In the last year, the way we work has shifted dramatically, and as a result, candidates’ wants, needs and expectations have also evolved. As we’ve all had to make adjustments to work remotely, embrace more compassion in the workplace, and in some cases even pick up new skills to adapt to change; employees have learned a lot about themselves and the workplace environments that they thrive in. So, when looking for a new role or considering whether to stay with their current employer, priorities have changed and what was once incredibly important is no longer the most vital aspect of work.
If attitudes and expectations are changing, then your EVP must also adapt if you wish to retain top talent and also attract the brightest talent in the future. Your EVP is the secret to future-proofing your tech recruitment and ensuring you remain relevant to candidates. An outdated employee value proposition will deter talent and make you look like an old-fashioned company. Therefore, you run the severe risk of being left behind. Studies show that employers who effectively deliver on their EVP can reduce departures by 69% and 83% of employers felt their EVP had a significant influence on their ability to hire talent, so its value shouldn’t be overlooked.
2020 was undeniably a year for change, and therefore was not the ideal time to revaluate your employee value proposition. There was a lot of uncertainty, uncertain questions, and change in the air; we all need time to get used to such a dramatic shift in the working day. However, as we enter a new era of the workplace, embrace new employee expectations, and have all had time to contemplate the changes necessary for our business there could not be a better time to re-evaluate the promises between you and your employees.
So, this begs the question, how do you create an EVP which is suitable for 2021?
Rules of an EVP
Firstly, we need to point out that the fundamental rules of creating an EVP haven’t changed. Firstly, your EVP must be authentic to you. It’s no use copying a generic EVP that could apply to any business or promising a relaxed culture if your office isn’t like that. A false EVP will lead to a high employee turnover and will ruin your reputation.
An EVP should also be built on insight and research, acknowledging what your existing employees think are your strengths and areas for improvement; showing you’re addressing weak points and dedicated to making a workplace that works for all. While it’s essential to look at the broader picture within your industry too, you should always start your EVP research from within.
Look beyond the office
We have no choice but to work remotely right now. It could be almost a year since office workers even saw their desks (which is slightly crazy!). As workers have proven they don’t need to work in the physical office space or working environment to do their jobs, it’s time to look beyond the office when crafting your EVP. You may have unique interiors, great breakout areas, and even a free bar for Friday afternoons, but what good is that when your team isn’t there?
When developing an EVP for 2021, companies need to look beyond the physical office. Previously, it’s been a visual representation of the company culture and a backdrop for all activity and employer brand promotions; it’s no longer the heart of the business. Instead, leaders need to evaluate the company’s cultural essence and realise that culture isn’t about the office’s appearance but the people within it and your attitudes towards working. Companies must find a way to translate the office space’s stories, conversations, and overall atmosphere into their EVP: thinking about the non-tangible elements that make your workplace unique.
Think about flexibility
As we’ve just discussed, right now many businesses have no choice but to work remotely, and this comes with a degree of flexibility for workers. Teams have proven that they can work from home and that taking a flexible approach to work hasn’t seriously impacted business. If a team member has left their computer to pick up their children from school, or they’ve had a medical appointment in the middle of the day, the sky hasn’t fallen in. So much so that you’ll find your existing employees and future candidates will come to expect a degree of flexibility even when they eventually return to the office. Therefore, when crafting your rejuvenated EVP, you must consider if and how this will continue after the pandemic without implications for the business. Now is the time to communicate whether this flexibility will remain a part of your EVP post-pandemic and weave it into your communication strategies. But remember, if your competition is offering flexibility workers have become accustomed to, and you are not, you may risk losing your appeal to the modern-day worker.
Consider work-Life balance
Many employers have been living under the illusion that working from home creates a better work-life balance for their team. Previously, we’d thought being away from the office means more time to be with our family and complete daily tasks alongside working. However, the last 12 months have proven this is not the case. The truth is more and more employees are suffering from burnout than ever before. Surveys state that 51% of employees are now working outside of their contracted hours, and 32% said the lockdown pushed them closer to burnout. There are pressures on employees to prove they’re working effectively remotely and work harder to keep businesses afloat during these uncertain times.
As this remote employee burnout becomes more of an issue, employers must acknowledge that the very definition of work-life balance has changed. Being at home isn’t enough, but instead, employees need time to switch off and step away from our laptops; they cannot be available on-demand just because they’re away from the office. Part of your EVP must actively address your attitudes to flexible and remote work so that employees and candidates know what to expect from you. Employers have had enough time to implement these strategies and it’s now time to stand by your decision. If you expect employees in the office 5 days a week, it will deter anyone who is put off by this prospect and will therefore be an unsuitable fit for your organisation.
For obvious reasons, stability is a serious concern amongst candidates and existing employees right now; and is set to be for a long time to come. Moving jobs always comes with a risk, particularly if a new role comes with probation periods. Joining a startup or smaller corporation is also a risk which candidates can be scared to take, but even more so in this unpredictable financial climate. However, when the world has changed so dramatically, and we’ve seen mass redundancies, your existing employees also need reassurance that their job is secure. Therefore, you must find ways to emphasise stability and job security within your employer brand communications, both internally and externally. Discussing your plans for growth, your recent successes (despite the turmoil of 2020) or showcasing your market-leading position will help to make both candidates and existing employees feel secure and know that their job is not under immediate threat.
Focus on development
Besides security in their work, employees and candidates are now more concerned than ever about learning and development opportunities. It’s clear why; this generation of workers are witnessing roles becoming redundant before their very eyes. 2020 accelerated the automation process, and some roles went from being essential at the start of the year, to unnecessary within a few months. Therefore, adapting and adopting new skills is at the forefront of all workers’ minds. If you’re crafting an EVP to relate to today’s workforce, the opportunity to learn new skills and adapt to the changing world is something you should prioritise. Make it clear that you invest in employees, and if they are loyal and want to learn, you’ll always be able to make a role for them within your organisation, even if technology changes.
Keep one eye on the competition
Your employer brand is what sets you apart, and you have your selling points that will entice candidates to join your business and convince your current workforce to stay. However, when re-evaluating your EVP, you must know what your biggest competition is offering so that you can effectively compete. If you wish to stop your employees or talented candidates going elsewhere, you need to know what’s on offer. In the war on tech talent, you need to create as much of a level playing field as possible then it will be your employer brand and company culture that tips the scales. Make sure you research average salaries, company structure and development opportunities and try to understand the perks on offer. The more comprehensive picture you can get of your competition, the easier it will be to create an employee value proposition that matches up or even comes out on top.
If you’re thinking of re-evaluating your employee value proposition (EVP) to attract tech talent in this new era of work, there couldn’t be a better time. Talent Works are experienced in developing insight-led EVPs for scaling tech businesses and larger scale corporations; our research and creative teams work to find unique selling points and craft an EVP which resonates with today’s talent. We help growing businesses to solve tech recruitment challenges every day. Contact our team to start a conversation about how we can help your business.