As a business owner or the person who makes all the hiring decisions, you’ve probably seen lots of information out there on how important it is to have a strong employer brand and a clear employee value proposition (EVP) to attract and retain the right talent – but what does that all mean?
In a nutshell, I describe the employee value proposition as the promise you make to people for working for your company. It’s important because it helps you to attract and retain the right type of employees for your business, saving you time and money continually replacing people who might not be the right fit.
For me your EVP is like a ‘special sauce’. It’s full of ingredients that would be hard for another company to replicate exactly because it includes things that are unique to your business - like your purpose, values and culture right through to the benefits you provide and even the way you recognise and reward. If others tried to replicate your recipe, it might taste similar, but not exactly the same.
Businesses that understand their ‘special sauce’ and ensure it’s different from their competitors are five times more likely to report their employees as highly engaged and two times more likely to achieve financial performance above their peers. (Source: Towers Watson 2012 – 2013 Talent Management and Rewards Study).
The great news is you probably have all the ingredients for your own ‘special sauce’. But you may not know what they all are yet.
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself at least once or twice ‘how on earth do I find time to work out the ingredients of my ‘special sauce’ to compete with the bigger guys down the road?’ They’ve got deeper pockets, more dedicated resources who understand this stuff and certainly have more time.
I want to let you in on a little secret. It’s not as hard as you might think and I want to give you three tips to help you begin to understand – or start creating - your own ‘special sauce’ that will help you answer the question - why would a talented person choose to work here?
I’ve been working with HR teams to attract and retain people for over a decade and there are many stories I could share that illustrate that the ‘special sauce’ was their all along – let me tell you about Jan and Ronnie though – the wife and husband duo who gave me my first afternoon job while I was at high school.
Jan and Ronnie owned a small fruit and veg shop with a wholesale arm that distributed to the local restaurants. Like many small business owners, they started with a dream and built a very successful business through hard work and surrounding themselves with the right people – who loved their job and were committed for the long-term.
But how did they make that happen? They definitely didn’t have an employee value proposition written down anywhere – they probably wouldn’t even have known what it was. Jan and Ronnie were passionate about their business and customers and looked for people who shared that passion. That was the first ingredient to their success.
They put the time and effort into looking for the right people to join their family – I say family because that’s what it was like when you worked there. When I think back to the conversations I had with Jan before I started she had been interviewing me for weeks every time I picked up something from her shop for my mum. She was assessing to see if I was trustworthy, polite, accountable and if I was passionate about something – all the values that Ronnie and her held dear and she looked for in the people that worked for them.
Now the benefits definitely weren’t anything to write home about, but I was paid award wages which for a 14-year-old is freedom. There were no fancy push bikes or traineeship programs that kept me coming back – but there were little perks and benefits like free fruit and veg, free after school snacks, knock off drinks (I only had Coca Cola) family BBQs and small random gifts.
And then there were those that you couldn’t touch like mentorship, coaching, feedback and so many learning and development opportunities. As I think back to this time, what kept me coming back was the feeling that was created from all these things – providing me with a sense of belonging.
For smaller businesses it can sometimes be difficult attracting the right people to work for you. It’s important you use what you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors so in part two of this series I share some of my insights that I think will help you articulate your ‘special sauce’.
> Learn more about the value Sunsuper can offer your business.
By Adam Fitzhenry, Manager of Employee Experience and Communication, Sunsuper