Organisations need to ensure their
EVP and employer brand align with
I am currently in the process of organising my 9 year-old son’s birthday party and it has occurred to me that there are a number of similarities to developing employment branding.
Minchington (2005) reminds us that an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) must be “unique, relevant and compelling if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement and retention.” These three elements along with the need to align with business strategy are vital for a successful EVP.
Perhaps what it means to “create an EVP” needs further explanation. An Employee Value Proposition cannot be constructed, it must be discovered. It is the authentic essence of an organisation, however, it is influenced by strategic action, like the idea of the “self-fulfilling prophesy” cliché. Organisations shouldn’t just let their EVP happen, actions need to influence it and articulation of the employer brand needs to be aligned with business strategy.
So back to the birthday party and how it relates to the elements of an Employee Value Proposition:
Unique and Relevant
My son thought long and hard about the theme for his party. He wanted it to be different, memorable and fresh. A party with games, a cake and drinks was expected; it needed a unique twist. It also needed to be relevant to his cohorts and have credibility on the playground. We decided that Nerf guns would be the perfect solution because they’re currently all the rage among boys his age, no one else had exploited this as a theme and it’s feasible.
Similarly, businesses need to determine what is unique about their organisation whilst ensuring the message is still relevant to the target market. This can only be done with research. Not only is internal research (e.g. engagement surveys) vital to ensure actions can be taken to address and modify issues for existing employees, but external research (e.g. polls, focus groups of target candidates or the values question in an interview) is also critical to determine how to best utilize marketing efforts.
Compelling Yet Authentic
The EVP message needs to be compelling while still maintaining authenticity. The introduction of employer social media sites, such as http://www.glassdoor.com, where a branding message can simultaneously be promoted and disproved at any given moment makes this point even more important. The employer brand needs to be so compelling that it calls potential employees to action (talent attraction) and once they join, ensures they are satisfied (talent retention) and ideally compels them to want to promote the organisation (brand ambassadors).
Telling a group of 4th grade boys that the food will be prepared from scratch may not bring forth enthusiasm. However, advising them that there will be Nerf guns supplied at the party will get their attention (attraction) and once they arrive, in giving them the Nerf guns and an area to use them we are ensuring they will stay (retention) and share how great the party was (promotion).
Aligned with Business Strategy
The EVP message needs to be aligned with the organisation’s business strategies. It should be authentic with a hint of aspiration. For example, if the organisation has a strong focus on family but it is still working on improving work-life balance, then that precise message needs to be communicated by stating, “We are a company that is aspiring to further support family values and therefore, we have recently introduced new policies to enhance work-life balance”. Although "having fun" is a much simpler goal , planning a child’s birthday party is still similar.
When planning an employment brand strategy it is important to be sure the EVP is differentiated yet relevant and compelling while highly authentic yet aligned with the business strategy. In remembering each of these components, your organisation will be well on its way to achieving “a place to be” image among those you are looking to recruit.