Create an excellent employee value proposition

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Published: 8 July 2024 | by Natasha K. A. Wiebusch, Brightmine Marketing Content Manager

Transforming your employee value proposition to maximise the employee experience may be the key to talent success.

According to Qualtrics, employees whose company’s mission, vision and values align with their own are 45% more likely to recommend the company as a great place to work. On the flexibility front, Gartner’s CHRO EVP Guide reported radical flexibility resulted in 18% increase high performers. That’s the good news…

The bad news is that, today, most employees aren’t seeing results of a great employee value proposition. Research shows employee engagement hasn’t recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 33% of US employees and 10% of UK employees felt engaged in 2023, according to Gallup’s 2024 State of the Global Workplace report. And, employees now feel less connected to their employers’ mission and values.

To attract and retain talent, employers must create an excellent employee value proposition.

What is an employee value proposition?

An employee value proposition (EVP) is a system composed of everything of value that you agree to provide employees in exchange for their work. Importantly, an EVP acts as a guide for your employee experience.

An EVP plays a central role in building your employer brand. It helps you communicate the value of working for the organisation to employees and candidates. It also helps you stand out by going well beyond compensation and benefits. A compelling EVP will communicate the company’s culture, mission, values and the unique benefits of working there.

Common Elements

Every organisation will have a unique EVP that reflects its employer brand. However, EVPs should always include both tangible elements and intangible elements. The following table provides some examples:

TangibleIntangible
PayCareer opportunity
BenefitsWork environment
Annual leaveCulture
Flexible workPurpose

Employee value proposition models

Employee value proposition models represent different approaches to creating an EVP. They help frame an EVP by establishing factors a company should address. In recent years, these models have transformed to become more employee-centric. The following are key models to be aware of:

The 5 Components of the Employee Value Proposition

A common approach to EVP is to divide it into five components, or pillars:

  • Compensation.
  • Benefits.
  • Career Development.
  • Culture.
  • Work environment.

Under this traditional model, you can provide a strong employee experience by addressing each of these components.

Thrive Research EVP Model

Mercer’s Thrive Research EVP model is a three-tiered pyramid that includes five components:

  • Compensation.
  • Benefits.
  • Well-being.
  • Careers.
  • Purpose.

The pyramid shape reflects a hierarchy of needs, with the basic needs located at the bottom. The higher up the pyramid you go, the better the EVP.

Thrive Research EVP Model

Infographic of Mercer's Thrive research employee value proposition model, which includes compensation, benefits, careers, well-being and purpose.
Source: Mercer, Thriving in the Age of Disruption Research

This model helps leaders understand evolution of the “modern contract” of work. Today, employees have increased expectations from their employers. While employees once saw compensation and benefits as enough in the past, they now expect more. They expect employers to support their careers, and want their work to have meaningful purpose.

Human Deal Model

Gartner’s Human Deal Model model focuses on employee-centrism. This model includes the following components:

  • Deeper connections: Whether employees can strengthen their family and community connections, not just work connections.
  • Radical flexibility: Whether employees have flexibility in where, when, how, how much and with whom they work.
  • Personal growth: Whether employees have opportunities for personal (not just professional) growth.
  • Holistic well-being: Whether employees have meaningful access to and use well-being benefits that see them as a whole person.
  • Shared purpose: Whether the organisation is acting on social and cultural issues that matter to employees.

The Human Deal model can help you see employees as people with unique life experiences first and employees second. Under this model, a company provides an excellent EVP when it addresses an employee’s unique needs.

Integrated Employee Value Proposition (iEVP) Model

Professors Mark Mortensen and Amy C. Edmondson created the Integrated Employee Value Proposition (iEVP) model. It consists of four interrelated components:

Mortensen and Edmondson iEVP Model

Infographic of the iEVP Model, which includes material offerings, growth and development, connection and community, and meaning and purpose.

First, the iEVP model recognises the difference between the following:

  • Immediate employee needs and long-term employee experiences.
  • Individual and collective factors.

Under this model, you can sustain long-term satisfaction for employees by balancing immediate needs and long-term experiences. The model also emphasises that the components do not stand alone. They’re connected, and architects of the EVP should address them together so that no single component undermines the other.

What employee value position is not

An employee value proposition strategy plays a broad role in HR practices. Its outcomes range from talent attraction and retention to employee engagement, culture and performance. This can sometimes make it hard to know where employee value proposition starts and ends.

Employee value proposition vs. employer brand

An employee value proposition and employer brand, though similar, are unique terms with distinct meanings. An employee value proposition represents the value and relationship the you can provide an employee. The employer brand, on the other hand is the public reputation your organisation has as an employer.

Your efforts to provide a strong employee value proposition play a central role in building the employer brand. It helps communicate the value of working for the organisation to potential employees, the employer brand’s primary audience.

Employee value proposition vs. total reward

Another term closely related to employee value proposition is total reward. The main difference between employee value proposition and total reward is that employee value proposition is a broader term that encompasses total reward. A total reward strategy often makes up a large portion of a company’s employee value proposition. It addresses compensation, benefits, career opportunities, and sometimes more.

Another difference between these two terms is their focus. While employee value proposition focuses on the value of the relationship with an employee, total reward focuses on the rewards the company offers.

The benefits of an excellent employee value proposition

Effective employee value propositions provide many important benefits to organisations, including the following:

Supports recruitment and retention

According to Gartner‘s EVP research, organisations that effectively leverage their EVP can decrease employee turnover by 69%. Why? Because effective EVPs help organisations differentiate themselves from the competition by highlighting their unique values — not just their compensation.

Specifically, an EVP showcases a company’s mission and values, which have become significantly more important to job seekers in recent years. In fact, according to research by Qualtrics:

  • 52% of employees overall (and 68% of Gen Z) would take pay cuts to work for an organisation with values aligned with their own.
  • 39% of employees (and 51% of Gen Z) would likely leave if the organisation did business with customers, partners or suppliers that have values the employee considers “detrimental.”

An EVP can also highlight a company’s commitment to career development, which is a top priority for today’s talent.

Increases employee engagement

An EVP helps increase employee engagement by creating an employee experience that meets individual employee needs. Effective EVPs will recognise employees’ unique personal experiences and provide the support they need in and outside of work. For example, an EVP that prioritises work-life balance for all employees may emphasise flexibility and well-being benefits.

EVPs also communicate the organisation’s purpose. When the organisation’s purpose aligns with an employee’s individual sense of purpose, they’re much more likely to be engaged.

Improves performance

Alex Edmans, a professor of finance at the London Business School, found that the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America delivered stock returns that were on average 2-3% higher per year than their peers. According to Edmans, the study showed that treating employees better — offering competitive compensation, career opportunities, well-being benefits and more — makes successful employees.

Other research on key components of an EVP reach the same conclusion. For example:

  • Flexibility: Employers that offered radical flexibility saw an 18% increase in high performers, according to Gartner.
  • Well-being: Research by the University of Oxford found that companies with high levels of well-being generally outperformed the market.
  • Career development: Gallup found that organisations that strategically invested in employee development were 11% more profitable.

Developing an excellent employee value proposition

The following steps can help you create an effective employee value proposition:

1. Define EVP for your organisation

The first step in building your EVP is to define what EVP is to your organisation. This will typically involve choosing components for your EVP. Defining EVP for your organisation is key, as it will guide your efforts and priorities.

Here, it’s important to review EVP models to help frame the organisation’s approach. You’ll also want to consider your organisation’s unique traits, values and purpose. This will ensure your approach truly reflects your organisation’s unique identity.

2. Get a baseline of your current EVP

Next, implement strategies to understand where the organisation’s EVP currently stands. First, you’ll need to take inventory of your organisation’s compensation, benefits, approach to career development, culture and more.

One great resource of information about your EVP is your existing employees. Your employees can give you insight into whether your EVP aligns with their values and needs. It can also help you understand what their perceptions are of the EVP. You can gain these insights by creating targeted employee surveys and including questions about the EVP in exit interviews.

3. Set goals

Once you understand your current EVP, you can set goals. Goals will be unique to every organisation. They should reflect what you want your ultimate people outcomes to be.

When setting goals, consider key performance indicators such as:

  • Employee engagement rate.
  • Recruitment success.
  • Retention rate.
  • Net promoter scores (NPS).
  • Employee productivity rates.

4. Create your employee value proposition

Equipped with your goals, you can now create your EVP. Generally, EVPs materialise in a statement that addresses each of the components of your EVP. For example, if you’ve based yours on the iEVP Model, your EVP should speak to:

  • Material offerings.
  • Opportunities to develop and grow.
  • Connection and community.
  • Meaning and purpose.

EVPs are unique to each organisation. They should accurately reflect its mission, values, purpose and objectives. To be effective, EVPs must also be genuine. That is, they should include statements and promises that the company is confident it can deliver on.

5. Gain buy-in

Gaining internal buy-in is key to an EVP’s success. Once you’ve created your EVP, circulate it to internal stakeholders to gain feedback. Stakeholders will include leaders in HR team members, the C-suite and managers. Also consider circulating it to employee resource groups and employees to increase employee voice.

6. Communicate

A strong EVP is both and internal and external facing document. Use your EVP to guide the organisation’s messaging to candidates and internal employees. And, consider communicating the EVP through the following channels:

  • The career page.
  • The employee benefits page.
  • Job descriptions.
  • Offer letters.
  • Recruitment marketing materials.

It will also be beneficial to share the EVP message during onboarding and at other key points in the employee journey.

7. Stay agile

Your EVP may need to change as the organisation experiences changes in the labour market, industry or your leadership. To keep up with these changes, review your EVP regularly alongside your stakeholders. Continue to obtain regular feedback from employees through employee opinion surveys and through interviews with exiting employees.

Employee value proposition examples

Though your EVP should be unique to your organisation, it’s never a bad idea to look to leading employers for some inspiration. The following links offer examples of great EVP:

Conclusion

An excellent employee value proposition is critical to any people strategy. It sets you apart as an employer and creates a compelling reason for employees to stay. By clearly articulating your organisation’s value, you can build an employee value proposition that ushers in a better, more human era for your employees.

Are you on a mission to attract and retain top talent? We can help.