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Working towards EVP, in a more agile way

How to get the value, without the wait.

An EVP has more value than you think

EVPs are very often thought of as a way to enhance your recruitment marketing. That is, it will help to elevate your job adverts or campaigns and set you apart from the competition that are trying to recruit the same people.

And it will absolutely help you do that. But an EVP also has a lot more that it can offer you.

If you use your EVP well - and by that, I mean consistently - then you have the opportunity to build your presence in the marketplace. People will start to recognise your brand and start to make positive associations with it. That’s great, but there is another level that you can aim for too.

Ultimately, you can be thinking about managing a process of moving the perceptions of your target audience, from where they are now, to a place that is more in line with your positive reality. That’s a longer-term project, and it requires real consistency, and a range of ways to reach your audience. Especially to build an emotional connection to them, because that’s what genuinely shifts opinions for the long term.

Evidently, to know you’re doing this successfully, you need to know what people thought of you at the outset, what they want from an employer, and if you are convincing them that you can meet those needs.

That’s a relatively sophisticated piece of work – but with a little support – well in the reach of TA and recruitment pros, perhaps working with their own marketing teams.

An EVP has internal value too

An EVP need not just been about working externally, it can have real value within the organisation. Clearly, there then needs to be involvement of other people within the organisation – the broader HR or people team, internal communications, and ideally leadership.

There are two ways in which the EVP can have real internal value to help you communicate:

· Today’s positive reality: Bringing the same EVP as externally into the communication and activity of the organisation in order to secure and enhance employee engagement. It’s a sad fact, but we are most engaged with our employer before we start our job. Engagement then drifts down, before – somewhere between 5-10 years in – starting to tick back up. Why is that? Well, it’s probably like all other human relationships; we stop making quite so much effort. Your EVP can be the catalyst and the focus for some more of that effort. It should be a guide to talking with your people about the things that matter to them.

 · Tomorrow’s positive reality: If you have gone about defining your EVP in the right way, then you will now know what matters to your current and prospective employees. As part of that, you will also now know what you don’t yet have a good claim for, or do not yet offer. So the next logical step is to examine what part of the employee experience can be changed or enhanced to meet more of your audience’s needs. How can you change, as employer, even as an organisation, to be a more attractive place to work for more of the people you’d like to bring and hold on to? These are bigger decisions, and you might not have your handles on the levers to make changes here. That’s why you need to have engaged those that do, early on, so that you are ready to have these conversations.

An EVP can only show that value if you think of it in the right way

An EVP is not a strapline.

An EVP is not a creative look and feel.

It can advise those, absolutely, and those might be a couple of the ways in which the EVP touches your audience, but it must be a lot more than that. If it’s not it will soon grow tired. You will get bored, and you will want to change what you’re doing.

And as soon as you do that, you’re starting again with your audience.

What your EVP should be is a narrative that spells out the perception of your organisation, as an employer, that you want to influence people towards.

I have my own ideas about what should be behind that, but it needs to have robust evidence, sentiment, and a structure that allows you to continually stay on topic – whatever the communication or “touchpoint”.

So, the EVP and its supporting elements need to encapsulate everything about your brand, for an employee audience, so that you can be assured you can always be distinctive, attractive, realistic and consistent.

 But it doesn’t need to be a huge insight project before you can realise the value.

Defining EVPs has become something of an industry. A lot of organisations can see the potential and the value in them. It’s not then a surprise that other organisations emerge to support that need.

Two observations from me:

First – as described very eloquently to me last week – there’s some smoke and mirrors around EVP. It’s made to sound big, difficult, beyond your ken. Following this line, you need expert help to do it for you. But the other effect is to entirely dissuade some organisations who are left thinking: “I don’t quite know what this about, so it’s not for me.”

Second - it’s often presented as a big project: six-figures, and at least six months of robust insight processes before you can do anything valuable. And at the same time presented as very fragile, and susceptible to change, so it’ll need re-doing or re-inventing in the near future. I can see very well how that combination of messages will raise suspicion.

You can start right now

You already have insights that you can apply, right now. And if you do, your brand activation will be better than before you had that insight.

Marketing, HR, Leadership can give you a lot of what you need tomorrow.

·         In the case of marketing, the simplest thing you can do is translate your existing organisation brand from the eyes of the customer / user to that of the employee. As examples: How do your values apply for employes? What’s the proposition you have for customers, so what does that require of employees? How do you ensure that you positively impact your community, and what does that offer employees?

·         In the case of HR, they can tell you a lot about the successes and struggles of recruiting and retaining different people. As well detail on as reward, flexibility, DE&I, they’ll have insight on culture and behaviours. They can provide a great description of what the experience of people is like.

·         In the case of leadership, they can tell you what you are striving for as an organisation, and what commitment that needs from employees. They’ll be able to describe their vision and their vision for people in your organisation – and that can be turned into more outward-facing, without the assumptions of any existing knowledge.

In very short order, you can position your organisation in ways that meet those main criteria, i.e. that are distinctive, attractive, realistic and consistent.

And you can take that to market now.

And then, as you have more time, you can add insights to it, and iterate your thinking.

You can repeat this process, and in time, you will – almost organically - work towards a coherent EVP.

 Get your EVP right, and you’re in position to solve organisational problems

All organisational problems are, at their root, people problems.

You don’t have the right people, or you don’t keep the right people for long enough, or they don’t work together well enough, or they’re not focused on the right priorities.

 You can realise the value of the EVP, by linking the right people within your organisation: HR and Marketing, Leadership and Operational

Your EVP is a tool, a catalyst, to bring people together to solve those people problems. And if you can solve those kinds of problems, then your organisation is set up to succeed.

I'll be writing more on this, and providing practical guidance on getting started, in the very near future.

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