A version of this article originally appeared on HR Partner.
In my last article "Define or be Defined" on employer branding, I examined why more and more organisations are investing in defining their employer brand to enhance their talent acquisition process.
In this second article of my series on employer branding, I will explore the how – that is, how to go about defining your employer brand – the key being in first developing your Employee Value Proposition.
Why a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is so important
At the core of a successful employer brand is a clear employee value proposition or EVP. To be truly successful, an employer brand needs to reflect who you are as an organisation and be incorporated into every aspect of the employee experience. And this is why EVPs are so important.
The EVP serves to define what the organisation would most like to be associated with as an employer and defines the "give and get" of the employment deal (the value that employees are expected to contribute with the value that they can expect in return). EVPs have become closely related to the concept of employer branding with the EVP being used to define the underlying "offer" on which an organisation’s employer brand is based.
How to first define your EVP
There are many ways an organisation can approach developing an EVP and employer brand, but most fall into these four key steps:
Step 1. Dissect your data
The first stage is to review and dissect all of the data you currently have available. This might include employee engagement, onboarding or exit surveys and recruitment and retention metrics. Analyse all data by key employee populations to identify trends and key themes. Remember to look beyond the top line numbers - the real insights come from the verbatim comments of employees that provide context to the numbers.
Step 2. Discover and dive deeper
This is the most important step in developing your EVP and should involve key stakeholders including senior management, HR, marketing and most importantly existing and target employees. It is also a step that can cause much debate, particularly between marketing and HR professionals.
This stage should include interviews with key stakeholders and focus groups with employees to dive deeper into key themes identified in step one.
External customer value propositions are often based on a "tell" approach, where a brand will define what it wants to stand for and then use marketing channels to deliver this brand promise. However, an EVP is an employee-centric approach that is aligned to existing HR strategies because it has been informed by existing employees.
Step 3. Develop your EVP
Now it is time to develop your EVP. Based on all of the research and insights from steps one and two, you need to craft your value proposition that should be a simple overarching statement that will become the essence of your employee experience and employer brand commitment.
At this stage you should also clarify the key areas of focus to support your EVP, such as Career Development, Work-Life balance or CSR. But keep these areas focused and don’t try to be all things to all people.
Importantly, you should also test your EVP against your HR strategy. If your EVP does not support your HR strategy then you need to revise it.
Step 4. Deliver your message
Now it is time to implement your EVP across the employee experience from your recruitment processes, through to onboarding, career development and even through the exit stage. You should ensure that the message and intent of the EVP is delivered at each of these stages in materials such as recruitment adverts, performance development materials and remuneration discussions.
And finally, build in methods to measure the EVP by incorporating it into your employee surveys and people metrics. This will help you demonstrate the value of the EVP, return on investment and financial benefits to the organisation.
Remember the benefits of Employer Branding
The EVP development and delivery does involve an investment in time and engagement from across the business. However, a well formed EVP provides many benefits including better attraction and retention of key talent, helps focus the HR agenda, creates a strong employee brand and can re-engage a disenchanted workforce.
But remember, an EVP must be unique, relevant and compelling if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement and retention – which is ultimately what your Employer Brand aims to do.
Andrew Collett is the director of Employee Engagement, Sydney.