The fight to recruit and retain talent has evolved into a must-win war that can impact the success of an organization. Recruitment marketing is not enough to attract talent in a candidate-centric market with increased expectations and opportunities. Due in part to growing regional and global remote working policies, candidates have more options than ever before and are more selective about where they choose to work – or even apply.
When deciding between opportunities, candidates have access to expanding online communities where they find candid – and often anonymous – reviews about potential employers from applicants and employees. These employer reviews can impact a brand similar to product reviews. Negative comments can be detrimental to an employer’s brand and dissuade quality talent from applying or accepting an offer.
Because a company’s reputation as an employer has a significant influence in the fight for critical talent, employer branding needs to be a strategic priority for organizations. Candidates and employees should be treated like consumers by providing an authentic and valuable employee experience that attracts, engages, motivates, and retains the right talent.
To do this, organizations must clearly define a tailored and relevant employee value proposition (EVP) that addresses The Six Pillars of experience excellence, from the very first touchpoints in the employee lifecycle (job fairs, social media, interviews, etc.), and continues across the employee journey.
EVP as the foundation for employer branding
So, what is the difference between employer branding and EVP?
Employer branding is concerned with managing and influencing how the company is perceived as a place to work. EVP relates to the benefits a company offers its employees and is the blueprint for the experience that the employee can expect. Employer branding is largely based on the perceptions of employees generated by the EVP.
An effective EVP cannot be modeled, copied, or faked. It must be a transparent reflection of the employee experience that an individual will have if they apply and are hired by a company. It needs to be authentic, unique, and personal.
To fulfill those promises, leaders should shape their EVP based on the organization’s business strategy, values, and priorities while aligning it with the future vision of the organization. In other words, what the company wants to be known for and how it wants to differentiate itself from the competition. It will most likely require revisiting, refreshing, or, in some cases, reframing the EVP altogether to better reflect the value that comes with working for the company.
Segmenting the EVP for maximum impact
Although the EVP must feature certain consistent elements, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach can lead to missed opportunities. Organizations must take into consideration that every individual comes with their own personal history, perceptions of life, and expectations. We can’t ignore that there are different generations and cultures in the workplace, each displaying varying attitudes towards work, teams, and rewards, meaning they will react differently to the same message.
Leaders have to increasingly find ways to reach every generation for the benefit of all. How can we leverage this rich asset? What are the intrinsic motivations of each employee?
With numerous demographics for segmentation, it is critical to analyze the workforce to understand the current challenges each population is facing to have a clear understanding of their unique preferences and needs. Organizations can then make the difference by adapting the working environment, initiating a culture change (or challenging their leaders’ behaviors), and showing authentic empathy. Every initiative that can create or reinforce trust is welcome and must be the starting point of a great employee experience.
Embedding and consistently improving the EVP
An essential part of shaping the EVP is sharing what you offer employees and candidates. Over time, certain positive aspects of an EVP may shift from a “benefit” to an expectation.
The EVP is not a stand-alone asset for an organization and cannot be a one-shot initiative. To reach its full potential, it must be integrated into the DNA of the organization and there must be consistently experienced across levels: from the organization as a whole, to departments and teams, and down to individual employees. Each and every employee must be able to identify the added value of working for their current employer and what they might lose if they leave for the competition.
Organizations should constantly reassess the situation as expectations change and markets evolve. They must collect and analyze regular feedback and then address the employees’ concerns quickly, followed by setting up appropriate communication channels and evaluating the impact of the measures. Showing authentic interest for the employee is key all along the process.
Measuring the EVP’s success
Companies must gain a deep understanding of how to manage and implement changes on strategic topics. That is why organizations need specific tools and KPIs to measure and monitor their success as well as areas for improvement. In the wise words of Peter Drucker: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”.
When established, the EVP should be continually measured and tailored as a central element of the company’s DNA.
To ensure the highest ROI on EVP, data must be collected at different levels within the company using different methods including:
- Internal data: turnover, employee engagement
- External data: brand perception, quality and quantity of CVs submitted
- Quantitative data: performance ratings, retention rates
- Qualitative data: employees focus group, exit interviews, direct feedbacks
Investing in the EVP can bring great results to companies. An authentic EVP tailored to an organization’s values, priorities, vision, and its people helps build trusted relationships between employees and companies. The result? Greater productivity, reduced attrition, and the ability to attract and retain top talent in the market. Furthermore, employees will naturally promote the EVP to others. It’s worth remembering that through word-of-mouth publicity, employees can be the best marketers and brand ambassadors for their organizations.
The trust that your employees place in your organization is valuable. Care for others and lead by example. Leaders’ behaviors are part of the working environment and have an impact on the overall employee’s experience.
Troy Bishop is the Head of Marketing and Communications
Julien Hugo is a director in Advisory for the Employee and Customer Experience practice
Pauline Hortal is an adviser in Management & Regulatory Consulting
Need help with creating your organization’s EVP? Get in touch with KPMG’s People and Change team.