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What’s an EVP?

Some organisations understand what an EVP is and why it’s important, but many still don’t recognise the terminology or understand quite what it is, where it fits within their recruitment strategy and ultimately why it is a very important element of their business to consider, particularly due to its direct influence on talent attraction and retention

So, what is an Employee Value Proposition? It’s essentially your complete offering to your current employees and of course your potential and future employees too. It’s all the things you offer in return for their skills, effort, and loyalty. Not just salary and other financial benefits, but also the softer benefits, all the supportive elements you offer around their employment, the level of flexibility offered, the progression opportunities, and all the cultural nuances that make your organisation different from your competitors. It should also include your values, mission, and purpose. It’s in fact a summing up of your entire cultural offering which forms the basis for both the attraction of new talent and the continued motivation and engagement of current employees.

 

Why is having a strong Employee Value Proposition particularly important now?

The entire process of finding a job is completely different now from how it was even 10 years ago. Historically the process was relatively one-sided, where the hiring company pulled all the strings, and it was essentially up to the candidate to prove their worth. The process also tended to be fairly formal with little room for small talk and somehow it seemed that there was more talent to choose from and less competition for it.

Now though things are very different. Within certain areas of the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science industries, good candidates are in high demand, they know their worth and they have choices. Many companies have realised that they must work much harder to sell themselves, as the applicant generally holds far more sway in a very competitive talent market. To be successful in attracting and retaining the best talent, companies simply need to be far more effective in promoting themselves and the opportunity to potential candidates in their talent pool. Hiring companies need to be visible to both active and passive candidates and they need to utilise as many marketing touchpoints as possible, using strong, consistent, and unique branding and messaging to entice talent to come forward to find out more about what it might be like to work there.

 

What does a good Employee Value Proposition look like?

A good Employee Value Proposition should run throughout the firms DNA. It starts from the top and is a cultural choice to fully engage with employees, to communicate openly with them and to offer an experience that they ultimately enjoy, feel they belong and importantly feel that they are well looked after in return for the work they are doing for the organisation.

There are two elements here: one is the actual EVP offering itself, the list of benefits, rewards, opportunities, and support offered to employees; and the other is how these are packaged up, branded, and communicated internally and externally to attract and retain talent.

Let’s look first at which elements of an EVP seem most important to candidates at the moment.

At Carrot Executive, we work with hundreds of client companies spanning the Pharma, Biotech and Life Science industries and we do a lot of work in sectors such as Healthcare or Medical Communications, Market Access & HEOR, and Market Research & Business Intelligence – across these three niche sectors, the fight for talent is particularly acute and so having a good employee proposition and communicating it well are very important.

Five influential elements in attracting and retaining talent

From the various talent insights projects that we have worked on over recent months, these five elements appear to be very influential in attracting and retaining talented employees at present:

  1. High levels of flexibility, especially post-Covid where the balance will swing from office towards home working.

  2. The above relates somewhat to work-life balance, but the firm who continually expects employees to work long hours into the evening to deliver on what seems to be a constant level of pressure from client projects will struggle to retain staff for the long term unless, of course, that is balanced with time in lieu and other tokens of appreciation.

  3. A competitive salary and other financial rewards such as bonus and pension contributions have always been important elements and remain so.

  4. Benefits that look to offer support around mental health and general wellbeing are now at the forefront of many employee’s minds now and firms are getting better at including these in their EVP.

  5. Finally, the level of variety in the role seems to be a key consideration for candidates at the moment, which also ties in with opportunities for training, development, and career progression.

If your firm has these well catered for then your EVP should be strong, putting you in a good position to attract and retain great staff.

 

Now let’s consider how a good EVP needs to be communicated

Your Employee Value Proposition needs to live throughout all company branding and marketing collateral – it should become part of the fabric and should emanate through the language that employees use and the way they behave in their approach to their role and with each other. Ultimately it should be written down in a document to provide clarity on what the EVP is, what is included in it and how it is to be used in attracting and retaining employees. This then forms the basis for the internal and external communication of the EVP as well as informing the recruitment process and the candidate experience that you offer.

 

How to create and implement an EVP

If you don’t have an EVP written down, it’s a good idea to get some current employees involved to help you develop one. They have the best idea of what it’s like to work there and of course, they know the benefits, support and opportunities that are on offer. But crucially, through this process, they will help you to understand how well you have been communicating your EVP internally (and possibly externally). Employees who have recently joined you can also advise of their experience in going through the attraction, assessment and onboarding phases and so can help to pick out areas which can be improved for future candidates.

A basic flow to develop your Employee Value Proposition might be:

  • Research to clarify current perceptions internally and externally - and benchmark competitors.

  • Set out the aims of your EVP. What is it for and what do you want it to help achieve?

  • Identify your candidate personas? What are the profiles of talent you want to attract and keep?

  • Draft, then finalise your EVP (with further research in between to refine it).

  • Identify the best channels to use for your EVP communications (candidate touchpoints).

  • Develop your marketing collateral and schedules for consistent messaging (internal too).

  • Implement a way to consistently measure results and use these to continually refine the EVP.

The implementation piece is about ensuring the Employee Value Proposition lives through all the business functions and that it is woven through the brand and the entire marketing mix with all that collateral promoting consistent key messages.

 

Perception vs. reality

It’s then important that what you say you offer and what you actually offer are very much the same thing. Candidates looking at your EVP messaging from the outside should also receive a similar sense of your offerings when they meet with you, when they accept a role, and they should still feel it remains true throughout their time with you as an employee. Even candidates who come through the process and are unsuccessful should walk away with a positive perception of what benefits, opportunities and support you offer your employees and that will of course create a positive impression of your brand within your key talent pools.

 

A final recap

  • Many firms still do not recognise what an Employee Value Proposition is or why it’s important.

  • Nowadays, talent is in short supply and high demand, so a strong offering is crucial.

  • Five elements of any EVP currently appear important to the talent market, and these are:

    • Flexibility.

    • Good work-life balance.

    • Competitive salary and financial rewards.

    • Support around mental health and well-being.

    • Variation in their role and good development opportunities.

  • Your EVP should be developed in written form to then drive how it is communicated.

  • Getting existing employees involved in clarifying and improving the EVP is important.

  • The actual experience needs to always match the perception of what you offer your employees.

 

Carrot Executive

Carrot Executive work in partnership with a large number of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences companies and consultancies, supporting with a range of bespoke insights projects to support clients in their strategic decision making in relation to talent attraction and retention, market penetration and competitor benchmarking.

The development of Employee Value Propositions is part of what we do to help clients to differentiate themselves from their competitors in the talent market.

For more information, please contact Martin Anderson via martin@carrotpharma.co.uk, call +44 (0)1625 541 032 or use the 'schedule a call' link below:

Schedule a call

 

Further Reading:

Employer Brand Factsheet - https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/recruitment/brand-factsheet

What is an EVP? - https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2016/01/18/what-is-an-employee-value-proposition/

6 Steps to Build Your EVP - https://blog.smarp.com/6-steps-to-build-your-employees-value-proposition 

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