Why an employee value proposition pays dividends – Dr. Muneer Muhamed

Enterprises can improve employee retention and reduce recruitment costs by building what is known as ‘employer branding.’ In fact, companies with good employer branding have enjoyed 20 percent revenue growth compared to eight percent that don’t.

An employer brand is much more than a good reputation or goodwill. Every business has a branding, whether it is built consciously or not. Its products and services, quality, leadership and so on will build this in the minds of customers, suppliers and most critically, current and future employees.

Similar to what corporate brands do to create a good reputation and perceptions with potential customers, employer branding will build this among potential jobseekers at any point in time. In a nutshell, how you are perceived as an employer is what this form of branding addresses.

Businesses are facing serious challenges to find, engage and retain talent in the job market. Positioning an organisation as a good employer to the right target audience is critical to attracting the best talent. Without a reputation for being a good employer, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will have to shell out more compensation to attract even short-term talent.

But this is not merely about remuneration packages; instead, it encompasses corporate culture, career growth, job satisfaction, leadership style and how employees are treated.

Stories about companies make way for good branding. Think about a position you want to take in the minds of current and potential employees as you’d do in the realm of corporate branding.

You can’t fake an image that you don’t have internally. As such, it’s best to undertake research among your current employees, and figure out what image you’ve created. Then think about what you would ideally like to have. It then takes small steps to build the brand up from the position of your employees’ experiences.

Investing in building an employer brand is worth the effort. Not only does it save money during the recruitment process but also when employees stay longer, because onboarding and training costs will be lower.

If your reputation as an employer is positive, you can attract three times as many applicants as organisations that have a negative reputation. In any company, the number of applicants for each unfilled position is a good metric for its employer branding efforts and success.

The cost of not finding the right talent for a position that remains unfilled for over three months is as high as Rs. 500,000 a month for an SME. In a recent survey, more than 60 percent of employees of small and medium enterprises said they would look for another job if their employer wasn’t as good as its perceived reputation.

Like for any other brand, there is always a value proposition to the intended audience – i.e. a consumer value proposition when it comes to consumer brands and an employee value proposition (EVP) vis-à-vis the employer brand.

It should also create the right perception in the minds of the intended audience. In short, employer branding is what your enterprise is showcasing in the job market to potential jobseekers. It needs to convey your culture, what’s unique about you and what your company stands for.

The sign of good employer branding is that existing employees will share their perceptions in their circles and beyond, and this will lead to a multiplier effect of positive stories. But this begins with finding a good employee value proposition that represents your company.

Experts say that an EVP should have elements from your mission, vision, values, culture and a purpose that resonates with existing employees.

For your employees to give their talent, loyalty, integrity, commitment and expertise, you need to offer them everything you can provide. In a way, it’s an exchange of value that’s not very different to a customer value proposition – i.e. whereby customers pay to buy your products or services.

Having only a good EVP isn’t enough. It should be communicated to current and prospective employees. The person handling human resources (HR) knows that a good employee value proposition can reduce his or her workload drastically in terms of attracting jobseekers.

To convey the message to potential employees however, HR should understand the right media mix that’s needed to popularise the EVP. This could be pre-placement talks in campuses, trade publications and fairs for jobseekers, general social media interactions, the company’s website and so on.

Don’t make the mistake of putting a list of your compensation and benefits as part of the EVP or employer branding. Check whether you’ve covered all pertinent issues such as your values and culture, facilities, career growth, management style, quality of work, job security, satisfaction and so on.

Once crafted, check it with your current employees for veracity and consider their feedback before launching the campaign.

Having only a good EVP isn’t enough