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Stand Out from the Crowd With a Strong Employee Value Proposition

By Lyn Currie, Managing Director, Waterstone Executive Search

One of the big people and culture trends coming out of the pandemic is that employees are re-evaluating what they’re looking for when it comes to work – looking for more growth opportunities, focusing on work-life balance, seeking out flexible work options, and perhaps most notably valuing purpose and meaning in their work more than ever.

For employers, especially those who are building a high performance culture, this means re-evaluating talent acquisition and talent retention strategies to ensure they’re focused not just on the roles or the people needed, but also on what the company is able to offer team members over and above a pay cheque.

That’s where a clear, concise employee value proposition (EVP) comes in.


Why Have an EVP?

According to Gartner, “[o]rganizations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%.” A strong EVO can also “[i]ncrease the likelihood of employees acting as sponsors from an average of 24% to 47%” according to Link Humans.

Your EVP is not only your chance to make a great first impression with potential new hires, but also an opportunity to build a strong and meaningful connection with existing team members and to help drive employee engagement. Being clear on what your organization offers employees and making sure everyone – not just your people or HR teams – can articulate that offer in a consistent way is key.


Elements of an Effective EVP

  1. Authenticity: This is your chance to put your best foot forward and tell your story in a compelling way. It should be about highlighting what makes your company and team great, why what you do matters, what makes you different from your competitors, what people can expect when working with you, and where you hope to go in the future. It should be accessible and reflect the tone and expectations that employees will find once on board. Is your culture playful and full of humor? Are you a serious, professional bunch who expect the same from new hires? Whatever your culture and your story, presenting it in an authentic manner will help ensure everyone knows what they’re getting and what they can expect. And that’s the goal.
  2. Purpose and values: Your EVP needs to lay out the company’s purpose and values and help articulate how team members contribute to that purpose. In a 2021 survey by McKinsey, 63% of people surveyed said they “want their employer to provide more opportunities for purpose in their day-to-day work.” Stating up front what you’re working to achieve as an organization and the role employees can and do play in achieving that purpose will help future employees understand how they can have an impact by joining the team, and can serve as a touchpoint for current employees in their day-to-day efforts.
  3. Workplace culture: Culture is your competitive advantage – it’s the one thing about your organization that cannot be exactly duplicated, and so it deserves to be highlighted in your EVP. Being clear about your culture will help people understand what they can expect when joining the company, and it can also help people self-select out of your organization if your culture doesn’t appeal to them or if they can’t envision how they would fit (and help growth) that culture. Are you high performance, highly collaborative team? Do you operate in a fast-paced, agile and competitive environment? Is a sense of humor or a sense of adventure key? Take the time to get clear on your culture and articulate what you expect from your team (and what they can expect from you).
  4. Total rewards: Compensation and total rewards can’t be ignored. People want to know they’re being compensated fairly, but when a candidate looks at an opportunity today they aren’t thinking just about pay. They’re also looking at benefits and wellness packages, opportunities for training and career growth, flexibility (in where, when or how they work), and of course culture.

No matter how your EVP comes together, or what it covers, the key to making this an effective tool is ensuring that everyone on the team understands and can communicate what it is that sets you apart from the rest. From your talent acquisition team to the C-suite, having a clear, consistent message about who you are as a company and why someone should want to join the team and help drive success will help you stand out from the crowd.

As a retained executive search firm, DRiWaterstone has 20 years of experience helping clients articulate their EVP as part of their talent acquisition efforts. Book a call with one of our search experts and see how we can help you find and retain top talent for your organization.

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If the last update your organization made to its interview process was the introduction of online interviews back in 2020, then it may be time to revisit your plan!

Organizations that are thriving in today’s competitive talent market are trying new and different ways to engage with candidates during the interview process – online and in person. Here are three tips for reinvigorating your interview process from the executive search experts at DRiWaterstone:

  1. Lead with culture. This starts with talking about culture on your careers page and in your job descriptions. Let candidates know up front what to expect when working with your organization and then demonstrate this in your interview process. If you say your culture is transparent and trust-based, how do you demonstrate that in the interview process? If you’re focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, make sure your interview panel reflects that. Leading with culture gives candidates a picture of what they can expect if they join the team – and it gives you a chance to assess their behaviors against your culture pillars too.
  2. Send candidates (some of) your questions in advance. This is a great way to help put candidates at ease and to offer a more inclusive interview experience – one that accommodates a greater variety of personalities and styles and allows candidates to put their best foot forward. You’ll get more useful information out of a prepared candidate than someone fighting nerves, and follow up questions and small talk still leave room to dive deeper on key points and get to know how the candidate aligns to your purpose and culture. Need more convincing? See this article from LinkedIn.
  3. Try an immersive experience. This is an opportunity to observe the day-to-day reality of the job, meet and interact with the team, and get a hands-on sense for whether this is a good fit – for both the candidate and the employer. Consider having your top candidate spend some time in the office, give them the opportunity to talk to other employees about the organization and the role, ask them to join a team social event, reserve them a spot at a company-hosted event, or hold an interview in an unconventional location (e.g., a walking interview at your local park). Not only does this give candidates an inside view of your organization and your culture, it lets you see how they react in different situations, how they adapt to new challenges, and how they fit with your company culture.

Need more help taking your interview process to the next level? The executive search experts at DRiWaterstone Human Capital can help. Click to book a meeting and learn more about how we help leading non-profit and social impact organizations across the U.S. find and retain top talent.

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