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Is the traditional EVP on shaky ground

Employee Value Propositions (EVP) have traditionally focused on the workforce as, well, workers, and not much else. However, like so many other areas in the modern employment world, this has changed. But why is the traditional proposition on shaky ground and what must employers to do when adapting their EVP?

Professionals now expect much more from their employers and from work in general than they did just a decade ago. The pandemic, and other factors, have shifted the relationship between people and their work and the EVP must adapt to reflect these changes, or else firms will risk struggling to recruit and retain top talent.

Traditional EVP vs modern demands

But what is different about the modern EVP? Rather than just being focused on work, the EVP must now do so much more. It must pivot around employees as people, not just workers as well as offering value to life outside of work, rather than just being related to work. It must also focus on feelings, rather than just features that match employee needs.

Carolina Valencia, Vice President at Gartner, commented on these changes and the drivers behind them: “The reality is that three shifts in the work environment have eroded the impact of the traditional EVP: Employees are people, not just workers; work is a subset of life, not separate from it; and value comes through feelings, not just features,”

According to research by Gartner of 5,000 employees and 85 HR leader interviews on EVP practices, firms spent an average of around £2000 per employee per year on employee experience, and this figure is only going to rise if companies don’t adapt their approach. Employers have so far attempted to battle the tide by bolting on more ‘features’, like access to pool tables and pet insurance that are often expensive and don’t provide much value, and certainly won’t enhance an employee’s experience to the extent that it would encourage them to stay if they were considering a move.

“Clearly, this traditional approach to employee value proposition is falling short,” adds Valencia. Recent Gartner research, challenges, and solutions indicates that the problem could be too much focus on “what we give employees” rather than “why.”

Warning signs

What other tell-tale signs can firms pick up that show the weakness of their traditional EVP models?

  • Engagement has remained relatively flat since 2016
  • Firms are struggling to attract talent. Only 29% of leaders say they have the talent needed to meet existing performance requirements
  • Only 23% of HR Leaders believe the majority of their staff will stay with them for longer than a year
  • Only 31% of HR leaders think their employees are satisfied with their current EVP and 65% of candidates have dropped out of a job application process due to an unattractive EVP

In order to boost traditional EVPs and improve the chances of being able to recruit and retain key talent, HR leaders must look to evolve their existing offer by providing an experience focused around the whole person, rather than just looking at how it can benefit them in work.

Adapting your EVP

There are five areas that businesses must focus on when evolving their EVP. Firstly, they should look to build deeper connections with their employees by tailoring benefits so they align with both organisational and employee needs as well as developing training managers so they can identify these requirements by communicating with their workforce. They must give employees flexibility, provide personal growth opportunities for employees by creating roles for dedicated career coaches and empowering them and staff to identify opportunities that can benefit them. Ensuring that conditions are in place so professionals can benefit from holistic wellbeing by empowering staff themselves to personalise the process is also key. Finally, firms can provide a shared purpose by establishing cross-organisational ownership of wider societal issues that are aligned with the organisation’s goals.

It's no longer enough to skirt around the edges of supporting staff. And, despite the warnings of the rise of artificial intelligence, the future of work is human-based. If firms want to develop an EVP that fits with the demands of the modern workforce and that can provide real value, then they need to invest fully in the development of their new proposition and how it can benefit their staff both in and out of work.


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