How can employers effectively communicate an employee value proposition?

Need to know:

  • Employee value propositions can help organisations outline their purpose and culture.
  • Essential communication is essential, including through new digital channels.
  • Involving senior management and employees can also prove effective.

With the ‘great resignation’ well underway, employers are having to think more about how they can retain staff.

For many, developing and communicating an employee value proposition (EVP) will be a central part of this. According to Aon’s Benefits and trends survey, published in January 2022, 81% of employers either have or are looking to develop an EVP to differentiate themselves, an increase from 71% in 2021.

An EVP will essentially try to answer the question of why an employee would want to work in that particular organisation, says Chris Andrew, strategy director at Caburn Hope, part of the Buck family.

“A well-defined EVP acts as the key ingredients for any messaging relating to the deal between the employer and the employee, including traditional career elements such as the nature of the role, opportunities for growth and reward,” he explains.

“It also represents what the [organisation] stands for, in terms of its people, purpose and values, as well as its approach to diversity, inclusion, belonging, sustainability and flexibility; something especially important with the move to hybrid working.”

Sense of purpose

Conveying the organisation’s sense of purpose is important, too. Gautam Sahgal, chief executive officer (CEO) of Perkbox, says: “In our distributed future of work, a uniting culture will bind people together in support of the organisation’s purpose.”

If an employer reflects on what sort of organisation it is, its purpose, what it is working towards achieving and who its customer is, it will be better able to communicate the core values of the organisation, Sahgal adds.

Effective communication of any plan is essential, particularly as employees are likely to work more flexibly in future than was the case pre-pandemic. Natalie Rogers, chief people officer at Unum, says: “Communicating digitally is often the quickest, easiest and lowest-cost option, so emails, screensavers, newsletters and intranet pages.

“Now we’re returning to the office, communicating benefits through posters and flyers can resonate with employees when walking around the office. Measure and track different communication methods where possible, such as click-through rates on emails and attendee numbers at webinars, to see what’s working for [the] business.”

New communication channels

Making the most of new channels and content can also resonate with employees, particularly younger staff. Andy Partridge, senior strategy consultant at Aon, says: “Providing engaging content in bitesize chunks will do more employee engagement than a dry email ever could. Think TikTok: as a video-sharing social media app it is made up of billions of short video clips, lasting from 15 seconds to one minute.”

Communicating any employee benefits available to staff will form part of any EVP. Adrian Matthews, head of employee benefits at MetLife UK, says: “Consider producing a simple frequently asked question sheet that covers off the basics around the current policies available.

“This can also be communicated internally at key moments within the year. For example, highlighting financial benefits can be timely around the time annual bonuses are paid or pre-Christmas.”

Embed core messages

It is also important to embed an EVP into an organisation’s operations. “The most effective way to do this is by weaving key messages into those regular touchpoints that businesses have with their employees,” says Andrew. “That includes everything inside and outside traditional HR programmes and services, so it truly feels part of the fabric of the business. Most importantly, the EVP should be simple, inspiring and relevant.”

Getting senior management buy-in and involvement is vital. Vicky Walker, director of people at Westfield Health, says: “Ensuring management are trained on the [organisational] culture and how to implement it within their teams is a good way to make sure values are known throughout the organisation.”

Organisations can run online ‘talk shows’ where employees can ask the CEO about the culture and its current direction, she adds.

Finally, it is important to make use of employees themselves. Richard Burton, principal consultant at employee engagement consultants Forty1, says: “They can be the best advocates of [a] business and brand.

“This means [employers] will need to work hard to ensure the EVP is authentic and meaningful to them, and then invest in a simple suite of tools and training to help them showcase [the organisation] through their own voice.”