An employee value proposition (EVP) can be defined as: a statement of the values, rewards, recognition, support, and company culture that an employer gives employees, enabling them to do their best work and achieve their highest potential.
Image credit: Workology
What is an employee value proposition (EVP)?
Every employee brings their unique skills, experience, goodwill and commitment into work each day. You reward them with a salary, benefits, incentives, work life balance, career development opportunities, personal growth, company values, mission and a great company culture. In other words, you treat your employees as people, not just workers.
An attractive employee value proposition sets out these rewards. It clearly communicates all the benefits, development and experience people can expect from your company, so that potential candidates and existing employees will see if they align, and know it’s the right place for them.
For your business, a strong employee value proposition is more than just a paycheck. It:
- Defines your business’s essence
- Differentiates it from competitors
- Outlines what it stands for – the company’s mission
- Places it within the market for goods and services
- Details its contribution to the wider community and society
- Creates a mutually beneficial relationship between employer and employee
Your employer value proposition may also be a different offering between current employees and prospective ones, i.e. what you highlight to top candidates may differ from what you offer established employees.
Why does a compelling EVP matter for business?
Every business is unique, and when you offer a compelling and honest proposition to high quality potential candidates and employees, you are more likely to attract and retain the best people for the job, and captain a happy ship.
The benefits, and return on investment (ROI) of a strong employee value proposition are:
1. Decreased employee turnover
Employee turnover is a huge drain on a company’s resources. This turnover costs US businesses $1.8 trillion annually. When you have an employee value proposition that’s compelling and honest, you’ll attract good people who are the ‘right fit’ for your business, who will enjoy what they do, and stay longer.
According to Gartner, businesses that deliver effectively what they say in their employee value proposition can decrease annual employee turnover by a massive 69%.
2. Greater employee engagement
When employees know what they are working for, and towards, and clearly understand the company’s commitment to their mission, values and vision, they will be invested in their work and more engaged.
Gallup notes that highly engaged teams can increase profitability by 23% and improve customer loyalty by 10%.
3. Increased performance, profitability and growth
A study by the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity.
Engaged employees are happier and more productive, leading to improvement in business performance which leads to more profitability and growth.
4. Higher cost savings
When your own employee value proposition attracts the right people from the labor market and they stay because they are the ‘right fit’, you save on recruitment and training expenses.
Gartner research found that organizations with strong employee value propositions increase new hire commitment to their jobs by almost 30%.
5. More transparency
96% of engaged employees told Gallup that they trust the people who run their companies, compared with only 46% of actively disengaged employees.
A good employee value proposition is open and honest with prospective employees from the start. What’s expected from them in the form of interesting and challenging work, and what they will receive in return is set out in black and white. This transparency creates mutual respect and trust between employer and employee in the working environment.
What makes a successful employee value proposition?
Your business is unique, and the employee value proposition you promise to candidates and employees needs to be unique also. You can ensure it is by taking a long hard look at your organization’s major strengths, and home in those that highlight its uniqueness.
While each EVP is unique to specific organizations,there are some standard elements that should be consistent across organizations.
The standard elements combined should give good reasons why people should:
- come and work for you
- stay with you
- be proud of the company
- be motivated to do their best work and develop the business
Existing and prospective employees don’t want to be associated with companies that have a poor reputation – weak business results, unknown brand, or dodgy ESG practices.
According to our Global EX Trends Report 2023, a desire for alignment of values has manifested as the top driver for Intent to Stay, as being employed isn’t just about having a job – it’s a core part of a person’s value system.
Your organization, in addition to being a current employer, becomes potentially the most critical element of an individual’s resume.
You need to broadcast the positive impacts your business has on its customers, its employees, the environment and society, and ensure its governance is squeaky clean to attract the best candidates who’ll be proud to say they work for you.
2. Culture & Belonging
Assess team spirit and relationships across hierarchies and among team members, management style, communication and collaboration, how camaraderie and leadership manifest themselves, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the business.
3. Personal Growth & Career Development
Quality employees don’t want to remain static – they want to learn, develop and become skilled. They need to know that the company they are considering joining (yours) will provide some stability and a career trajectory.
Good people look for signposted career paths and advancement opportunities, maybe abroad or in other cities, on prestigious projects. All these should be underpinned by excellent leadership, performance management, recognition, and career guidance.
And although “career path” is often given as a major reason why people leave an organization, our research shows that career advancement is not super important when it comes to the attractiveness of a new job.
4. Engaging work
Employee engagement is much more than the sum of its parts. Those parts are: working environment; technology, equipment and systems that work; empowerment and autonomy; meaningful, interesting work that has variety, challenge and impact; feedback, and actions taken on feedback.
In addition to enabling work, organizations should work to provide:
5. Rewards & Benefits
Of course, you’ll pay your workers a salary for what they do, but here is the chance to add value with perhaps cash bonuses, stock options, and a timetable for pay raises.
Our research found that employees who are satisfied with their pay and benefits are 26% more likely to have their expectations exceeded at work and 13% more likely to continue working with their current employers for 3+ years.
Benefits need to be all the usual perks, including paid time off (PTO), health insurance, a student loan paydown program, unlimited vacation, parental leave, caregiver support, retirement plans and life insurance. You’ll need to tailor your benefits package to the type of industry your business operates in, and the needs of your potential and current employees.
The American Psychological Association reports that 89% of employees will recommend their company as a good place to work if the company supports wellbeing initiatives.
Top talent gravitates towards companies who care about their health and work life balance, so it’s a good idea to include a wellness program in your EVP and opportunities to work remotely some of the time. Highlight wellness programs that are effective, evidence-based, and focused on the needs of the “whole person”, such as on-site fitness classes, access to health coaches or physical activity challenges.
How do you create an employee value proposition?
Here’s our step-by-step guide:
1. Audit your existing offering
Taking the six elements as your baselines, check what you already have in place to slot into each element. You may have a great reputation – big that up. You’ll have a salary and maybe a health benefits package – include it. You’ve recently implemented a well-being program – describe and illustrate that. You may be surprised at the great things you already offer.
2. Ask your employees
The best people to tell you how it is on the shop floor are your employees themselves. You have an offering in place, but is it truly fit for purpose to attract a prospective employee? The employee survey is your best friend here and you can use different ones at different stages of the employee lifecycle:
- Applicant /Onboarding surveys: What do prospective employees and new hires think of your employer brand and company reputation?
- Employee engagement surveys: What do current employees think is great about the company? What gets them up in the morning to come to work?
- 360-degree surveys: Are managers managing? Are team members working as a team? What would an individual want to change?
- Exit surveys: Why did an employee leave? What could have been done to retain them?
3. Analyze the employee feedback
Your survey results will reveal areas where you can improve things within the six elements of your EVP and make it more attractive. What do successful employees like about their job? What improvements can you make?
Particularly look at identifying the key drivers of engagement and retention. What makes your workforce happy and motivated, and what makes them stay? The answers can be quite surprising, depending on the age group.
In addition to learning about how people feel about different elements of your EVP, consider asking what elements of their experience at work are most important to them. Our 2022 Destination Workplace report on how people value 7 key attributes of the employee experience found that compensation was the most desired feature, and social and environmental focus the least:
And different age groups value different attributes:
5. Draw up your employee value proposition
Using analyzed data from your listening, draft your EVP into the six elements, and make sure it offers a truthful overview of what it’s like to work for your organization. Keep it broad enough to appeal to a range of candidates, from graduate entry to senior professionals.
Test your EVP with a focus group of existing employees to check that you have taken on board everybody’s feedback and created a relatable employee value proposition to attract great talent and guarantee employee growth.
The best employee value propositions are honest and genuine, reflect the uniqueness of the company and deliver what they say. A genuine representation of your business will filter effortlessly throughout its day to day workings.
6. Get internal buy-in
Once you have your honest and truthful EVP that sets you apart as a world class workplace, incorporate it into your daily business workings, and all along your employee lifecycle:
- Candidate/new hire welcome packs and onboarding program
- Employee engagement frameworks for success
- Empowerment: leadership support, career development, promotion, recognition and rewards
- Exit interviews, networking, redeployment
An employee value proposition that runs through the very DNA of a company creates brand ambassadors of its employees.
7. Get the word out
The EVP isn’t simply an internal document – it needs to be used in your marketing, branding, public relations, advertising, company websites, your career site, and company videos. From the job ad to alumnae relations, your EVP needs to be the essence of your company.
8. Manage, monitor and review your employee value proposition
It’s essential that you test whether or not your employee value proposition is being fulfilled.
Your EVP isn’t a static document; it’s an organic beast that needs management, monitoring and review to remain relevant, and doing its job of portraying your business in the best light.
Include questions about your EVP in surveys to track the impact of any changes in perception or engagement. Review how it’s delivered to remain relevant – there may be platforms and communication channels you haven’t yet explored to get your EVP out there.
Employee value proposition examples
Some elements of your employee value proposition are easily quantifiable, while others are qualitative:
- Stock options
- Health insurance
- Retirement plans
- Paid time off (PTO)
- Gym memberships
- Company vacations
- Career growth,
- Leadership quality
- Role alignment
- Trust and collaboration
- Team relationships
- Company culture
- Low pay (but comparable to industry)
- Rapid career growth
- Strong reputation globally
- Strong commitment to social justice.
- Hard-charging environment but striving to improve well-being and flexibility
What might a sample employee value proposition actually look like?
Sterling Reputation: Joining our organization means becoming part of a prestigious institution with a strong reputation in the industry. Our name carries weight, and being associated with this organization will enhance your professional standing and open doors for future opportunities.
Rapid Career Trajectory: We pride ourselves on offering a fast-track career trajectory for ambitious individuals. At this organization, you’ll have the chance to take on challenging projects, gain valuable experience, and acquire new skills. Our commitment to developing talent and providing advancement opportunities means you can expect accelerated growth and recognition for your achievements.
Social Justice Commitment: We believe that positive change starts from within. By joining the organization, you become part of a community that shares a strong commitment to social justice. Our organization actively engages in initiatives and projects that address pressing social issues, allowing you to make a meaningful impact on the world around you.
Focus on Work-Life Balance and Flexibility: We recognize their importance in fostering employee well-being and are dedicated to implementing initiatives and policies that promote a healthier work-life integration. We are committed to creating an environment that respects your personal time and supports your overall well-being.
Competitive Pay and Benefits: We strive to offer a competitive pay and benefits package within our means. We recognize your value and the contributions you make to our organization’s mission, and we aim to provide financial rewards that align with your dedication and effort.
How Qualtrics can help develop your employee value proposition
You can design your EVP using our Employee Value Proposition Optimizer that uses a sophisticated choice-based conjoint analysis.
It helps you:
- Understand employees’ preferences – both overall and for key demographics.
- Compare your EVP with how your competition is positioning itself
- Determine the strength of preference for EVP elements
This solution helps you easily and objectively gather information from employees about what they want. It removes ambiguity and guesswork, while delivering the insights you need to attract and retain the people you want.