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EVP…What Does It Mean?
When bandying around the term EVP, “Employee Value Proposition“, business managers, recruiters and HR professionals either confuse it with Employer Brand or are just confused. What is an Employee Value Proposition? Officially, it’s the salary, compensation and benefits that the employer pays to an employee who’s contracted to deliver skills, experience and productivity that further delivers the company’s business goals, mission, purpose and values. Your EVP, in tandem with your Employer Brand, will be the determining factor in retaining or losing talent from your organisation.
Every company in the world has an EVP, whether it’s defined or not or you’re aware of it or not. Every recruiter, whether an in-house recruiter as part of the HR team or an agency recruiter, sells the opportunity to work at a company based on this EVP. Let’s break up the EVP into three parts: salary, compensation and benefits.
Salary is so often seen as the key selling point for a role. Essentially Salary is about “more money”, it’s the most versatile part of any EVP. Just like Price in the 4 P’s of Marketing (Product, Place, Price and Promotion), we can adjust someone’s pay or the level at which we’re willing and able to pay, easier than any other aspect.
Inflating salaries because of huge competition for talent is an economic bubble – and we all know what happens with those. It gets bigger and bigger until eventually, it pops. No company can solely compete with its competitors for talent on salary, because no company has limitless resources to hand. Over-value your employees and you lose productivity and any semblance of a profit at the end of the day.
Conversely, there are undervaluing employees. Bill Fisher, at the Big Data discussion on Wednesday at TruLondon, touched on an interesting point on EVP – over time as you develop and train your employees, a big mistake on the part of the HR team is not monitoring your employees’ core skills, development and learning. By losing track, you run a risk of undervaluing your team. For example, an employee completes a training course that now makes them fully capable of building a really complex database in Sybase (a highly in-demand skill) which is hugely important to your business – but you don’t take that skill into a factor of their salary. Say you paid them 40k before they gained the skill and still pay them this, but others with this skill will actually be paid 55k if they change jobs today, making your employee undervalued by 15k and now they’re a huge risk of being targeted by your competitors and may get poached out from under you.
Compensation is normally the word for salary, but I personally think it should be separate. Salary is what we pay people to do their job. Compensation is what we pay people who do their jobs really well. Variable, performance-related pay. It mightn’t always be cash, it could be a bonus in the form of a prize (from a bottle of wine to a holiday in the Bahamas), or even paid time off. Money doesn’t really motivate everyone, and certainly a monetary prize won’t push people to over-perform. Finding compensation that works for your employees is part of defining your EVP.
Benefits come in three forms:
- Supplementary compensation;
- Values, mission and purpose;
- People and culture.
Supplementary compensation benefits are your company cars, mileage, free coffee in the office, health insurance, stocked canteen, gym memberships, great office locations, flexible working times etc. These are partly cultural, partly bragging-rights-deserving factors in your employee value proposition.
Values, mission and purpose are most definitely benefits for employees, but rarely are they brought into your EVP considerations. Clearly defined company values that the employees can relate to and live up to, a guiding mission for the company goal, and a business purpose – the “My Job Matters” factor These are sometimes even greater motivators for performing exceptionally well, accepting an offer of employment, or staying with your company on a longer term, than salary.
People and Culture are an overlooked benefit in organisation’s EVP too. Good people want to work with good people. Talent knows talent. No one wants to go to work every day to be surrounded by colleagues who’re incompetent or lazy! When you have good people in your organisation (which is HR’s job to ensure that only good people are hired and that they’re continually motivated and challenged to remain good as time goes on), more good people will want to work for you. Your people can create a culture of its own. The brand can start off the culture, but its only brought to life by your employees living it. They will force it to adapt or will have changed it entirely (in both good and bad ways).
A white-paper by Towers Watson issued last December found “almost three-quarters of employer respondents globally (72%) report problems attracting critical-skill employees, and over half (56%) report problems retaining them. The numbers are even higher among companies in fast-growing economies, with 82% and 71% reporting problems attracting and retaining critical-skill employees, respectively.”
Define Your EVP
Every EVP should be clearly defined because in doing so you can actively attract and retain talent. As you begin the process of defining your EVP, you have the opportunity to correct parts that don’t fit with your company vision or are out of line with your competitors; comprehend which parts are really unique and can become a key selling point for your company; and articulate this EVP clearly to both current employees and potential new recruits.
Start to get your EVP down on paper, even if it already been defined by your company in the past. Don’t put a marketing spin on it, don’t try and kid yourself into thinking that every aspect of your EVP is brilliant. Be realistic, and start to fill in each element of the EVP under the following headings:
- Compensation (rewards and bonuses)
- Supplementary Compensation
Now that you’ve defined it, what else should you do with it?
1) Improve it
2) Communicate it
3) Keep it a living document
4) Review it regularly
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