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Your Employee Value Proposition Starts Here - Your People!

During a recent, interesting conversation, a talent acquisition executive voiced a profound opinion that has since, stayed with us. “An organization’s Employee Value Proposition comes to exist the moment an organization is born”, he remarked. 
The challenge is not creating an EVP at birth; 85% talent acquisition executives at established GICs rue the absence of EVPs, altogether. They are seemingly mature in their resourcing practices, deploy cutting-edge HR tech platforms, boast of “exotic” sourcing techniques (read: deep web and advanced boolean) but have faltered at perfecting baby steps – documenting Employee Value Propositions.

That a strategically designed EVP successfully attracts, retains, and motivates employees, is a notion warmly embraced universally; the missing link lies in being apprised with roadblocks in successful execution. Assertive pieces on challenges, and pitfalls in understanding and documenting EVPs have not been penned down, hence our attempt. A step-by-step approach follows.

Step 1 - Begin by tapping into the organization’s most invaluable resource - your internal employees

A value proposition – de facto or consciously constructed - has multiple facets to it (culture, job satisfaction, growth opportunities, compensation, and benefits), most of which are a direct reflection of the way internal employees understand and perceive things.

An important step towards creating an authentic EVP for an organization is communicating and understanding the perspectives of internal employees. All segments of the organization – from its associate employees to the upper echelons – have unique perspectives to share. The key lies in listening to these perspectives and identifying strong communication drivers.

Broadly, the reach-outs would entail –

  • conversations to understand employees and their perspectives
  • factors that motivate employees to stay with the organization
  • clarity on how employees seek to grow within, and with the organization
  • discussions about employees’ understanding of the organization’s vision and value proposition

Our favorite tools to seek answers are qualitative probes. Examples of probes that generate high-quality responses from employees for some of the above-mentioned aspects are -

  • Conversations to understand employees and their perspectives – 
    “If you were to define XYZ (the organization’s name) in one word, what would it be?” – the answers to this question are open-ended and help you understand the associations that employees draw with your organization.
    In one instance, employees were frequently stating terms like “archaic”, “dinosaur”, “middle-aged man”; the organization immediately realized that their reliance on legacy technologies to solve today’s problems were hampering millennial talent in perceiving them as contemporary.

  • Factors that motivate employees to stay with the organization –
    “In a hypothetical scenario, you are leading a new team elsewhere. What is the one trait (tangible or intangible) you would pick from XYZ and apply it to the new organization?”.
    We got some immensely useful answers from an organizational standpoint that could enable talent acquisition teams to define internal communication vehicles; from intangibles like “The way we conduct meetings – they are non-toxic and end with specifics.” and “The manner in which we keep users at the center of software design” to tangibles like “Our sports zone” and “Our campus greenery”. 

No two organizations are the same because the people within each organization are disparate. Your employees are the living embodiment of your value proposition. In some instances, we have come across otherwise articulate employees who cannot answer these probes even after grave thinking – if this is true in your case, a course correction is in store. 
Without understanding, articulating and documenting answers to the above-mentioned questions, internal communication vehicles can’t be established, leading to inconsistent messaging and no anchors around which requisitions can be covered.

Step 2 - Reach out to the external audience

With a wiser understanding of what your employees believe in and stand for, the next step requires gathering a deeper understanding of the wider audience. A few key factors that determine the shaping of an external perception include -

  • The kind of candidate experience an organization delivers
    Constant feedback loops with candidates reveal hitherto hidden gold nuggets that inform talent acquisition teams of the gaps between internal communication and external perception.InMobi, a DoSelect partner organization, probes candidates on some of the following questions -
    • What was your first impression when you walked into our office?
    • What is the most notable benefit with the role that we are discussing about?
    • On a scale of 1 to 10, how articulate was the team in detailing the growth areas associated with the role? Why?
InMobi uses Survey Monkey to mail these surveys. 

  • Growth and exposure opportunities offered by the organization

  • Uniformity that a brand voices out with reference to its internal employees’ belief-system  
    Feedback loops that probe candidates on consistency between expectation and reality. For e.g. -
    • What were your expectations when you walked into our office this morning?  
      This probe outlines their expectations with the brand – consistent distance from your internal value proposition and perceived value proposition merits a course correction.
    • What comes to your mind when you hear “XYZ”?
      (XYZ is your organization – look for possible one-word associations; comparing these associations with those of your employees would point towards communication consistency or lack of it).

  • The general perception of your organization in the eyes of an external audience

Step 3 - Constructing your Pyramid well

After having laid down the foundation, the most consequential step is defining the value proposition and implementing it.

Our research into the changing trends and functioning of companies with great EVPs suggest that the most critical aspects to keep in mind while implementing an EVP are -

  • Appointing a sole custodian, and while we are at it, ensuring that HR is at the wheels.
    If you wish to guarantee a catastrophic failure in maintaining consistency and accuracy of EVPs, make marketing the custodians; nothing bewilders us more than observing marketing teams getting their hands dirty to document propositions whilst HR is trusted with communicating the proposition. 
    There is a fundamental discord in the marketing-centric EVP creation process – marketing has a consumer-centric worldview, a view that is fundamentally different from that of HR, the primary communication vehicles of whom balance ground realities and labor market expectations.

  • Making your Value Proposition speak out about the 2 or 3 core values that are central to your organization’s identity. Standing for a few core attributes lends a personality to your voice when it reaches out and helps foster trust in an organization’s identity.

  • Maintaining a consistency between every medium within and outside that speaks for the organization. By regularly tracking progress, and keeping the campaigns and initiatives quantifiable, consistency and growth are maintained.

  • Meticulously incorporating your EVP at every touch-point – 
    • When seeking out talent
       For e.g. Reaching out, sourcing, recruiting, making a candidate experience memorable. 
    • Onboarding talent
      For e.g. Appreciating the hired talent with gestures, making them interact with the right set of leaders.
    • Enriching your talent
      For e.g. Helping employees upgrade their skills, incorporating corrective growth, and giving them opportunities to grow.
    • Off-boarding talent 
      For e.g. Managing the employees’ expectations when they’re leaving, giving them constructive feedback and making their overall experience positive.

  • Reviewing your EVP regularly to make sure it evolves continually with employees’ experience and the organization’s growing aspirations
A well-carved Employee Value Proposition brings an organization’s vision and mission to life. While the development of an EVP involves an investment of time and resources, an effective EVP effects many benefits including creating the right employer brand, attracting and retaining great talent, and transforming the work culture with productivity and inspiration.

What are your current Employee Value Proposition blues? We would love to have a no holds barred, freewheeling conversation with you. Drop us an email at hello@doselect and we shall take it forward from there.

Till next time.

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