It’s no secret that we are currently in the midst of a candidate-driven market, where the number of vacancies is outweighing the number of people searching for employment. There are a number of factors causing this - some industries like the built environment industry for example, have been experiencing increased demand and spend from the federal government, in order to ‘rehabilitate’ and ‘revitalise’ Australia’s economy. A number of industries are also experiencing skills shortages due partly to border restrictions and partly because of the rapid advancement of technology. Furthermore, Australia’s unemployment rate has decreased significantly since the initial outbreak of COVID-19. At its highest, Australia’s unemployment rate was 7.4% in June last year and as of September this year unemployment had decreased to 4.6% - the lowest it’s been in a number of years (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2021).
While this is welcome news for job seekers, it makes for a highly competitive market for organisations, now battling it out to attract and retain the best candidates. As an organisation, how do you set yourself apart from your competitors as a desirable place to work, and ensure your job opportunities are being seen by and attracting the ideal candidates? The secret lies in your EVP - your employee value proposition. An often-under-utilised employer branding tool that will help an organisation effectively communicate and demonstrate all of the benefits it provides to its employees. In today’s blog, we discuss why establishing and fine-tuning your EVP is such an important recruitment and retention tool, and how to make it as compelling as possible to future candidates:
The employee communications and advocacy platform smarp, define the EVP as an ecosystem of support, recognition, and values that an employer provides to employees to achieve their highest potential at work (smarp, 2020). The reason this definition works well is that it doesn’t position the EVP as a two-way transaction, where an organisation provides monetary and non-monetary benefits in exchange for an employees’ skills, capabilities and experiences. Rather, it’s a comprehensive view that focuses on what an organisation can offer to boost employee engagement and bring out the best in employees. When done right, it should effectively answer the question ‘why should I work for this organisation?’
Consequently, establishing an effective EVP is a huge advantage for organisations, as it goes a long way in establishing a strong employer brand. Which in turn, plays a huge role in attracting talent as research shows that when deciding on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important (Kalati, 2019). Furthermore, 9 out of 10 candidates would apply for a job when it’s from an employer brand that is actively maintained (Del Castillo, 2020).
The technology research and consulting firm Gartner conducted studies that found companies with a well-managed EVP could reach 50% “deeper” into the market to attract passive candidates (RIPPL, 2020). Their research also found that organisations that adjusted and focused on improving their EVP, saw a 28% reduction in staff turnover rates. These statistics make sense; as employees, we want to work for organisations where we feel valued and our wellbeing, in addition to our professional development, is supported. Organisations that can best convey this will therefore have the best chance of gaining our attention.
The challenge from an employer’s perspective is determining what their ideal candidates value. And especially after COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the way we work, offering basic perks like a competitive salary and free tea and coffee won’t cut through the competition.
Gartner believes that when developing an organisation’s EVP, they should focus on five key areas (Gartner, 2021):
The organisation itself: the values and mission they have set in place, their stance on diversity, their social responsibility efforts, their position in the market etc.
The rewards: the financial and non-financial benefits the organisation offers to their employees. These include initiatives like flexible working, annual leave, health and retirement benefits as well as competitive salary rates.
The people: this speaks to the culture of an organisation and looks at things like the leadership structure of the organisation, the office camaraderie and how staff are managed and supported.
The opportunities: this looks at an employee’s potential to develop their skills and learning at a company so focuses on business stability, growth rates, career opportunities and meritocracy.
The work itself: this speaks to the specific role in question and what working at the organisation would offer to individual candidates. For example, if travel is involved in the role, work-life balance, job impact and level of innovation involved.
By focusing on these five areas when promoting your business, you’re offering a more comprehensive view of your organisation and the experiences a potential candidate would have. More importantly, if you can effectively speak to the above five categories, you demonstrate that you truly value and support your employees – and no matter if they’re focused on developing their career, or working within a fun and supportive environment, your comprehensive EVP will speak to them and their needs.
To effectively communicate your EVP, you need to firstly, highlight the organisation’s key values through your networks as a way to introduce potential candidates to your business. This means looking at the key channels potential candidates would initially interact with; your company website, your social media and your job advertisements. Do these touchpoints reflect the five key areas of your EVP? For example, does your social media channels show the social events your organisation hold, to boost and encourage camaraderie and team building? Does your website have a clearly defined and visible mission statement, so visitors can understand the goals and mission of the organisation? Do you have employee testimonials that speak to what it's like working for the organisation or documentation on training options and career progression that’s easily accessible to potential candidates?
Once these tactics are in place, an organisation must then consider how these values will continue to be reinforced throughout the employee lifecycle in order to ensure it retains its staff  (Paltos, 2020). Because an organisation that promises all of these great benefits and initiatives at the initial ‘attraction’ phase of the employee lifecycle but can’t follow through on any of them, won’t be able to keep a new employee for very long. Consequently, it’s important to consider how your EVP can be reinforced during the recruitment phase of the lifecycle, where it is naturally tied into conversations that you have with candidates, the onboarding phase, where it can be reflected in an employee’s induction and initial management, and the development phase, where it can be demonstrated through training offerings and supportive programs. It’s even worth considering how to effectively use your EVP messaging during the separation phase of an employee lifecycle in order to alleviate any concerns a departing employee might have and leave a lasting good impression (Paltos, 2020).
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Ultimately, establishing a strong EVP is a long-term goal and can’t be resolved overnight. However, considering all the ways your organisation can provide and bring out the best in your employees will help strengthen your Employee Value Proposition. By focusing on the key values candidates are looking for and implementing these into a comprehensive EVP initiative that can be communicated at each stage of the employment lifecycle, you’re sure to win the fight for talent.
During our seventeen years in the recruitment industry, we’ve developed a clear understanding of what candidates – especially within the built environment industry – value from their employers and are passionate about advocating for and promoting workplace culture. Consequently, our consultants are on hand to offer support and advice for those looking to grow their team. Contact us today for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2021). Labour Force, Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/latest-release
 Smarp (2020). Employee Value Proposition: The Complete Guide to Building a Great EVP. Smarp. Retrieved from: https://blog.smarp.com/6-steps-to-build-your-employees-value-proposition
 Kalati, G. (2019). What Is Your Employer Brand and Why Does It Matter? Medium. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@gunjankalati/what-is-your-employer-brand-and-why-does-it-matter-2c02f6ea4af5
 Del Castillo. (2016). 2016 Social Recruitment Trends Forecast. Workable. Retrieved from: https://resources.workable.com/stories-and-insights/2016-social-recruitment-trends-forecast
 RIPPL. (2020). Why You Need To Hone Your EVP To Attract and Retain Top Talent. RIPPL. Retrieved from: https://rippl.work/articles/hone-evp-to-attract-retain-top-talent/
 Gartner. (2021). Strengthen Your Employee Value Proposition. Gartner. Retrieved from: https://www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/insights/employee-engagement-performance/employee-value-proposition
 Paltos, J. (2020). Why an EVP Is The Secret To Attracting Top Talent. Seek Employer. Retrieved from: https://www.seek.com.au/employer/hiring-advice/why-an-evp-is-the-secret-to-attracting-top-talent