Over the last twelve months there has been an explosion of organizations looking to refresh and expand their Employee Value Propositions (EVPs). Today we are sharing with you the why as well as to provide you with some deeper insights into what best employer brands are doing to drive greater impact out of their EVP work in 2022.
Before we get too deep into the shifting Employer Brand and EVP tides, let’s revisit what an EVP is and why it is important to begin with.
The Definition of an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the promise you make to your employees and candidates about what is in it for them to join and stay with your organization. The EVP is a set of unique and highly valued commitments that your organization offers your talent in return for their skills, capabilities, and experiences.
When a company looks at their overarching culture story, we often find top-down messaging that includes a purpose, company vision, corporate values, and behaviors that are incredibly valuable for leaders to point everyone towards the same north star direction. The EVP answers the all-important question of “What’s in it for me?” Why should your talent join your company, stick around for the long haul, and give you their time, energy, and best work?
As you have probably experienced first-hand, your talent’s needs, goals, and expectations have changed dramatically in the wake of the pandemic. So, if you want to attract the best talent, you need to ensure your EVP aligns with what they’re looking for right now.
Why are EVPs evolving so quickly?
- Shifting business priorities: Companies are examining what’s important in the wake of the pandemic and how the employee experience and talent priorities have changed over the last three years.
- Attraction and retention challenges: Increasing demand for talent, coupled with a low supply of candidates, means that companies need to go the extra mile to attract right-fit workers. In fact, Indeed Hiring Lab’s most recent statistics report that U.S. job postings on Indeed.com on February 18 were 60.4% above February 1, 2020, the pre-pandemic baseline.
- Changes in where and how we work: More companies have adopted permanent remote work or work-from-anywhere policies, and EVPs need to reflect that employee experience more accurately.
- Changes in employee values: Workplace flexibility, remote opportunities, well-being, work-life balance and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI) are now essential to embed into EVP messaging.
- Recruiting across different regions and talent segments: Candidate goals and expectations can vary widely depending on the region or role, so more organizations are tailoring their EVP messaging to the type of talent persona a company with whom they want to connect.
The Top 6 Ways EVPs Have Evolved in 2022
Focusing More on Real Differentiators
Great brand messages are both memorable and unique. The same is increasingly true of EVPs. Indeed, career opportunities, great people, meaningful work are important, but they are hygienic factors that are no longer unique enough for a winning EVP storyline. More personal and of-the-moment talent messages are emerging in EVP development this year, and themes such as wellness, work life balance, allyship and belonging, remote or work-from-anywhere programs, and CSR or innovation empowerment programs are hot themes setting some employee value propositions apart.
Shifting From Corporate Speak to A Personal Conversation
The themes are not the only shift in EVP development. The tone of voice is also increasingly moving away from corporate speak and moving towards an engaging conversation directly with talent about what they can expect to experience. When talent visits a company careers site and looks at the “Why Join Us” messaging, they are responding far more to genuine, human EVP speak that is less about what “We Offer” versus, when you join us, “You Will Experience/Get”. This is an important shift as it provides more emotional connection to the individuals this messaging has been crafted for. It is critical as communications leaders that we understand that the EVP is a communication tool to connect more profoundly with talent and inspire their desire to apply or stay. It is a highly emotional decision process so demands that the EVP is crafted with that in mind.
Back Your Promises Up with Facts
More and more, EVPs are being backed up with details on the programs offered at the organization that really support each pillar and the organization’s promise. The EVP pillars are nice, and enable the emotional connection, but job seekers are savvy and have more competitive opportunities than ever before. Top employer brands don’t stop with the crafting of the EVP but make it an effort to build the best programs in the industry that further elevate and authenticate each pillar. So, if the EVP pillar is one that is focused on wellness, an outline of programs for mental and physical health programs, gym memberships, wellness coaching, benefits programs, and personal time off should all be outlined to reinforce that the pillar is more than words. Employers that have started to take the EVP and employer brand strategy to this level are converting talent to applicants and employees with far greater speed.
Segmented EVPs for Roles and Regions
Most employers embarking on EVP development are taking it a step further and building segmented EVPs and key messaging for core talent functions and regions. Although a companywide EVP is critical to the foundation of the employer brand and culture story, there are real nuances in what matters most to each talent persona that cannot be ignored. For example, Software Engineers have very different drivers and ideal employers compared to retail or logistics employees. Although they may work within the same company, what matters most in their employment offering and experience are different. By taking the time to understand and communicate to each core segment, the recruitment marketing strategy will begin to see greater efficiencies and impact. Segmented EVPs enable employers to tell more personalized stories and experiences for each of their core talent segments, whether it is on the careers site, the interview experience or in the campaign strategy. If the EVP work forges deeper connections and helps talent see how they belong within the organization, it is doing its job.
Diversity Value Propositions
Most organizations are now investing in a Diversity Value Proposition as a part of their employer brand and DEIB strategy. Doing so enables a clear statement to talent about the organization’s commitment to an inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace experience and sends a message that belonging is a core part of the culture strategy not a side initiative. Diversity Value Propositions are also brilliant additions to job postings, and social storytelling platforms to aid in connecting with a broader and more diverse target audience. Finally, having a DVP in place, ensures that recruiters and hiring managers alike share a consistent message about the DEIB commitment during the recruitment and interviewing process, helping to deliver more positive candidate experiences and conversion results.
EVP Copy for BOTH Job Seekers and Internal Employees
The great resignation has highlighted just how important it is for the EVP to be used not only to recruit talent to an organization, but to be a rallying cry for engagement, retention, and ambassadorship. Far too often organizations invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in employer brand work, and when asked, internal talent and managers have no idea what the company EVP is. In the last year, more and more organizations are taking the opportunity to customize the EVP copy for their internal audiences. They use talent personas to not only address recruitment behaviours and wants, but also, to unveil what they want from managers, career pathing, work life balance and more. Employers that take equal time to craft EVP and Employer Brand communications and storytelling for internal audiences not just at launch, but ongoing, are the organizations seeing the biggest jump in engagement, retention, and referrals.
Contingent Workforce Value Propositions
In 2015, Blu Ivy started talking about the benefits for organizations with a large contingent workforce to build contingent value propositions. Today, it is no longer a nice to have, but more of a necessity for those looking to compete and build sustainable talent models. The gig economy has grown exponentially over the pandemic and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, today more than one-third of US workers participate in the gig economy and by 2023, more than half (52%) of the US workforce will either be gig economy workers or have worked independently at some point in their career. (MBO Partners)
Furthermore, Contingent work is of great interest to early career talent pools. A segment that most employers are working hard to attract and retain. In fact, 73% of Gen Z freelancers engage in the gig economy by choice, (Fountain)
Furthermore, a recent Indeed study surveyed 1,001 women who transitioned from full-time to gig work since the onset of the pandemic and found that they are increasingly opting for flexibility over stability. For most, especially if a parent or caregiver, this flexibility is a necessity.
So, the value of including contingent workers in the EVP research and segmented messaging is not only critical to attract this growing audience, but to ensure that as an employer, you are set up to deliver the right experience for this audience. For most employers, this is a group that has been largely ignored, with little to no understanding of their engagement and trust levels with your company. Most employers to date have avoided understanding the contingent workforce experience for fear of deemed employment. This needs to stop now, and employer brand work is the best first step to get a clear picture of how to communicate and deliver on their needs. The future of work is increasingly gig and contingent in its modelling and top employers are including this audience in their employer brand strategy.
Two Companies Doing a Great Job with Their EVPs
So, what could these trends look like for your company’s EVP? To help inspire you, we looked at two real-life companies’ EVPs and identified the specific tactics and messaging they’re using to attract top talent.
The first thing we like about Cisco’s EVP is its conciseness and clarity. They don’t try to fit too much into their three pillars – they clearly stand for great leaders, inclusivity, and global problem-solving. These are memorable pillars that the organization can build long-term programs and change around. They’re also commitments that can easily inform accountability, promises, and succession planning. This EVP can grow with the company and shape the evolution of the employee experience.
We also like that they include their benefits and perks because those are still essential elements of the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question that your candidates and employees are asking themselves. Cisco has done a brilliant job of sharing all the special perks and benefits and selling talent on what makes them extra special.
We would love for Cisco to consider building on their perks and benefits stories with greater alignment to the EVP pillars. For example, they could create leadership development programs and awards to align with their ‘inspiring leaders’ pillar. In addition, DEI programs, events, support, and mentorship would be great for their ‘everyone welcomed’ pillar. Lastly, hackathons, contests, and incentives for colleagues who solve new problems would roll up nicely to their ‘global problem solving’ pillar.
However, we love that Cisco has turned their EVP into their Our People Deal movement. Through this initiative, company ambassadors work together to find ways to embed Cisco’s principles across each organization so that their people embrace, internalize, and live them every day.
Their commitment to their EVP is paying off, and Cisconians should be proud. They regularly rank at the top of Fortune’s World’s Best Workplaces list, coming in first in 2020 and second spot in 2021.
Another EVP we love is HubSpot. Like Cisco, we love that it is clear and concise. It’s written more like a conversation with the job seeker or employee rather than a corporate manifesto. We are delighted to see diversity as a pillar and appreciate that there are some genuinely unique pillars in the mix (e.g., “There’s no inner circle,” “Everyone’s empowered to work autonomously.”). We also like that they’ve included a 120+ page deck that provides even more insight into its culture.
Lastly, we love how they have tailored EVP messaging for each talent segment – different locations, departments, and students. They even use organic video to showcase their employees and share their stories, easily searchable and organized by topic, department, and location.
Overall, we love HubSpot’s EVP because they don’t treat it as a recruitment marketing message alone. Instead, they clearly understand that their EVP is their promise to talent and that if they commit to this promise, they will have a unique, people-first culture that naturally attracts the best fits.
For example, their 2022 diversity report highlights how they’re living their diversity value internally by introducing mentorship programs for BIPOC employees. They’ve also introduced the 5Rs initiative, which includes a global Week of Rest and No Internal Meeting Fridays, aligning well with their ‘employees are treated like people, not line items’ pillar.
HubSpot knows that culture is a two-way street, and that top-down directions of purpose, values, behaviors, and customer propositions are only one side of the culture equation. What’s in it for the employee is an ever-critical element in the journey to be the best employer.
It’s no wonder that HubSpot is consistently named a great place to work globally. They were recognized in 2021 as one of the Best Workplaces for Parents by Great Place to Work® and dubbed the #1 Company for Women by Comparably.
Does your EVP need a refresh?
The talent landscape has shifted dramatically in the last few years. What your talent wants in 2022 is radically different than what they wanted in 2019, so your EVP – and how your company lives and communicates it – needs to change too. Otherwise, you might lose your best people and candidates to companies keeping pace.
If you need some help refreshing your EVP, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you update and shape your EVP to attract your right-fit candidates right now and show your current employees that you’re listening and responding to their needs, goals, and values.
Author: Stacy Parker, Managing Director, Blu Ivy Group
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
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