Why Your EVP Must Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 crisis has changed outlooks on all sides of the recruitment landscape; from the skills employers see as essential, to the values candidates look for in an employer and everything in between. Our concerns have changed.

It’s time for employers to realise that there will be no return to normal. The values and priorities that have become instilled in us as a reaction to COVID-19 will not simply disappear overnight. What employees look for in a place of work and the factors they consider when making career moves will be dramatically different in the years to come, just as the way many businesses operate is likely to be altered forever.

Leading employers understand that now is the time to reconsider and refine their EVP if they wish to be an employer of choice in the future. An EVP represents how an employer wishes to be perceived and expresses all that they stand for. It is the constant thread throughout the entire employer branding process and is the driving force which encourages candidates to choose to work for them and motivates existing employees to stay. If cultural attitudes and values change, your EVP must mirror them and evolve alongside them. It’s crucial if you wish to remain a leading employer; otherwise, you run the risk of looking outdated and out of touch.

The changing recruitment landscape is putting employees at the centre, and as a result, businesses that wish to attract top talent must begin to picture everything from the employee’s perspective; including their EVP. Changing attitudes also means a shift in power, and once the crisis passes recruitment strategies will have to adapt. Many organisations are already beginning to refer to their Employee Value Proposition as their People Value Proposition, indicating a considerable shift in emphasis and tone.

Now is the ideal time to reconsider your EVP as we’re gaining more of an insight into life after COVID; what will be important to employees? What will have to change in your workplace to keep them safe? And how has your reputation weathered the storm? By adapting your EVP in response to the COVID-19 crisis you’ll be one step ahead of the competition when it comes to recruiting or retaining your talent.

Here are some of our tips:

It all begins with research

When it comes to considering how to modify your EVP to meet changing attitudes, you must begin with research. In-depth research will make it clear how and why you should adapt to meet the expectations of your target candidates.

Research helps an EVP to keep pace in a changing market to ensure that it remains relevant and attractive when attitudes are evolving. Through research, we can learn where talent is, how to communicate to the right audience in the right way and evaluate current perceptions of a business compared to how employers want to be seen. With tactics ranging from competitor audits, interviewing employees and even candidate surveys, employers can discover the motivations, goals and cultural preferences of candidates and existing employees as well as their own point of difference. All of which can be used to shape and build an EVP.

Make wellbeing a priority

After coronavirus, employers must show a heartfelt commitment to improving the lives of employees and their wellbeing. When defining the core brand pillars, it is vital that wellbeing is taken into consideration and becomes one of the main aspects of an EVP.

Wellbeing today means more than just benefits; it’s looking out for the health of employees both mentally and physically. Employers must provide 360-degree care for employees in both their professional and personal lives. The new human-centred approach to working comprises physical, psychological, intellectual, spiritual and financial wellbeing.

Any benefits that are provided should add real value, not just a quirky offering to help you stand out. Think about healthcare, mindfulness, financial support, and even training courses to help employees advance. Making these a priority and a defining factor in your EVP will have positive implications when connecting with top talent.

Kindness is a defining value

Before coronavirus we were already seeing a rise in the importance of kindness socially and in the professional world. However, COVID-19 has propelled this. Anxiety is high, people are nervous, and as a result, the crisis has brought out the best in both people and businesses.  

So far, coronavirus has pushed individuals to become more considerate of others, their situations and their health. Even the largest organisations are becoming kinder and more community-minded; after all, if people in the street are adopting this more considerate attitude, then corporations must follow their lead.

The pandemic has reinforced the notion that brands need to show empathy, be kind and open more than ever before. Never overlook how important it is to treat people with kindness, as even your existing employees may look elsewhere if compassion and understanding don’t become pillars of your employee value proposition.

Helping to create the changes that employees want to see in the world will form the basis of an effective EVP.

Redefine your leadership

If your EVP starts to prioritise kindness, then leadership should follow suit. How can you promote a culture of compassion and empathy if your leaders are still adopting a tyrannical leadership style? It’s a huge contradiction.

COVID-19 has changed the way leaders work, with remote working forcing them to alter leadership techniques and place more trust in employees. Even if all employees return to the office on a full-time basis after coronavirus, a change in workforce attitudes and priorities must be mirrored by leaders. You can’t return to micromanagement after months of trusting employees to work remotely.

Leading with compassion, clarity and empathy as well as putting more trust in teams and allowing flexibility will give business durability in uncertain times. Embedding these values into your EVP will help you to retain loyal employees that have earned your confidence and respect throughout the crisis. It will also help you to attract new talent whose leaders have previously failed them or are looking for a more diplomatic working environment.

Prioritise relationship building

After months in isolation and working from home, employees will value relationships within their team more than ever before. We’ve all missed the office chit-chat, the ability to bounce ideas off one another and basic human connection. Reuniting with colleagues post-COVID is one of the driving factors motivating people to get back to work.

When refining an EVP, leaders need to emphasise the importance of teamwork and collaboration as it’s set to be something candidates will look for in the future. If cooperation doesn’t already play a defining role in your business, it may be time to reconsider your values. The thought of working collaboratively and closely with both their own team and other departments in the business will be a huge emotional factor in future job searches and the retention of current employees.

Create a culture of happiness 

More than anything, this crisis has taught us the value of happiness and enjoying your work. Before the coronavirus crisis, 29% of workers said they didn’t feel happy at work, and 26% said that work affects their happiness outside the office. When we’re shifting to a culture of kindness and prioritising wellbeing in the workplace, happiness should play a huge role. Plus, as we expect to see a rise in remote working, it’s vital that employees remain happy both inside and outside of the office.

As part of your EVP, employers must support fairness and equality as well as trust. Create a culture in which all employees are heard and more importantly feel that they are listened to. Leaders must be open and honest as well as give employees the chance to voice any concerns openly. If employees feel like they are being neglected or could be happier elsewhere, they’ll leave or won’t even consider working for you in the first place.

Happy workers will vouch for you and speak volumes about you as an employer. Candidates trust employees 3x more than the company itself when learning what they’re like as an employer. Therefore, ensuring a happy workforce should be a priority post-COVID if you wish to attract and retain talent that will give your business longevity and adaptability in the new normal.

At Talent Works, our Brand & Insight and Creative teams are experts in building the foundations of an EVP as well as promoting it as part of employer branding. If you need help refining and developing your EVP to help you succeed in a post-coronavirus market, get in touch with our experts today.