I’ve found in my work as a brand consultant that the concept of branding is being taken up by businesses and applied to areas which traditionally have not been associated with it. And rightly so. Branding, done properly is not simply a lick of paint but an operating system by which a business should be run. Brand understanding from a leadership level should drive decisions - so the brand authentically lives up to what it stands for. Inside as well as outside.
Some of my recent client work has involved helping established businesses get to grips with this idea. After defining the brand positioning with a leadership team I’m often asked to help embed it within the employee experience. To help make it “live”. No small task but one I love!
As a part of this work I’ve been working more and more in the space of “Employer branding” and at the core of an employer brand is the EVP. If this jargon makes no sense to you, never fear. Here is a simple glossary of my helpful definitions:
Brand = "The meaning people attach to us and our offer"
Branding = "The management of meaning"
Employer Brand = "The meaning employees and potential employees attach to us"
Employer Branding = "The management of the meaning employees and potential employees attach to us"
Culture = "Behaviours, customs & beliefs, of colleagues"
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) = “The consistently communicated promise made by us, as an employer to employees, in return for their commitment"
What is an Employer Value Proposition (EVP)?
An Employer Brand Strategy is a high level definition of the desired
meaning (and how the business will mange that meaning) that employees
will attach to the business. It’s the “brand” from the perspective of employees.
As such it should be appealing to potential and current ideal employees and authentic to what the business requires of them.
So on the one hand it should define the cultural principles in how the brand purpose and values are lived in the every day activities of their people - and on the other hand define what employees can expect in return.
Collectively this becomes a Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
Why have an EVP?
The first step in managing meaning is to define and document it. This can
then be used to further design initiatives so that the business truly lives its
values and creates employee experiences which are valued and loved.
Ultimately the employee experience will work its way out to customers and
help the wider brand as it operates in market, scales and grows.
As I like to say - “our employee experience will effect or customer experience”. Happy employees = Happy customers.
The components of a EVP
Different businesses and strategists will have different models for this. I tend to flex what I put into an EVP depending on the context of the organisation I’m working with. However there are usually six key component parts of an EVP which all stem from a centralised “big idea”.
In this post I’ll share this as a framework for you to gain inspiration from - but note, there is not a “one size that fits all”.
Within each component there are various initiatives which all come together in a powerful way to collectively form our EVP.
EVP Big idea
At the heart of the EVP is the EVP big idea. This is the reason we will be
attractive to our audiences boiled down
into one phrase. It’s the promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged through everything we do.
It is true to our ambitions and to the desire of our employees and potential employees. It’s our employer rally cry. It’s designed to attract the type of people we want, and motivate the people we have. Everything ladders into it. Its an internal “true-line”.
The following key components ladder into the big idea. Each of these components in tern have sub-components and initiatives that connect to them.
Defining an EVP like this helps everything a business sponsors from a cultural perspective have ‘a place’ so it can be easily communicated, reported on and used.
Let’s go through the main components now and also define what we might set out in terms of sub-components.
Brand purpose should be at the centre of everything. Our brand purpose is our why. It’s our reason for being beyond making
money. It is the high-level meaning by which we hold ourselves accountable.
In this part of the EVP I would typically define the following :
Purpose, vision , mission - Statements which define the brand positioning
Values - These are the beliefs that a brand stands for. They serve as the compass that guides decision making.
Behaviours -These are how an organisation lives their brand values. These can be linked to performance management and business routines, rewards and reminders.
Company Goals - This would include targeted initiatives which the organisation is using to ensure they are really living the brand purpose in a measurable way.
People don’t usually come to work for free. People should be rewarded for their effort and Rewards take many forms. Here are some areas which you might like to define in this key component:
Equal opportunity statements
Job related benefits - for example car
Healthcare / insurance packages
Sick pay policy
Formal and Informal rewards
It’s important you push and develop your talent. Ambitious people do not like “dead-end” jobs. If your people want to progress you will want to help and encourage them
to do so. Include in this component things like:
Career Pathway Maps
Crossfunctional working group opporuntities
People Manager training / progression policy
Performance Management Policies
Skills training programmes
Networking / Speaking opportunities
The wellbeing of your people is something that is becoming more and more important. People want to know how you will look after them if they hit tough times. Having a focus on physical, financial and mental wellbeing as part of an EVP then is important.
Include things like the following:
Mental Health processes
Flexible Working policies
Medical screening / checkups
Routines are the regular things that your staff can expect to happen as part of the company culture. You need to be committed to these as they are an important feature of “the way things are done around here”.
Consider the following time frames and define all activities the business sponsors:
Weekly - e.g. Team huddles
Bi weekly - e.g. Manager one to ones
Monthly - e.g. Departmental briefings
Quarterly - e.g. Leadership town halls
Yearly - e.g. Christmas party
Our surroundings have a huge impact on our performance. How dedicated are you to creating the safest, most ergonomic and user friendly environments so your people can work in way’s that suit their individual needs? This is now your chance to define this in the Environment component. Include things like:
Health and safety policies
Equipment / tool allowances
So there you are. A EVP framework for you to consider pulling together for your organisation. Once defined you can then consider how you might make yours more public so you can attract and retain the talent you need to fuel your business success.
Of course this is all just a guide and there are other things you could include or output from your EVP definitions such as:
Social media boiler plates
Ongoing staff surveys
Tone of voice
Employer brand website
Social media planning
But these are more executional in nature. The first step to building an amazing culture and organisation for your brand is to define your EVP. So - get your leadership together, consult with your teams and get strategic.
I wish you every good fortune in creating and using yours!