Kathryn Kendall

Up Close and Personnel

The Employee Value Proposition

Yesterday, I was privileged to be able to speak at the Benefex Forum about the Employee Value Proposition. For those who weren’t able to be there, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts in a blog post.

For me, EVP has joined the ranks of phrases such as, ‘onboarding’, ‘employee engagement’ and ‘employer brand’. They’re everywhere we look within the HR industry: blog posts, news articles, whitepapers. However, such prevalence doesn’t appear to translate into a clear level of understanding. In fact, I fear that sometimes we get so wrapped up in the theories and definitions behind such jargon, we forget to actually look at what it really is we’re trying to achieve with our initiatives.

A blur of complex sentence structures

EVP is a perfect case in point. Google ‘EVP’, or ‘Employee Value Proposition’, and you’ll be inundated with page results which are a blur of complex sentence structures and indecipherable diagrams. How do you feel after thirty minutes of reading through those? Inspired? Excited? Or ready to switch off your computer and fall asleep?

And therein lies the dichotomy. The theories behind EVP are dry, longwinded, and can be really rather tedious. If we’re not careful, we fall into the trap of thinking that that needs to translate when we talk to our employees – prospective and current – about our own EVP. Which couldn’t be more ironic, given an EVP needs to be anything other than dry and longwinded.

Vibrant; engaging; inspiring; unique

When we talk about our EVP, you see, what we really mean is bringing together everything we have to offer our employees, and bringing it to life. It should be vibrant; engaging; inspiring; unique. A successfully executed EVP is so much more than just a page on our website, or an internal communication. We are getting our EVP right when it shows a real, holistic, three dimensional picture of what it’s really like to be a part of our business.

Take a look at many of the companies who are most lauded for their EVPs – Google, Netflix, Estee Lauder – and a similar theme starts to emerge. Perhaps because of that, I was asked by a delegate yesterday after my presentation what happens if you don’t work in that kind of environment. What about if you work in a bank or one of the large corporates? Is it still possible to drive value through your EVP, without being stereotypically ‘fun’ or ‘quirky’?

My answer to that is a resounding yes. A successful EVP isn’t one which is simply a carbon copy of something you’ve seen delivered elsewhere. A successful EVP is one which is truly tailored for your business, your employees, and your organisational objectives. It’s about finding your company’s USPs, and bringing those to life for everyone who works for you.

Warts and all

And it’s about being real. With the rise of sites such as Glassdoor, prospective candidates are all too able to quickly discover if the hyperbole you’ve plastered all over your website matches up to the reality. Don’t be afraid to show your true self, warts and all. I personally would be far more inclined to work for an organisation whose EVP acknowledges its imperfections than for one which claimed to be flawless.

While I’ve been somewhat dismissive of the theories and models behind EVP, don’t fall into the trap of discounting these altogether. Your EVP needs to engage… but it also needs to be measurable. Set your success measures, and be ruthless about monitoring progress against them. Gimmicks and social events might have their place within your EVP, but it’s vital that you are able to measure their success if you want to really be seen to be driving results.

Your EVP is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed. Correctly executed it will engage your employees, maximise your talent pool, increase productivity and allow you to exceed your organisational goals. It’s time to make it something which is so much more than just a set of words on a page. Make it real – and watch the transformation you are able to deliver as a result.


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  1. Simon

    Wonderfully written blog, in particular, the use of what “real” is and the fact that it is always a tailored adoption.

    I also believe this can be said for a flurry of other buzz word methodologies and practices you hear in your working life – Agile, DevOps, digital transformation, the list goes on!

    Thank you, a simplistic and clear message in a world of fluff.

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