How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

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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.

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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.

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  •  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/

How To Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the year. For me, it seems like just yesterday it was the end of summer and fall was in the air. Reality check; it’s December and that typically means annual performance review time.

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For most of us, this time of year can be stressful as we try to document our performance by reflecting back on our contributions and accomplishments. In larger organizations it doesn’t just stop at individual performance assessments. Calibration sessions are held to compare you against others across departments to justify ratings. So it’s important to take time to clearly and succinctly illustrate how you delivered against your goals. One of the most important questions you, as an employee, need to be able to answer during your performance review is…Why should you get the rating you are asking for? If you are self-managed, a Telecommuter,  or didn’t have an “active” Manager work with you through the year, it’s even more important to use examples to build your case. Managers don’t always have insight into your accomplishments or remember feedback from others. It’s up to you to weave them into your performance assessment in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Here are a few suggestions to help you document your annual accomplishments and deliverables to position the rating you want:

  1. Build a habit of documenting your accomplishments throughout the year: As an employee it’s a good practice to keep email_folderstrack of the work and successes you’ve had throughout the year. If you wait until mid-year or year end to try and recall your deliverables you may forget important accomplishments. Here are few things you can do track throughout the year:
    1. Use Email Folders: If you get feedback via email take moment to create a performance folder in your email system. That way you can file your feedback through the year and pull it out to refresh your memory when you’re ready to start writing your assessment.
    2. Use your Performance system: If you have an ERP/performance system, book a 15 minute meeting in your calendar each month to update accomplishments against your goals. You can then pare down your contributions during your mid-year and annual review.

     

  2. Use specific examples to articulate how your work mapped back to your goals: Goals are formulated according to Create-Smart-Goals

S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) principles. As such they are typically broad. Use specific examples of your deliverables (specific results) as evidence on how you met and/or exceeded your goals. Let’s look at an example:

Goal: Expand Managers knowledge of social media sourcing options

Documenting deliverable option 1: Through conversations with Managers I spoke with them about social media to help educate them on sourcing effectiveness. Many of the Managers I work with now use social media as a sourcing option for their vacancies.

Documenting deliverable option 2: During my intake conversations with Managers I took some time to speak to them about using social media as a viable sourcing option. I used a variety of approaches to help show them why social media was an important avenue to source. An example of how I achieved this was working with Manager X for the RequisitionTitle.

Manager X had traditionally used job boards and staffing agencies to attract candidates for their role. Through my partnership and advice I worked with Manager X to position how we could use social media as a sourcing option for their role. During my intake conversation I worked with Manager X to get a thorough understanding of the requirements of the candidate profile. Once we had agreement, I showed them how I could generate a list of potential candidates within minutes through a LinkedIn search based on those criteria. I showed Manager X how the targeted search brought back relevant, qualified individuals rather than waiting and relying on applicants which we would later have to screen into the candidate pool. I also supplemented this approach by sharing our job aides with Manager X on how they could use their LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts to cross share their job to their network. I also suggested ways they could identify people within their network as viable candidates we may want to contact.

As a result of our social media approach we ended up hiring a candidate from LinkedIn. At the end of the process I asked Manager X about their experience using social media as a viable sourcing channel. They were pleasantly surprised by the results and were appreciative to learn about newer ways to find ideal candidates. Manager X is now a convert, and will use social media as viable sourcing channels for upcoming vacancies. This was also reflected in the survey feedback I received from Manager X. Manager X also sent an email (see attachment) expressing their thanks for my guidance and time in utilizing new and innovative approaches to sourcing.

So, in two examples above, the first option speaks to how the goal was met. However it doesn’t provide any specific examples on how it was met. This makes your assessment subjective. The second option provides a more detailed approach to articulating how the deliverable was met. By outlining how you approached the situation, showing the before and after, then backing it up with some  metrics/feedback, it makes your assessment objective. The last sentence also wove in the email feedback relevant to the example provided.

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3.      Demonstrate how you’ve taken feedback to improve: Always make a point of regularly asking your Manager for feedback. There two reasons for this. First, if there are areas for improvement you want an opportunity to have time to address it. Secondly, if there aren’t any areas for improvement it should serve as confirmation you are carrying out your goals and deliverables well. There shouldn’t be any surprises at year-end. In your annual assessment use some specific examples to show how you’ve incorporated constructive feedback and/or coaching to improve. Not only does it show a positive attitude, it also shows your wi


4.     
Showcase your star performance through your summary:  You are your best PR 

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person. You have to do a good job of  selling your own performance. Managers rely on this as they need good examples to take into calibration sessions. Each year should be seen as a journey of your learning, development and accomplishments. Use the summary section of your performance assessment as a reflection of  one key item against each of these buckets during the past year. Remember use specific exampl


I hope these few tips will help you build the confidence to document your deliverables, accomplishments and fantastic feedback in an appropriate way that is easy for both you and your Manager to use in your performance review

I wish you good luck and all the very best for the New Year ahead!

By Ann Barrett; Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy