[ERE] Are You Defining Your Employer Value Proposition in All the Wrong Ways?

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On this subject, here is an article about Employer Branding: If you’re serious about investing in your employer brand — which, of course, you should be — defining your value prop is an important first step. Yet it’s not always easy to know where to begin. Definitions and approaches vary, but at its core, a good EVP should concisely answer this fundamental question: Why should people want to work for you?

Sounds simple enough, but in practice, things can get complicated very quickly.

To start, the sheer number of audiences involved (executives, recruiters, active/passive candidates, current employees, alumni) means you may very well end up with multiple answers (theories) that may not neatly align. Executives may think your EVP is all about career development, while employees may say benefits are king. Who is right?

To muddy the waters further, your EVP may vary by department or role. High-volume frontline team members often have very different “whys” than corporate or technical team members. And by the time you consider all the different employer-brand touchpoints for each audience — career site, CRM, ATS, recruiters, third-party reviews, interviews, onboarding — you may quickly feel overwhelmed.

Begin With Current Employees

While it’s ultimately important to collect input from all audiences and stakeholders, start with your current employees for at least three reasons:

  • They’re the easiest to access. Unlike candidates, employees are easy to find, you already know how to contact them, and most will be eager/willing to share their opinions.
  • They know your employer brand best. As the people who interact with your employer brand daily, they are best-positioned to provide thoughtful, meaningful feedback.
  • You can apply to other audiences what you learn from them. What matters to your happiest employees provides a great roadmap for attracting external talent who are likely to feel similarly fulfilled by what you offer.

Go Beyond Anecdotes and Lore

We see many clients start their EVP-definition exercises by interviewing a small number of employees — everything from a 30-minute virtual call to half-day job-shadowing, during which a researcher follows an employee throughout the workday asking questions and making observations. These types of qualitative activities can be useful for ideation, but they’re not a substitute for a quantitative assessment of what matters to your broader population of workers.

Too often, we see TA teams going down EVP rabbit holes based on the comments of five to 10 employees. So for example, perhaps “most” of the folks you talked to said that training/development is the most important aspect of their employment. This could represent what the broader employee population thinks. Or perhaps it does not?

The only way to know for sure is to survey a broad cross-section of your employees. Then you’ll have either the validation you need or a necessary reality check before you do a major rework of your career site with messaging that may not strongly resonate.

Two Simple Questions 

Surveys are a dime a dozen these days, and with many ATS’s and HRIS’s now offering built-in survey functionality, the trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon. While it’s great in theory to be able to survey employees once a week, you should be thoughtful about how often you send out surveys and how many questions you ask each time.

For the purposes of defining your EVP, less is more: You need just two primary questions (along with relevant profiling questions related to department, role, tenure, etc.) to create a powerful Employer Brand Perceptual Map.

Creating a Employer Brand Perceptual Map

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