get it wrong and your company may struggle to meet its objectives or even put its teams under pressure due to lower attraction and retention rates. 

An organisation’s EVP is a stamp of its’ uniqueness and authenticity. To avoid problems down the line, it needs to be constantly evolving – a continual journey rather than a destination. 

In this article, we ask our Managing Consultant, Talent Advisory, Steve Dilley, how a company should develop its EVP to guarantee ongoing success. 

Q: What are the common pitfalls you see organisations make when developing their EVP and how can they be avoided? 

A: We’ve seen a number of mistakes that organisations have made in the past. The first one being not consulting with a wide range of staff. What might happen is the marketing team or the leadership team sit down in a room and pull together the key messages that they see as being part of their EVP, but to create something that is authentic and unique, you need to speak with a wide range of stakeholders to really understand why people want to work for you. 

Another mistake we have seen is thinking about the company and the company’s values rather than the individuals, so often what might happen is you might have your company mission statement or you company values, and that becomes your EVP. But really an EVP is about your people, what they identify with and what they believe is the purpose of the organisation. 

The key to an effective EVP is authenticity and uniqueness, and you are only going to find that out by speaking to as many people as possible. When we’ve run these programmes for organisations it is about understanding the best way to communicate and hear from your staff. That might be through surveys, it might be through workshops, focus groups, or one-to-ones. Getting out there and speaking to as many people as possible to understand why they stay with you and why they want to work for you. 

Q: With unprecedented changes in the world of work how do you ensure that your EVP remains both authentic and relevant? 

A: The really key thing here is to view EVP as a journey rather than a destination. 

It’s going to be evolving, it’s going to be changing, it’s not about saying we have our value proposition, this is it. 

You need to establish the frameworks and mechanisms for measuring success, and then be able to make changes as you progress, whether that is change within your organisation and change that your staff go through and your people go through, or whether that is external market changes. 

These are all going to have an impact on how your EVP is perceived, how effective it is, and how effective it is at attracting and retaining talent. 

Q: How can an effective EVP make an organisation more resilient? 

A: An effective EVP is hopefully going to make your people more loyal to you. It's also going to drive your employer brand, and it's going to improve the perception of you as an employer in the market. 

Those things are going to help you with being more resilient against external workforce trends. An obvious thing at the moment is the upward pressures on salary. Those organisations with an effective EVP are likely to see less of an impact from that. 

But it's really important to note that creating a strong EVP is going to be changing, and it's going to have to change to the market and the different trends. 

While it will help a little bit with resilience, you need to be aware that it's always changing, and you've got to adapt your EVP. 

Q: What other benefits does having an EVP bring to an organisation? 

A: Looking at your EVP can be a really good gateway into addressing your people strategy. A good EVP programme, as we talked about, is going to gather opinion and feedback from a wide range of people in your organisation. 

Not only is this going to help you understand why people stay, but it's also going to uncover some challenges that you may have, and you may need to address through the rest of your people strategy. It's a great little side benefit of looking at your EVP. 

Secondly, getting out there and speaking to your organisation can be quite a motivational thing for people. We've run loads of workshops which have been really positive, and people have been reminded why they work for you and why it's a great place to work, and that can be really motivational and engaging for people. 

And then thirdly, once you've implemented your EVP strategy and it's hopefully been successful, then being seen as a great place to work, depending on your market, can actually have a good impact on your organisational performance and goals as a whole, improving your brand, improving sales and improving performance. 

Q: How should an EVP be used? 

A: An EVP should be reflected across all elements of your people strategy. As soon as someone comes into contact with the organisation through a marketing campaign or a job application, they should start to see some of the key EVP messages that you want to get across. 

That should go through the recruitment process, through onboarding, and then through to their time with you as an employee. 

A really good example of somewhere where you can think outside the box to reflect your EVP is in your people policies. A policy document might need to contain certain legal things, and often they're seen as a little bit bland, and people only read them when they need them. But what you can do is showcase your EVP in those documents to remind people of the key reasons why you're a great employer and why they want to stay with you. 

Q: Once your organisation has created its EVP, what is its next step – how does it evolve that proposition with the times? 

A: This goes back to what we said at the beginning around developing a framework or a dashboard for measuring success, remembering that EVP is the journey and not the destination. 

It's about looking at what you've done - has it ticked the things that you wanted to achieve? Organisations may approach EVP in a different way, so some will look at it from an attraction perspective. Your metrics are going to be focused around the hiring process, looking at performance against that and what you might need to change, and other organisations may look at it from a retention perspective – those metrics will be slightly different. 

But the key thing is to establish that framework for measuring success, be agile in changing your approach, tweaking your messages, and always looking to improve that value proposition as you move through. 

Find out how you can make your organisation recognisable and relevant to current and future talent by creating an EVP that resonates on our dedicated solutions page. 

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