It’s time for EVPs to go to work

June 20, 2023
Richard Barrett
Managing Director

The pandemic has prompted a significant shift in employee preferences and priorities, with many seeking work that is more purposeful and aligns with their personal values.

McKinsey has shown that nearly two-thirds of employees say the pandemic caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, while nearly half have now reconsidered the kind of work they do because of this.

This increasing focus on purpose and values has resulted in employees wanting a deeper connection with their organisations, where their personal brands authentically overlap with the organisation’s values.

This is why many companies have invested in an Employee Value Proposition, or EVP. An EVP is the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance at the workplace.

However, an EVP isn’t a panacea to all the problems that hybrid working creates.

It must be more than just a tick box on an agenda––an EVP needs to be a living, breathing embodiment of what an organisation stands for. When a brand gets this right and puts it to work, it has the potential to significantly enhance the business.

Just as when evaluating an externally facing service brand, an EVP needs to create, elevate and campaign a clear point of meaningful difference. A good EVP should be ownable and possess the ability to excite and motivate. It should be able to encourage discretionary effort and create an enduring sense of shared purpose and belonging.

According to Gartner, organisations with well-defined EVPs can reduce employee turnover by 69% and attract 50% more qualified candidates compared to organisations with poor EVPs.”

In this new world of work, it’s crucial for organisations to invest in developing and implementing EVPs that resonate with their employees and support their overall mission. But – the key lies in making sure EVPs “go to work” by actively incorporating them into every aspect of an organisation’s culture, operations, and decision-making processes.


A value exchange should be the glue that holds an organisation together

When physical proximity is no longer a given, the organisation’s values and beliefs must work harder to keep employees connected, motivated and engaged. This is where defining a clear and mutually beneficial value exchange can have an outsized impact on an EVP’s effectiveness.

Simply put, a value exchange is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company.

It typically uses the following structure:

“If you, then we…”

For example, “If you go above and beyond to help us fulfil our mission, then we will reward you with additional financial incentives”.

The possibilities here are seemingly limitless and could be customised to suit the needs and values of a specific organisation. The key idea to note is that a value exchange caters to all ages and demographics, because it recognises the importance of values and purpose in their lives.

Many organisations believe that an EVP must be solely aspirational in order to drive this value exchange with employees and prospective talent. However, an EVP doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on a higher purpose or a “worthy” cause.

It can be tailored to the organisation’s objectives, whether that is to create the most aggressive sales team or simply to make employees wealthy. The key lies in aligning the value exchange with the organisation’s goals, values and culture. This alignment is what encourages employees to adopt the desired behaviours and contribute to the company’s success.

Simplification is paramount to a successful EVP

To create a tailored and effective EVP, it’s crucial to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies should understand the importance of segmenting their workforce based on factors such as age, gender, geographical location and individual needs. This allows for a more personalised and targeted EVP that caters to the varying needs of employees, ultimately enhancing their engagement and commitment to the organisation.

An ideal EVP development process involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches. While it is essential for the management and executive teams to have a clear vision and purpose, it’s equally important to engage with the workforce to understand their individual priorities and motivations. In a hybrid working environment, open communication is key to ensuring that the EVP resonates with employees and aligns with their values and expectations.

In order to create an effective EVP, organisations must align their values with their employees’ needs. This involves simplifying and clarifying the organisation’s vision, mission and purpose so that employees can easily understand and identify with it. When employees perceive their organisation’s purpose as meaningful and connected to their personal values, they are more likely to be engaged, committed and willing to put in discretionary effort.

Moreover, as employee priorities shift towards seeking purpose-driven work, it’s crucial for businesses to ensure their EVPs reflect these changes. By doing so, companies can attract and retain top talent who are looking to make a positive impact on the world through their work. This alignment of values and purpose not only benefits the employees but also contributes to the long-term success of the organisation.


The real magic happens when you make an EVP live

Creating an EVP is just the first step in a larger process; the real magic happens when it is brought to life within the organisation.

A well-crafted EVP may have a fantastic set of values and behaviours, but if it doesn’t resonate in the day-to-day interactions between employees and their employer, it will have little to no impact. This is particularly true in the era of hybrid working, where the traditional channels for sharing an organisation’s culture may no longer be available.

To make an EVP live, it’s essential to develop an activation plan that works harder to reach employees, especially in a hybrid working environment. This activation plan should focus on how to communicate the EVP effectively, even when employees are not present in the office.

When this is done effectively, an EVP can permeate the organisation, filling the gaps left by the absence of physical interactions and creating a shared understanding of the company’s values and goals.

To create a successful EVP, organisations must not only pressure test their current value sets but also identify and remove any “benign squatters” – values that sound nice but don’t truly reflect the company’s unique culture. By doing so, organisations can create an EVP that truly resonates with employees and helps them feel connected to their employer, even in a hybrid working environment.

It’s time for EVPs to go to work”

As the world of work continues to evolve, organisations must adapt to meet the changing needs and priorities of employees. A successful EVP must not only be authentic and well-crafted, but it must also be brought to life within the organisation, actively permeating every aspect of its culture and operations.

By simplifying and clarifying the company’s values and fostering a strong value exchange, organisations can create a powerful and meaningful EVP that resonates with employees in the era of hybrid working.

It’s time for organisations to put their EVPs to work. Doing so will unlock new possibilities to attract and retain top talent, drive employee engagement and achieve long-term success in a dynamic and changing world.