Have you noticed the number of headlines recently that talk about the companies that are going to win or lose from the Corona Crisis based on the way they treat their employees?
I love that this commentary is highlighting the importance of the employee experience, it’s something I’ve been passionate about for many years. I do however wonder whether some companies are paying lip service to it and don’t back it up with actions. Part of the reason for this, is the many interpretations of what is meant by the employee experience and how it can be delivered. If your organisation is really committed to your employees, a great way of focusing on what’s important, is by clarifying the Employee Value Proposition.
This is a great time for organisations to review what has worked and where their employee brand may have taken a hit from the perspective of current employees and prospective employees. It’s also the time to think about what’s changed and how to reshape an EVP that will stick throughout the lifecycle of each employee going forward.
Defining an Employee Value Proposition
There are many ways of looking at and describing the employee experience (EX), the employer brand, the employee value proposition (EVP) or the workplace experience (WX). In my view, they all combine to create the psychological contract between the organisation and the employee. It’s the essence of the employment relationship; describing what is expected of you as an employee (The Give) and what you can expect from the organisation in return (The Get).
It’s all about what you give and what you get. And when these two things are aligned both the organisation and the employee can work effectively in a supportive environment.
I’m sure this is what every organisation wants to achieve; a workplace where people are motivated, engaged and equipped to be successful. However, it seems that sometimes organisations pay lip service to what it takes to have an EVP that works, or they start with good intentions and don’t follow through with changes needed to bring it to life.
To help organisations understand what is required to develop a robust and sustainable EVP, I tend to use this framework to guide the thinking.
Using this framework, there are 5 elements that need to be thought through and developed for the employee experience to be consistent, effective and engaging.
The impact of having a half-baked EVP
Over the years I’ve helped several organisations develop their EVP and have found it fascinating to unpick what an organisation is actually looking to achieve.
Take for instance a Global organisation I worked with some years ago who wanted to align all the different regional brands, so the employee experience was the same whichever country you were in. This was a sound objective, yet so difficult to achieve as within the organisation the two main stakeholders, Marketing and HR, couldn’t agree on the output.
For the Marketeers it was about creating a tagline proposition (element 1) that summed up what it was like working for the organisation. It was also about creating collateral (element 4) that could be given to employees and a logo/design that could be used for onboarding activities.
All valid as part of the overall proposition, but in my view, it wasn’t enough.
Meanwhile, the HR people wanted to define the culture, the values and behaviours that would bond the organisation. This related to elements 1 and 2.
Again, all valid, but not enough to make a real difference within the organisation. Both could be adopted but, in the end, neither of these approaches by themselves would deliver more than a lip service change to the employee experience.
Making your EVP stick
To create an approach that gives a consistent experience, the EVP needs to be created and then embedded in to policies, behaviours and across all parts of the employee lifecycle.
In the example above there was little chance of the newly defined EVP/tagline making a difference as the leaders weren’t committed to make changes that would embed The Deal into the fabric of organisation. To make it sticky all 5 elements needed to be considered, looking at how the employee experience is shaped at every stage of the HR lifecycle, from onboarding to exit.
One of the most rewarding projects I worked on consciously developed a proposition that had all 5 elements in mind. Having acquired a new division, the leaders used the development of the EVP to define a new culture, new processes and a new identity that aligned all employees.
It’s time to revisit your EVP
At the moment, the commentary is very much about the way employees and future employees will judge an organisation based on the way it has handled the Corona Crisis – how they’ve managed working from home, what safety measure have been put in place or how they’ve managed furloughing employees. These are all great examples of the Moments of Truth (element 3) that define the psychological contract of what you give and what you get.
There are plenty of other moments throughout the Employees lifecycle. One area that is often missed is the time when people leave the organisations, either voluntarily or through redundancy. For leaders in organisations and those in HR in particular, it’s always worth asking yourselves, “How do we want our ex-employees to talk about us when they leave this organisation?” You can then shape the redundnacy process with the employee in mind.
I wonder how many organisations are consciously considering how their actions over the last few months have impacted the psychological contract with employees. And as we move into the next and different phase of reinvention, recovery and re-entry, will redefining the EVP be part of the thinking?
Bringing all components together, in a way that works for Marketing, HR and the broader business does take time. With the right commitment and the right support to develop and embed the EVP it creates huge benefit for the organisation and provides a guiding light for decisions about your people.
Remember that your employees will be your hardest critics or greatest brand ambassadors depending how sticky your EVP is.
If you would like to find out more about creating an Employee Value Proposition that sticks, please contact me for an obligation-free consultation.