As the economy improves, corporate profits increase, and the job market strengthens, employers are getting creative to hold on to key employees, including developing and articulating a distinctive employee value proposition.  Retention (and acquisition) requires not only a competitive salary and benefits, but also an array of nonfinancial strategies.

Your employee value proposition (EVP) encompasses the factors many organizations call “total rewards” including pay and benefits as well as elements such as learning and career development, flexible work arrangements, and wellness programs. Also included are valuable intangibles like challenging and meaningful work, the organizational culture, and a sense of purpose. 

In all, the EVP is everything that matters to employees about their work and their employers. The extent to which employees connect with your EVP determines the amount of discretionary effort they commit to bringing the organizational culture, mission, vision and values to life. If you can’t articulate what makes your organization unique and different to work for, I guarantee you will never attract nor keep your best talent.

Employee recognition is not enough. 

The goal of recognition programs is to provide financial or non-financial reinforcement to employees for achieving certain goals. While reward programs will reduce turnover and increase productivity, over time employees become conditioned to them and feel they’re entitled to these additional benefits. However, when the benefits are tied properly to the company’s employee value proposition, the impact on company culture can be incredible.

Climate is more important than culture. 

Culture can be very important in making hiring decisions and it can impact employee productivity and retention.  But Culture in an organization is very hard to change and is directly dependent on how the CEO leads the company. But we can we influence it in the near term by creating the right Climate in which employees can thrive. Climates, or the employee environment created by each middle or frontline manager, can be shaped and controlled.  A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) found that frontline and middle managers can have a significant impact on employee performance, satisfaction and retention by creating a “micro climate” (or team climates) in which their individual teams can thrive. If you want your employees to truly understand the EVP and how important they are to the organization, this is where managers can have the most impact.

The power of an EVP is undeniable.  The Towers and Watson 2012 – 2013 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, “The Next High- Stakes Quest: Balancing Employer and Employee Priorities” validated that when companies have strong employee value propositions they are:

  • Less likely to report problems attracting and retaining critical-skill employees.
  • Five times more likely to report their employees as highly engaged.
  • More than twice as likely to report achieving financial performance significantly above their peers.


Therefore, if you want to attract and retain the best talent, current and potential employees need to understand how you value the people in your organization.  Analyze your culture and take your voice of the employee information and determine what attributes, behaviors and characteristics your people bring to you business and the customers you serve.  Look for the ones that are underappreciated or under valued, for these are what truly make you unique.  Then tie these back to your company mission and values.  Now you have all of the components to build your employee value proposition.  Finally, throw away the term “employee” for it is the people in your organization that deliver results and value.

Michael Hvisdos is founder and CEO of InQuizo, a contemporary Business Solution Agency that helps Fortune 500 companies and start-ups worldwide compete in today’s ever changing business environment by developing and implementing innovative solutions, strategies, and messaging to accelerate growth for their Business, People and Customers. Hvisdos has over 25 years of experience growing public and private global organizations. He can be reached directly at info@inquizo.com.

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