Employer Branding

A Simple Model for Creating Your People Proposition

A Simple Model for Creating Your People Proposition
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If you’re looking to define your organisation’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP), having a straightforward and informative model can guide you in the process. I went searching for an EVP model myself, and found a million of them that all seemed overly complicated. So I created one that’s clearer and simpler (in my opinion!) and that doesn’t require a consultant to implement.

Before I describe the process, you’ll notice that the model is for Creating your People Proposition, not Employer Value Proposition. To me, the term “Employer Value Proposition” sounds corporate and robotic, and doesn’t reflect that people are linked to everything we do.

Stage 1: Assess

Creating your People Proposition starts with asking yourself what is your current employment experience and understanding what you want your employment experience to be. Also, start to gather or consult with key stakeholders, including leadership and business partners. You’re kicking off the project and getting their involvement from the start. At this stage, you are documenting what key stakeholders think the employment experience is and what they aspire it to be based on the direction your organisation is going. Right away you’ll likely identify a gap between current and future states. In the next stage – Research – you’ll find out just how big or small that gap is.

Stage 2: Research

Next comes the most critical part of the process: Talking with your employees to uncover what it’s truly like to work at your organisation. You can have the best employer brand creative, the best social media channels, the best career site, but if you don’t research your organisation well you’ll be overselling to external audiences and you won’t get your internal people—who are your most important audience for your People Proposition—to buy into it. It must be an honest and truthful representation of your environment and what you offer. Only by capturing the current state can you begin to understand what needs to be fixed.

Yes, there will be positive and negative aspects to your employment experience. And some stakeholders may not want to deal with the negatives. But as People Proposition champion, it’s important for you to put the negatives on the table so that you can facilitate getting to the root cause and making the changes that can help your organisation get to what you want your employment experience to be. For example, if employees say they don’t hear enough company updates, one change may be to implement an internal communications tool. If you go through the assessment stage and capture negative feedback from employees but in the end there are no changes, you are creating an even bigger problem. But if you address the feedback head-on, you’ll turn those employees into brand advocates.

Stage 3: Review

After you’ve had many conversations organisation-wide and have done your research, it’s time to move onto the review stage. This is where you will analyze the data, whether qualitative and or quantitative, and look for key findings and key themes. For example, what do people need to be successful in your organisation? Is your People Proposition different by geography or by role?

In this stage, you should begin to identify what is the big emotional driver that connects people to your employer brand. For example, do they feel a connection with your customers or your technology? If you know the emotional drivers you can really build on the psychological contract that you have with people. If you just say, for example, people work here because we’re innovative, you’ll sound like just another tech company. But if you find the emotional connection, it’s harder for other employers to replicate that.

Remember: You’re not trying to attract everyone; you’re trying to attract and hire the right people who will fit with your culture and values. If you can tighten the emotional link that your internal people have with your organisation, it will extend externally as new people learn about you, hear your employee stories and consider you as an employer.

Stage 4: Construct

The construct stage is the cool, sexy bit. It’s the part that a lot of us jump to, but be careful not to rush through the previous stages – they’re critical to doing your best work in the construct stage. Here, you’ll develop your overarching statement, your pillars and your benefits that sum up your employment experience. It’s important to have a tone of voice that’s authentic to your organisation. It can be an attitude or a feeling or a tone of how you want to communicate, whether that’s energetic or professional, just as long as you’re communicating in a human way. Remember your audience too. Sometimes you need to communicate with different people differently. For example, do you need to speak to IT differently from Sales?

Once you’ve constructed your People Proposition, you should pick some employees randomly and test the messaging. Can you explain your proposition in layman’s terms? Does it provide a fair explanation of what it’s like to work at your organisation?

Test for:

  • Actual – it reflects the current employee experience
  • Aspiration – it makes your organisation sought after and keeps people entertained
  • Acceptance – people buy in to the message
  • Consistent – it aligns with your overall corporate and HR strategies
  • Unique – it is unique to your organisation, not the same old message that sounds like every other employer – can you describe your organisation to someone without saying your company name and people will recognize it’s you?
  • Authentic – it is true – if you’re a family-owned engineering company, don’t pretend to be a new start-up – people won’t believe you
Stage 5: Communicate

Once you’ve tested the message and made your adjustments, you’re ready to begin communicating your People Proposition internally and externally. More and more, your consumer and employer brands are blurring together, and your employer brand is becoming just as important as your consumer brand. You’ll want to weave your People Proposition into all your internal and external touchpoints. The Employer Branding lifecycle can be mapped directly across the entire Employee Lifecycle, from the moment someone stumbles across your brand for the first time to that person exiting your organisation and joining your alumni. Everything should live, speak and breathe your Employer Brand and what it stands for.

Stage 6: Measure

As you communicate your refreshed People Proposition, how will you know it’s working? You’ll need to continually test and measure its effectiveness. For example, are you reducing your hiring costs? Is voluntary attrition going down? Are employees more engaged? A good rule of thumb is when you test the message that at least 80% of people agree with it.

Some people might think creating your People Proposition is complicated. It doesn’t have to be. Organize your process, get the right stakeholders involved, do your research, test your message and then incorporate your message into all your communications. It’s not a one-time project. Your People Proposition creation lifecycle never ends. By the time you finish, you need to start assessing it again. I believe an organisation’s People Proposition should be reviewed every 9-12 months. Just think how quickly people’s attitude and culture are changing these days. Your organisation’s culture and strategy are evolving all the time too. Remember people don’t want bullshit – they want authentic. Ultimately, you don’t own your employer brand; your people own it. Your role as People Proposition champion is to ensure it’s real.

About the Author

Profile photo of Ben Gledhill, RallyRM Mentor

Ben Gledhill, RallyRM Mentor

Employer Branding and Candidate Experience Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, and a RallyRM Mentor