employee value proposition: more than the offer on the table

Employee Value Proposition

Considering the challenge of an employee value proposition

Here at Pretty Pragmatic we regularly audit, align and design Customer Experiences for our clients.

Along the way, it is always interesting to see where marketing and customer services converge. The common thread is company employees feature throughout the experience in one way or another.

Employees are often a key audience to incorporate in our clients’ campaigns, particularly when targeting them with productivity or empowerment messages.

Some time ago we worked on a campaign based on Business Reimagined, this indicated that 71% of employees were ‘actively disengaged’ in the workplace. Not only was this bad news for existing employees; it, in turn, has a negative impact on businesses with subsequent higher attrition rates and challenges around talent attraction.

The solution was (in a nutshell) to understand the employee pain points via YouGov research and align solutions (in this case via technology) to employees’ challenges and make their lives easier by redressing their work/life balance.

What matters and the facts

Both existing and former employees are a useful source of information when trying to understand what’s good and what’s not about where they work.

With the online review culture spilling into the job market, sites like Glassdoor allow employees (existing and exiting) to rate their employment experiences anonymously and frankly. And controlled exit interviews and employee satisfaction surveys can provide a wealth of information to easily analyse and derive insights from.

This research process should lead to an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that is based on truth and aspiration, aka the company’s vision. This is what the company is offering potential employees in exchange for their skills, capabilities, and the experience they can contribute to the business.

Prioritising people over profit?

Richard Branson runs Virgin based on employees first, customers second, and shareholders third. And there is clearly something in this for service-based industries in particular – there’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘people buy people’. So surely an Employee Value Proposition should be just as important as propositions for products and services?

Pride over packages?

When we are designing candidate attraction plans, like many acquisition strategies we need to understand what is being offered and who they need to target with these attributes. Understanding who the local competition is, the available labour market, the local infrastructure and transport options, average salaries, and skills available are important to inform the right tactics.

However, when it comes down to differentiating one place to work over and above the other, sometimes it requires more than just hours worked and wages earned. Whether people are involved in the creation, process, or customer service of a company’s product or services, they are an extension of the brand and therefore it is important that they share the company’s values and vision.

Simply put in ‘The War for Talent’, the EVP should be an answer to the question ‘Why would a highly talented person choose to work here?’. The classic ‘What’s in it for me?’. And whilst 57% of people say benefits and perks play a major role when selecting an employer, over 50% of people under 36 say that they would take a pay cut if a company’s values aligned with their own.

A decent proposal?

It is important to remember that a value proposition ‘represents the psychological framework human beings use to make decisions’, as defined by University of Louisville Associate Professor Brad Shuck.  And so behavioural science plays a part in this framing.

Whilst there are similarities between a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) and an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), the commitment levels are different, and more akin to considered purchases such as homes and the selection of educational institutions.

Rodd Wagner, author of Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They’re Real People, sums up why creating an EVP is no small task, saying ‘Given how much of a person’s waking hours are spent on the job and how much of people’s egos are wrapped up in their professions, that is no small proposition’.

So, it might be right to not only put employees first but also the EVP to ensure attraction and retention of the right people that make the business work to its full potential.

If you’d like to talk to us more about Employee Experience, Employee Value Proposition creation and activation please get in touch.

persona segmentation

Some might, and have said, that persona creation is just a bunch of marketers white-boarding their hunches to create some alliterated characters such as Percy Persona.

Certainly, this isn’t far from reality in some instances.

If you are doing this, at least you have thoughts and feelings about who your different audiences might be.

But is that really comprehensive enough in light of the customer experience and paid media efforts businesses are now embarking on?

Identifying the audience universe

The first port of call should be to get all your audience information together. It will be a mess, but it will help to create your ‘audience universe’. Essentially, the wide range of people who could be classified as either as a prospect, customer or stakeholder with regard to your business.

It’s good to start with educated guesses. In our process, we like to refer to this as the ‘hypothesised persona collective’. This is prior to any quantitative and qualitative market validation techniques (which happen later, and are designed to give definition, reframe or eliminate such assumptions).

However, there’s still a research phase that proceeds the creation of these hypotheses that provides a foundation for the segmentation.

Creating customer categories

We have a simple segmentation model consisting of 4 persona categories. These are as follows:

Hobbyists: For this segment brand product and services are a big part of their lives.

Ambassadors: This segment proactively aligns their name with brands, products and services.

Influencers: They are fair and respected peers and provide reason and rationale behind purchases.

Consumers: The often silent majority, where loyalty is not guaranteed, but understanding their habits and why they buy is crucial.

PP segmentation model 1

These incorporate both B2B and B2C stakeholders including distributors, sponsors, advocates, buyers and so on.

Overlaying core messages

We then layer the core messaging categories – defining the top level message(s) that will resonate with these audiences. Within this framework, there is overlap where audiences are identified as connecting with more than one type of message.

Examples of these messaging categories are:

Commercial: What is the deal financially?

Mission: What are the moral motivators?

Experience: How does it make me feel?

Partner: What’s the mutual benefit?

PP persona model messaging layer

Starting with this approach we can easily categorise all potential stakeholders and subsequently identify the most valuable target audience.

This forms the foundation for a comprehensive persona collective, meaning greater reach, higher relevancy and increased sales.

Ultimately, targeting the audience that matters to your business focuses your efforts and leads to a reduction in media waste in particular.

Our follow up, ‘Persona Creation‘, will outline our persona framework and the key categories that feature in our template.