What if… Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Becomes Important Again?

May 4, 2020 Peter Bentley

Only 23% of firms are considering refocusing their EVP, according to our recent survey of nearly 2,000 firms. This global survey examined how organizations are reacting to disruption caused by COVID-19.

Why EVP will change

EVP is the phrase used to describe the following: why work ‘here’ versus other options. It explains how a company attracts and retains employee talent. The term ‘EVP’ can sometimes be transposed with employee brand and employee experience. However, whether or not it is articulated, expressed or managed, every organization has one. It is the employee ‘promise’.

The actions taken by businesses in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic will be directly reflected and remembered in the firm’s EVP. Whether it protected employee jobs and took steps to ensure safety. Many of the decisions taken will have been financially-based and now is the time to re-examine the EVP and position the company well.

For many, articulating the EVP had been a branding exercise. It was developed to target and detail the experience a business provides to their employees. It requires an understanding of a plethora of levers across brand, market positioning, leadership and company demographics - as well as employee needs-focused issues, such as pay, benefits and career advancement. Given the current challenging health and economic situation across the globe, it is likely that there is little time invested in the EVP right now.

However, it remains an important area. Get your EVP right and you can:
•    Attract the best talent. Firms with high EVP might pay less but still attract the best talent.
•    Retain staff. Reducing the cycle of rehiring and saving the associated costs.
•    Improve engagement. Making more productive workers.

The New Normal
With the recent COVID-19 disruption, financial security is becoming a major consideration for employees.

What if … large firms become more desirable again. The shift away from large firms and towards more entrepreneurial pursuits (witnessed after the global financial crisis of 2007/08) will happen again as people appreciate the security of a well-capitalized firm. Salaries and stability become more important.

What if … healthcare and benefits become the new bonus. Although this can be more or less relevant in different markets, healthcare and benefits are clearly going to be front and center of people’s minds. Bonuses may become less important as security around healthcare increases.

What if … business agility and resilience become differentiators. Some employees have adapted well to working from home. They have found they can be at least as productive when supported with the right technologies and may not want to go back to the office. A business that can offer flexible ways to work and still manage to be productive by being both agile and resilient is going to see their EVP enhanced.

Looking back to look forward
We can look back to the time after the global financial crisis (GFC) to see how firms acted during this period. Following the GFC, banks and financial institutions fell from grace and were no longer the go-to-employer for top graduates. Their brands had become tarnished.
Now, banks are well capitalized. Perhaps they will become more attractive again to top talent?

Move beyond branding to real action
The focus on EVP is changing. It is no longer a simple branding exercise: firms need to act and not just say. They need to make clear decisions about how they want to be as an employer and put in place actions to deliver this. The decisions made today will have a lasting impact - not just on financial viability but also on future stability, innovation and resilience.

Organizations need to work out how to manage people risk by understanding their business and their people. They must look at how best to optimize people spend: how they pay, the benefits and security provided but also how they cut cost, furlough staff and retrench from markets. Empowering agility and resilience is vital, not just through remote working options but how career mobility is encouraged and enabled and how people are invested in.

Why the survey score is so low
Our survey highlighted that less than one-quarter of firms are looking at their EVP. Getting the EVP right and understanding the various components is as nebulous as the future of work. And yet, the challenge and need remain. Therefore, we help firms to get a clearer picture of the future of work and to build their EVP, seeing these two as completely symbiotic.

This article was published on May 4th, 2020.

Disclaimer: This document has been provided as an informational resource for Aon clients and business partners. It is intended to provide general guidance on potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Due to the dynamic nature of infectious diseases, Aon cannot be held liable for the guidance provided. We strongly encourage visitors to seek additional safety, medical and epidemiological information from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. As regards insurance coverage questions, whether coverage applies or a policy will respond to any risk or circumstance is subject to the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policies and contracts at issue and underwriter determinations.

About the Author

Peter Bentley

Peter Bentley is the global commercial officer with Aon’s Human Capital Solutions practice and focuses on building workforce agility. Peter has worked with firms on their approach to client strategy, distribution and how they leverage digital solutions to empower their workforce for the future. He has developed and built a number of data / digital platforms aimed at augmenting workflow, aiding decision making and transforming client engagement.

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