What makes a strong employee value proposition? Is it down to how much you pay? Free pizza for lunch? Do you HAVE to compete on salary?
Strong employee value propositions are crafted to appeal to the candidate persona the organisation is trying to attract. For some, that might be the size of the ping pong table, for others it might be things like flexible working, health insurance, or career development opportunities.
Many of the companies we work with worry that it’s not going to be possible to design an EVP that stands out because they are in a traditional, crowded market and everyone offers the same benefits.
But not every element of your value proposition needs to be unique. It’s the combination of benefits that needs to be unique.
In this guide, we look at 30 ways leading organisations are differentiating their employee value proposition across:
- career opportunities
- work environment
- company culture
Look at industry benchmarks, how do you compare? Can you win on salary?
Is your system for assessing salary increases and bonuses fair and transparent? Are people rewarded for the right things?
Raises and Promotions
Are people promoted for the right reasons or just because of time served? How do you assess whether someone is suitable for promotion?
Are people of the same level paid similarly?
Is your performance management system effective? Is it achievable for people?
How much time off do you give for life events like having a child, caring for a family member, bereavement or even just a sofa day?
How much time do you give for annual leave? How about an unlimited amount? Because that’s exactly what HubSpot offer their employees. They simply ask that their employees use ‘good judgement’. And this perk is offered from day one!
Predominantly this will focus on health insurance (ideally for the whole family), however Intuit offers pet insurance and SAP offers travel insurance.
Many companies will offer to match pension contributions, but there's a lot of variance in how much they'll match.
Will you contribute budget towards an employee’s education? Consider this, Adobe offers employees $10,000 every year for tuition and books, as well as access to college admissions and financial aid officers to help with their children’s college education. So whilst not all employees will want to undertake further education, most can still feel the benefit.
Most progressive businesses now allow employees to work flexible hours - they focus on work output and meeting goals rather than how many hours someone is sat at their desk.
Whilst this isn't possible in every industry, many companies are allowing employees some level of flexibility around set core hours. For example, rather than 9:00am to 5:00pm, some team members could be allowed to work from 7:00am to 3:00pm so they can pick up their kids from school.
What benefits extend to an employee’s family? Adobe allow employees to set aside $5,000 a year as pre-tax savings for child day care expenses and if their children are under 13, they’ll even contribute $1,200 a year towards it.
Given that over 53% of millennials already have children, you will increase your chances of attracting and retaining top talent by offering some concessions with their family.
What do you offer to help improve the wellbeing of your employees? You might want to consider annual health checks, in-house yoga sessions or a wellbeing subsidy that could include a gym membership, exercise equipment or nutrition plans.
Most organisations offer some level of opportunity for progression, however this usually relates to leading people. Yet, not everyone is looking to lead people. So how do you help these people progress?
Offering opportunities for career progression in the form of technical specialism is one way to achieve this. This provides a career path for individual contributors to become experts in their field and to be recognised for their important contribution to the organisation.
You don’t need to hold people back just because there isn’t a vacancy available to promote them into. People should be able to progress because they deserve to, not because you need them to.
Are you an established organisation? If so, this will appeal to many. Feeling a level of security in an employer will give these people peace of mind. However as a startup, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to push ‘stability’ as a selling point.
Training and Education at Work
What on-the-job training do you provide? Do you have a solid induction program? Consider upskilling your team leaders and middle management so that they are suitably prepared to provide ongoing support and mentorship to their team members.
Microsoft offer technical, management and professional development classes, as well as a visiting speaker series and they even have their own library.
Do you have careers advisors that your workforce have access to? It might sound like an unusual proposition but Intel offers careers advisors, mentors, networking events, workshops and internal development opportunities for everyone.
Evaluation and Feedback
Do you have suitable feedback and evaluation systems? Are they up to speed with the latest methods or have they remained unchanged for several years?
As the majority of the workforce will shortly consist of the Millennial generation, consider their expectations - they are looking for much more regular feedback and evaluation sessions than the typical six month performance review.
Do you have a system in place where employees can recognise one another for going above and beyond? If not, implementing a product to allow your teams to do so is often a great 'quick-win' for employee engagement and morale.
Give your team space to solve problems in their own way. Set their objectives with them, then leave them to get on with it whilst providing as much support as they need.
Does that sound like your organisaton? If you do go the extra mile with autonomy, then this is something worth shouting about as part of your EVP.
68% of Millennials say they crave adventure.
How do you support your employees in pursuing their personal achievements? From the ability to buy and sell extra holiday to offering sabbaticals based on length of service, you’ll probably find your employee returns far more enthused and motivated than before.
Work-life balance has become one of the most popular considerations for employees when choosing a new employer.
Perks include working from home, flexible hours, time off to look after kids - at Google you can even bring your pet to work whenever you want.
Understanding of Role and Responsibilities
Do you have clear job specifications that are shared with employees?
It’s important that the roles and responsibilities are clear, fair and reasonable. Make sure all new employees are happy with them, and periodically sit down and review them together to ensure they still make sense.
Understanding of Goals and Plans
What are your internal comms like? Does your CEO communicate the strategic goals of the company?
Regular comms from the top will help people feel that they are on a journey together, rather than feeling like it’s ‘them and us’.
What are people like in your organisation? Are they friendly, helpful and hardworking or disgruntled, angry and toxic?
Getting new talent through the door is challenging enough, so you don’t want someone to resign within a few months of joining because of an environment mismatch.
Establishing an EVP is a great start on the road to a better culture. Consider whether unhappy employees would be happier working somewhere else and work with them to figure this out and support the next step in their career regardless of the outcome. There’s no point having an unhappy employee whose employer is unhappy with them - there are no winners in this scenario.
Leaders and Managers
What kind of leaders and managers do you have at your organisation? Are they inspiring, well-rounded mentors? Do they have a high degree of emotional intelligence?
Are co-workers supportive of each other, working towards one vision? Or are people working in silos, hoarding information and deferring responsibility?
Retaining top talent is dependent on a cohesive, rewarding and supportive culture. Ensure your core values form part of performance management reviews – hold people to account for their behaviour, not just their output.
Ensure that this positive culture is evident at the top. If your role models display your core values, it’s more likely that your staff will too.
Collaboration and Team Spirit
Nobody needs convincing that teamwork is important in the workplace. However, creating a culture where people thrive more as a team than they do as an individual isn’t easy. Your performance management process should be such that teamwork is rewarded. Potential bonuses and other rewards and recognition should be tied to positive team outcomes.
OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) create alignment and ensure everyone is moving in the same direction. The system is used by the likes of Google, Spotify, Twitter, Walmart, Target and The Guardian. It was adopted by Google 20 years ago and is still used today, having supported their growth from 40 employees to more than 85,000.
Embedding OKR’s in your organisation can help align individuals to the same goals, creating a more collaborative, supportive team-based culture.
Millennials are more likely to work for an organisation that gives back to society. Examples include reducing carbon footprint, supporting fair trade and engaging in volunteer efforts in the community. Find something that works well for you industry, size and budget.
What kind of reputation does your brand have? If it’s a highly positive one, consider using this as part of your EVP.