Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Unpacking Your Employee Value Proposition

Matt Moore

In today’s competitive hiring environment, candidates – and current employees – are increasingly looking beyond the compensation package (which is always important) and weighing the qualitative benefits they receive in exchange for their time and energy, things like work/life balance, opportunities for growth and learning, a personal connection to their work, and working for a company whose culture and values align with their own.

These qualitative benefits which an employee receives in return for the skills, experience, and enthusiasm they bring to your company are what make up your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Many organizations already have the foundations of an EVP, but defining your EVP, implementing it into your culture, and maintaining its alignment over time can be a powerful tool in attracting the right candidates and retaining great teams.

Define Your Values

Before you can begin defining your Employee Value Proposition, you have to start by defining your values, and to do that, start with your people. What do they most value about being a part of your team? If you have returning staff, why do they come back? Do they most value being treated with dignity and equality, protecting the environment, being the best in their field, or something else?

Now what are some of your company’s priorities? Providing the best guest experience? Educating the public? Protecting the environment? Creating a safe and inclusive workplace? Once you have gathered information from your existing team members and identified the most important objectives of your company, you can hopefully start to identify some overlapping values that will help your team members and your organization benefit each other while connecting with a common goal.

Example: You survey your staff and learn that they most value being treated and treating others with courtesy, and also being the best in their field. Your company has identified that providing the best guest experience while cultivating a safe and inclusive work environment are some of its top priorities. From this information, you could extract that Respect and Excellence are two aligned values. They are important to your people, and to your company. From that foundation, you can begin to implement these values into your EVP.

Implementation – From Marketing to Training to Everyday on the Job

Your values and EVP should be present in the entire employee experience – from their first interaction with your recruitment marketing materials into their daily experience as an employee of your company.

Your employment advertisements and employment website should speak extensively to your values, what your employees will be a part of building and creating by joining your company, why the position they’re interested in is important to you, and what they will gain – aside from their paycheck – by being a part of your organization.

Your application process should include questions that help identify candidates that will be a great fit for your team. For example, if your company has identified “Excellence” (best product, top customer experience, great training and learning opportunities for staff, etc.) as a strategic priority, ask questions on your job application and interview that prompt candidates to speak to their drive for excellence. Why did they choose the position they’re applying for? What makes them excited about the opportunity? What do they hope to achieve in that role? How have they succeeded (or failed) in similar roles in the past, and what did they take away from that experience?

Your employee training and internal processes should inform and guide all employees about how they will do their best in helping your organization achieve its priorities while getting the maximum value out of their employment experience. If your organization says it values Respect, for example, your company should have processes – that every employee is familiar with – that address how conflicts are resolved, how matters of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination will be handled, and how employees can address their concerns.

Simply drafting a list of values and stating them publicly doesn’t make them a reality of your EVP – they have to be shared among your team members, they have to be actualized into your culture, and they should be experienced by every individual regardless of their job title.

Ongoing Maintenance

Your Employee Value Proposition will change over time. What your employees value will evolve, and your organization’s key priorities will shift. As such, companies with the strongest EVPs regularly tend to them by providing opportunities for feedback. Survey your staff regularly, create avenues for anonymous feedback, and have conversations that inform you whether or not your company’s stated values and EVP align with what your team says about their experience. For example, if your company states that it values Creativity and Autonomy, but you receive a lot of feedback that employees feel micromanaged and that their ideas are never considered, then you’ve uncovered a major misalignment, which is going to lead to unhappy staff and poor results for your company. Either your processes and management style need to be revised so that employees again feel empowered to take action without asking permission and to dream up new ideas that they will see implemented, or your EVP needs to be updated, which will entail circling back to the implementation phase to ensure that your values are in focus as you hire and train.

By identifying what employees most appreciate about their experience working with your company, you can start to define your Employee Value Proposition and build upon it, creating an employee experience that enhances their lives, your customers’ experiences, and your company’s success.