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The importance of living EVPs in the current recruitment crisis

Moira Throp

With Brexit on the horizon and a steady exodus of EU workers, we are well aware of the growing recruitment crisis, as recruitment companies, UK employers and their industry bodies have consistently warned. Contributor Moira Throp – Like Minds.

Clearly, employers are looking for ways to compete more effectively in the current candidate-led recruitment market, and one area of increasing importance is Employee Value Propositions (EVPs). These give organisations the opportunity to identify and promote a more holistic, vibrant and authentic employment offering to new candidates than the traditional salary and benefits package.

Indeed, past surveys have estimated that EVPs can reduce recruitment costs by as much as 50 percent and employee turnover by up to 30 percent. Large organisations may well have invested time implementing their EVPs in times gone by, but we’re seeing a growing number reviewing their messages in the light of organisational change and market developments, and creating a new “living” EVP.

What might have rung true five or more years ago may not reflect the current reality or be in line with a renewed vision and strategy. Soft benefits will now hold a much stronger position in any value proposition – indeed, the culture of an organisation, its professionalism and social conscience, and its focus on employee well-being, can now compete more effectively with salary offers if candidates perceive a better quality of working life with these companies.

With the focus on the wider employment experience, companies need to ensure that whatever they are saying through their EVP is reflected in all aspects of the employee experience including:

  • Financial rewards – salary, bonus, pension, share schemes and insured risks as traditional benefits
  • People and culture – collaborative working and empowerment, individual recognition, professionalism of co-workers, quality and approachability of management, and wellbeing approaches to support mental, physical and financial health
  • Work and environment – job fulfilment, technology support, focus on innovation and ideas development, efficiency of processes, location/working environment, holidays and flexible working
  • Organisation – market position, prestige, ethics and integrity, and social/environmental responsibility

What is it that makes your organisation unique and stand out from the crowd? How will your EVP attract the right people for you? Fundamentally it comes down to being honest and real about why you exist as an organisation and what drives you. This should hopefully be encapsulated in your mission and your values but many organisations will find that the words they use are the same as those in other organisations – integrity; ambition; innovation. There’s nothing wrong with these words in and of themselves but what is it about working for your organisation that makes these real and lived day by day? What makes it different working for you rather than the company round the corner?

There will be existing documents, data from surveys and exit interviews, your mission, vision and values which are all valuable places to start. But nothing beats talking to your people and finding out what it is that makes working at your organisation special or different. Is it your purpose? Is it the camaraderie? Is it the freedom employees have to determine their own destiny? Find out and engage as many people as you can in uploading pictures that illustrate what’s great about working for you; get their stories; discover what makes them tick and gets them up in the morning. Use personal stories that demonstrate your values in action.

Through these types of discussions you can use the collective consciousness and experience of your people to create what it means to work for you – your EVP. Engaging employees in the process of creating your story will not only make it more real but will also mean they’re equally enthusiastic about sharing it and living it. Usually there are aspirations for what kind of organisation you want to become – and not everything is in place to support that happening right now. Acknowledge that and be clear about what you’re doing to ensure you are going to be the company you want to be. You will cut through the bureaucracy. Your IT systems are going to be modernised. Your appraisal process is going to change. The reality on the ground needs to match the story you’re telling the world.

Similarly, positive descriptions of the organisational culture shouldn’t be over-egged; this can lead to current employees becoming cynical and new recruits becoming quickly disillusioned.

Communicating your EVP and having a way to tell your story is the next stage. Developing a brand for your EVP that’s in tune with everything you’ve discovered about what people love about working at your organisation is crucial for creating the impact you want, both internally and externally for recruitment. Planning the roll-out through the imaginative use of different media and ensuring you have a consistent visual approach and language all adds up to creating a powerful employer brand.

Not forgetting, of course, the value of mobilizing your current employees as brand ambassadors. By engaging and inspiring them throughout the development of your EVP and beyond, you can be sure that they’ll become recruiters for you in their own right. Not only will their testimonials speak for themselves, simply by the way they talk about you to their friends and family, but they can also be living ambassadors for your current employees.

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