How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

EVP_marketing_Image

Marketing has become an integral part of talent strategy. The use of messages and branding to foster engagement, attract candidates and retain employees have resulted in some organizations thoughtfully and others inadvertently, developing Employee Value Propositions (EVP’s). EVP’s are messages that articulate what an employee can expect when they work for the company. The promises. Most of the messages, in one way or another, tend to emphasize employee development and career progression (like the image above). Branding supplements the message by offering  visual images of what an employee can experience when they’re in the organization.

The ability to deliver against EVP’s can have a tangible impact on both talent sourcing and retention. Talent functions must realize the authenticity of an EVP will be compared to real employee experiences through social media channels. Research has shown there is a direct correlation between employee reviews on social media and job application follow through. In a recent US study of more than 4,600 job seekers; almost 50% of them used social sites like Glassdoor to research the company as part of their job search strategy1. Employee reviews have greater influence on which companies candidates will choose that more closely aligns with their values. In the example below the EVP advertised career progression, but the employee review exposed this as a misrepresentation. Candidates who value career advancement may choose not to apply to that company based on the review.

bad_review_evp

EVP is important to retain your current talent bench. Consider the following true story and how it reflects on the genuineness of the EVP.

bad_meetingA friend of mine choose to work at a company that articulated messages of career progression and development in the job description, website, branding and interview processes. As an employee, she worked hard to build great relationships and develop her skill set. Messages about commitment to career development and progression were continuously communicated in town halls, intranet sites, emails and corporate communications. After a few years she felt ready to move to the next level within her career tract. With consistently great performance reviews, she anticipated an easy conversation with her Manager on formulating a plan. She raised the subject about career advancement. Her boss listened to her and after a brief pause said; “You’ll need some of these first (pointing to her grey hair) if you want to move up.” In one short sentence the conversation had ended. The employee had taken her Manager’s comments as a clear message that seniority was equal to age. She knew she would not be advancing anytime soon.

Completely disengaged, within three months she resigned and went to a direct competitor.

Of course not every employee is pegged for progression. However, this story is reflective of a top performer who believed the company was committed to advancement, irrespective of age. The revelation that the EVP was false (from her perspective) resulted in her becoming disconnected, disengaged and demotivated. No surprise, she does not endorse this company as a great place to work to her network or family. This is a tangible example that the smaller the gap between your EVP promise and delivery; the higher your retention rate can be.

Now that we’ve seen authenticity matters, what can your organization do to create a genuine EVP’s?

  • Solicit feedback/crowdsource regularly to understand what works and what can be improved – Don’t rely on annual engagement surveys to assess how people feel. Solicit genuine feedback regularly through different mediums. Highlight what is working and document what could be improved.

feedback

  •  Action feedback to address gaps – I can’t stress this enough. Feedback is abundant on ways to improve. Yet so often nothing is done to actually address it. Demonstrate you are listening to your employees by actioning feedback. If you don’t it will be seen as disingenuous.
  • Update your EVP with endorsed content Your EVP is only genuine if your employees endorse it. Update it with validated content so it is authentic.
  • Revisit your EVP every 3-5 years to align it to your strategy – The workforce is changing. Your strategy changes. Your EVP should be reflective of your strategy.
  •  Use employees to promote genuine EVP messages through social media channels – Many companies are afraid of employee reviews on social media sites. They tend to want to “shut it down” or ignore it, hoping it will go away. Instead embrace social media sites and build it into your strategy. Provide alternative, genuine experiences on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to help job seekers make an informed decision about your company.

happy-employeeThere are lots of opportunities to build genuine EVP’s. I hope these few ideas will help you to start thinking about ways to develop authentic messages!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me twitter@annzalie.barrett or pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116hLinkedIn.

 

[1] http://recruitingdaily.com/glassdoor-reviews/

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About sailorannzalie

Talent Brand Expert, Recruiter, Social Media Expert, Integration Architect, Consultant. I’ve had lots of titles, but the ones that describe me the best are Change Agent. Transformer. Game Changer. Throughout my career I’ve had a number of challenging and rewarding jobs. I’ve had the opportunity to build, develop and lead creative initiatives that transform customer and employee experiences. I’ve consulted with clients across the globe and worked out off offices in Europe, North America and Asia. I am consumer and contributor. I love to learn from others and of course, share my knowledge through my blog https://sailorann.wordpress.com. As an industry thought leader I’ve spoken multiple times at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect, Indeed’s first global conference and the Social Capabilities Network (SCN). I’ve been recognized for my work and most recently was the proud recipient of the 2013 Social Media Recruitment Award. When I’m off the clock I like to broaden my horizons by travelling the world and experiencing new cultures. Want to hear about my travel adventures? Check out my travel blog: www.mytb.org/Sailorann

2 thoughts on “How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

  1. Ann,
    As always a great post and agree with everything you have laid out. In your opinion, why then, when we know and can prove this relationship with retention and engagement and EVP, do so many organizations struggle? Why do they continue to post generic, boring, vanilla job postings and hide behind stock photography and made up stories on their career sites? Thoughts?

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments and questions. They are very insightful.

      In my opinion most companies want to “get on board’ with current trends such as social recruiting and marketing campaigns to remain competitive and appear innovative. They are treating branding and campaigns as a cosmetic layer to sell people a concept. Great branding that leads to a poorly worded job description should be a flag to job seekers that effort has just been made on the surface, not deep down.

      I also think most companies don’t want to validate if their messages are authentic as it will highlight gaps that they have been quite happy ignoring. They continue to embrace an old mentality of thinking “If they don’t like it, they can leave.” They have adopted an approach where they promote what they think people want to hear. A forward thinking approach would be attuned seeing talent as an investment that we’ve spend time attracting, nurturing and training. Let’s keep them engaged so they stay and build our organization.

      Before the days of social communities most people wouldn’t have insight into what really goes on within an organization. Social media has put a public lens on real experiences which as we’ve seen, does impact the quality of talent. Companies who continue to turn a blind eye will find that new entrants into the workforce who rely on reviews will choose authenticity over a fabrication.

      Thanks again Kim, great questions and comments!

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