The Elusive Employee Value Proposition

employee value proposition strategyOver the last couple of weeks, we have had some interesting conversations with our clients around the topic of Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which led to some spirited dialogues among our research team leading to the following questions:

  • What are the components of an employee value proposition?
  • What are the most important outcomes of an employee value proposition?
  • What are the most important questions high-performance organizations answer in order to create their employee value proposition?
  • What are the barriers to creating an employee value proposition?
  • Who is responsible for creating the strategy?
  • What leading organizations have a competitive advantage because of their EVP?
  • What impact does your EVP have on your organization?

EVP is not new, of course. Every company has an EVP. But is it impactful and perceived as a competitive differentiator? Many organizations do not have a formalized process for gathering employee data, don’t effectively analyze and use the data to determine gaps and development opportunities, and don’t have a well-developed strategic communication plan that is provided internally and externally.

However, due to the growing economy, and the necessity to hire and retain great talent, we are seeing a renewed focus on creating a strategy for creating an EVP that is long lasting and iconic.

At Brandon Hall Group, we are embarking on new research on EVP in May, and have established a new EVP category  for the 2015 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards. For more details, read on.

This week I read an article in the Wall Street Journal, I Don’t Have a Job. I Have a Higher Calling, which described how important it is for employees to feel that their work has a higher meaning whether it is coordinating travel, serving coffee, or selling clothes. When employees feel their job has a greater purpose, they are inclined to be more productive. Also, the article stated that the words “mission,” “higher purpose,” “change the world” or “changing the world” were mentioned on earnings calls, in investor meetings, and industry conferences 3,243 times in 2014, up from 2,328 five years ago – a 45% increase. So executives are paying more attention to creating an environment where employees feel their work has more meaning than the task itself. This reinforces the impact EVP has on an organization, whether the company is strategically focused or not. Those companies that are paying attention and are strategically focused on it have a powerful competitive advantage over those that are not.

If employees feel their jobs are meaningful, then the results equal greater performance. Seems simple – hire the right people, provide development opportunities, reward them, and these employees will find meaning in their jobs and then perform better. But it’s not simple at all. A breakdown or disconnect can happen at any point in the employee lifecycle.

How does EVP become a competitive advantage? Companies need to have:

  • A formalized process for capturing employee data
  • Creative ways of capturing and engaging employees
  • An ongoing approach to analyzing the data to determine gaps
  • Development opportunities that align with the business and talent plans for performance improvement.
  • A communication strategy that aligns with the business strategy and talent management programs.

If your organization has a well-thought-out approach to your EVP, we want to hear from you. Please apply to our HCM Excellence Awards in the category for Best Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

The Best Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for the Talent Management category is for written descriptions of best practices in developing a formalized approach to EVP.  The entry should describe the impact of the EVP on its organization. The EVP should include:

  • Alignment of business goals, vision, mission and talent and reward programs
  • Preparation, gathering and analysis of data from engagement surveys and newly hired employees
  • Understanding of performance and development gaps and how they were addressed and improved
  • Effective communications
  • Results that improved business performance and productivity

If you have any questions about EVP or submitting an awards application, please contact Rachel Cooke.

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.

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