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How to Create a Powerful Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

How to Create a Powerful Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Your people are your greatest asset—so your employee value proposition needs to reflect them and their working experiences! And to do that, you need to involve them in your EVP planning and measuring process.

But how you involve people in that process will differ depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Thankfully, our People Scientists have worked with countless amazing HR teams and have learned a few valuable EVP lessons along the way!

So, whether you’re creating a shiny-new EVP or you want to understand how strong your current EVP is, we’re going to let you in on the secrets of how to make the most of employee feedback to do exactly that—and how to avoid the most common mistakes.

Now, let’s kick things off with a quick EVP recap…

What is an employee value proposition, exactly?

In its simplest sense, your employee value proposition is why people choose to work for your organisation—encompassing what people get in return for their time and hard work plus what it should truly feel like to work there. An EVP is typically influenced by a few key building blocks:

Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
  1. Compensation: think salaries, pay rises, and how they’re fairly evaluated.
  2. Benefits: from holiday allowance and sick pay to wellbeing budgets and flexible working!
  3. Career: learning and development, progression, feedback, and everything in between.
  4. Work Environment: consider ways of working and how they contribute to a positive environment; from your office space to communicating with coworkers.
  5. Culture: address what makes your culture great; is it trust and collaboration? Is it the team spirit? Is it inclusive?

Many organisations will turn the above into a simple statement that communicates their overall EVP as part of their larger employer brand, helping people easily answer questions like: what will I get in return for my commitment and skills? Why should I work here? And why should I stick around?

Then, you’ll often find organisations turn their EVP into a statement that communicates the biggest selling points. Check out this amazing example from HubSpot:

"We're dedicated to building an inclusive culture where employees can do their best work. Feedback, research, and our own employees show that the number one way to do that is by being flexible. Giving HubSpotters the freedom and flexibility to create their own work-life balance builds trust in our company, but it’s also just the right thing to do. That’s why flexibility is at the core of our benefits and culture, from family planning to financial planning."
HubSpot's employee value proposition

How to improve and measure your employee value proposition

Employee feedback is a vital part of your research stage! But, people don’t always know exactly what will improve their employee experience, so the key is to back feedback with science (People Science, to be exact).

Take this example: someone feels they aren’t paid enough, and while that’s a huge demotivator when true, it might not always be the entire story. What might be more deeply rooted in the problem are things like not feeling fairly rewarded, valued or recognised, or more about fairness in pay.

So here are few key ways your people can influence your EVP—along with some mistakes to carefully avoid:

1. Crowdsourcing

It’s not unknown for organisations to crowdsource a handful of value statements and behaviours, and label them as their new EVP—which is the biggest watch-out we’re offering up. Overindulging people in these types of conversations is a real thing; most people aren’t HR practitioners or occupational psychologists, so they don’t have all the answers that will help you shape a powerful and effective strategy. There’s a reason your electrician doesn’t ask you which wires you want to go where in your sockets!

What to do instead: do your own research and use your knowledge as a practitioner to shape their feedback into something that creates a strong EVP—involving people, rather than getting them to do the work for you.

2. Mission and values

Your EVP needs to be a combination of what your people want AND what the organisation wants, meaning there has to be a good alignment between people and organisational mission and goals. EVP projects go beyond HR alone; engage all of your stakeholders, from senior leaders to frontline employees, to create something with substance that truly represents your organisation and what it feels like to work there.

3. Differentiation

Your EVP is unique to your organisation, so check out as many examples online as you wish, but don’t replicate what others are doing; it won’t work! Your EVP makes up part of your wider employer brand and ultimately tells people what makes you great and why they should stick around; so give them something they can’t get anywhere else.

What to do instead: make sure to find out what people value most about your employee experience and what makes you stand out from other organisations; your differentiators are important in making sure you stand out as an employer of choice!

So… what feedback should you gather?

Your people know what currently makes your organisation a great place to work and what the areas for improvement are. So when you’re gathering employee feedback and doing your EVP research, look for answers to the following questions:

  1. How do people perceive our organisational culture right now?
  2. What personal values do we have within the organisation?
  3. Are people aligned to our organisational values?
  4. What do people want from a great working experience?

Then, you need to look for the common threads; is there a handful of things that people value about working at your organisation that pop up time and again? What elements of employee experience seem most important to people? Can you identify any themes that align with your vision and goals? Those are the elements you need to focus on when crafting your EVP.

Remember: don’t limit yourself to one method of research. Go all in and try out different approaches, including surveys, interviews, focus groups… you name it!

How to measure your EVP

Your employee value proposition work doesn’t stop with launching your new approach; you need to continue to measure the impact! And who has those insights, exactly? Your people, of course.

That’s where employee surveys come back into play. They’re most useful to sense-check how values are landing and if your EVP is doing what it says on the tin—or if people are rolling their eyes because it just doesn’t resonate.

But there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to measuring your employee value proposition with employee surveys; what you ask will depend on your EVP and how it links into your wider people strategy.

Consider these two scenarios to see how you can dive deep into the details and get specific, targeted feedback by personalising your surveys to your EVP:

Scenario 1: the learning organisation

The biggest selling point of your EVP is how important learning is at your organisation; whether that’s external training, internal knowledge-sharing, or anything in between—your people are always striving to upskill themselves and are well supported in the process. 

Clarify what ‘learning’ means for your organisation exactly; only 10% of learning comes from formal training, so what about the other 90%? The emphasis is on social methods, like mentoring and networking, or hands-on, experiential learning.

What that means for measuring your EVP

Survey questions should then focus on things like career progression, performance management and development plans. Consider questions that cover each form of learning we mentioned:

Social learning:

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Formal learning:

image Hive Powerful employee voice blog 05

Experiential learning:

image Hive Powerful employee voice blog 06

Scenario 2: the inclusive organisation

Your people value being able to bring their authentic selves to work, so your organisation’s inclusive culture drives engagement and is the main selling point of your EVP.

Map out exactly what inclusion looks like in your unique environment; do you have a hybrid workforce that makes remote workers feel just as included? Do you have incredible flexible working policies that let people fit work around their lives?

What that means for measuring your EVP

Focus on understanding which areas of inclusion matter most to your organisation—like belonging, equal opportunities or whether people feel they have a voice—by including questions like:

image Hive Powerful employee voice blog 07
image Hive Powerful employee voice blog 08
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The moral of the story? Employee voice is key to creating a solid EVP that’s unique and aligns with your people strategy—but take any employee feedback with a pinch of salt, and make sure to mix in a generous helping of science and your own knowledge before you act on it! 

Our People Scientists are on hand to help you gather meaningful employee feedback and measure the impact of your EVP with science; let’s chat to see if #TeamHive is a good fit for your team.

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