6 Tips on Crafting a Talent-Winning Employer Value Proposition

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Today's Question: In order to build and advertise a great employer brand, you need to start with a unique employer value proposition (EVP). What are your tips for crafting (and living up to!) EVPs that attract talent?

1. Be Unique and Authentic

Is your job description high-level HR fluff, or does it proactively address the questions a candidate is going to want to know? What makes your company's product or service unique? What is making your company successful?

Does the description sound like it's coming from a real person? Here's a test: Read one of your current company job descriptions out loud. Now, would you say the same thing to someone in person sitting across the table?

— Paul Freed, Herd Freed Hartz

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2. Focus on What Inspires Your Workforce

Whatever you do, don't craft an employer value proposition to attract talent. EVPs, like corporate mission statements, tend to be full of professional jargon that isn't very inspirational. Instead, start by asking employees what makes them want to get up every morning to get to work. (Side note: If they say they don't want to get out of bed but need the paycheck, you have bigger work to do.)

Do they get to help people? Do employees get to work on awesome projects they brag about to friends? Is the CEO a former soccer player, and do most employees spend lunchtime playing full-field, club-level soccer? Do 50 percent of all profits get distributed to employees as a bonus every quarter? Use the things that inspire existing employees to attract new talent. This is a double bonus. You won't attract just any talent – you'll attract exactly the type of talent that is looking for the experience your company offers. They will be more likely to stay and be productive after they are hired.

Oh, and after you've created your list of reasons employees get out of bed every day, you can call it an "employer value proposition" if you want.

— Joe Weinlick, Beyond

3. Talk to Your Employees

A great way to determine your employer value proposition, especially for smaller companies, is to have a meeting with your team to discuss their personal values, what attracted them to your company in the first place, the vibe they want for the workplace, and the company culture. Compiling these values and deciding which ones you want to highlight will help attract candidates with similar values and strengthen your company culture and EVP.

— Paul Murskov, HireKeep

4. Test Your EVP in the Market

Plenty of data today suggests that people want to do inspired work more than they want to be well compensated, so test your value prop. in the market. See if people are applying for a position with your company because you offer the opportunity to work on something meaningful.

— Taylor Wallace, WeVue

5. Make It a Part of Your Yearly Review Process

Your employer value proposition doesn't exist unless you commit it to paper. Incorporate it into your yearly review process to learn more about your company culture and how you're attracting talent.

A couple of employer value factors to ask about every year include:

- Does your business offer growth to employees?

- How desirable is your office (location, space, etc.) to potential talent?

- What kind of flexibility (schedule, telecommute, etc.) is offered to employees?

- What kind of work culture is offered? Challenging? Relaxed?

- What kind of social culture is offered? Regularly scheduled team events? Are employees friendly but not social outside of work?

- What kind of management style is enforced? Is management highly involved with day-to-day work? Is management more hands-off?

From there, find the most sellable points and craft them into a bigger-picture statement.

Your careers page and online job postings should include your bigger-picture statement as well as employee testimonials about why they enjoy working for your business.

Going through these questions every year will help you learn a lot about the state of your business's culture (and if it needs any rethinking).

— David Scarola, The Alternative Board

6. Craft an 'Organizational Constitution'

An attractive EVP is built upon a purposeful, positive, productive culture. The problem is that most work cultures are not engaging and inspiring – they are frustrating and dull. Every company has a unique employer value proposition. Too many companies don't have a healthy, attractive one!

What exactly will your EVP be if you're being honest about your lousy culture? Do you really want to say, "Come work for us! We're the greatest back-stabbing, 'I win, you lose' company in town!"

Why are company cultures so frustrating? It's because leaders pay little attention to the quality of their work cultures. They've never been asked to do that. They don't know how. Leaders are paid to drive results, so that's what they do – at any cost.

To have an EVP that attracts and retains top talent, leaders must create a work culture that treats everyone with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction. How can leaders do that? By making values – the quality of workplace interactions – as important as results by using an organizational constitution.

An organizational constitution formalizes your company's servant purpose (its present-day "reason for being," beyond making money), values and behaviors, strategies, and goals. By defining values in terms of observable, tangible, measurable behaviors, leaders specify what a great citizen looks, acts, and sounds like. Leaders must be role models of desired values and behaviors first – only then will team members throughout the organization embrace those desired behaviors on their own.

An organizational constitution creates "liberating rules" that ensure people treat others with respect every time – and work together toward the accomplishment of the company's servant purpose, strategies, and goals.

The benefits of a purposeful, positive, productive culture are significant. My research shows that clients that implement an organizational constitution see 40 percent gains in employee engagement, 40 percent gains in customer service, and 35 percent gains in results and profits – all within 18 months of starting their culture initiatives.

When your culture is packed with inspired employees applying their skills to customer needs, who serve customers beyond the minimum, who proactively solve problems together, who value their peers and customers, and have fun doing it, then you'll have an EVP that writes itself.

— S. Chris Edmonds, The Purposeful Culture Group