Lure Top Talent While Keeping Your Own

Ask yourself this question: is there another company that you would rather work for?

What does that company offer that your current employer does not? A more promising career path, a better work-life balance, a job that better aligns to your personal interests, or maybe something different all together?

If that company made you an offer today, would you take it? The answer to that question is a good news-bad news scenario, as your employees are likely debating the same question themselves.

As the job market shows signs of life, business leaders are reengaging in the recently dormant war for talent. These progressive organizations are taking measures to keep their best talent while also plotting to acquire the most valuable talent available in the labor market—both active and passive.

Why are these companies acting now? They realize that what the company offers in employment may not be aligned to the wants of job candidates in the new market. Further complicating matters, to help survive the recession, organizations had to break many of the promises that they initially made to lure top talent. Employees may have spent 2009 saying goodbye to their coworkers, their annual bonuses, or their career trajectories. And these same employees will look to regain control in a softening labor market.

An Employment Value Proposition (EVP), also known as an employment brand, is the set of attributes that the labor market and employees perceive as the value gained through employment with an organization. Simply put, it's the combination of factors that make your organization an attractive—or unattractive—place to seek employment.

Research from CLC Genesee, the workforce survey and HR consulting division of The Corporate Executive Board, shows that companies that effectively manage the EVP have realized significant returns on their business. These leading companies have immediately reduced voluntary turnover by 8% and saved their respective companies millions annually, improved the application rate of qualified candidates by 25%, and improved the fit of the new hire with the job offer by 32%. These companies are also expected to retain top-talent and acquire new high performers better than their industry peers the latter half of this year.

So how will they do it? These companies tend to follow the same four-step process to proactively manage the EVP.

1. Measure the perceptions, awareness, and prioritized elements of the current EVP.
While the majority of employee surveys rightfully focus on the engagement levels of the workforce, employee preferences are also important attributes to test for in survey efforts. Leading companies also conduct focus groups with critical populations to understand the root drivers that influence employee values.

2. Design a credible and compelling EVP to showcase the strengths and differentiators of the company.
Think of how your marketing department brands your company and products in the market and apply the same principles. The employment brand should be designed around the strategic direction of your company, the actual strength that each EVP attribute provides, and the importance that employees and job candidates place on EVP attributes.

Global organizations should also recognize how differing geographies value unique elements of the EVP. According to the Corporate Leadership Council and CLC Genesee, geography alone will account for 72% of variation in EVP preferences.

3. Maximize EVP touch points on both current employees and job candidates.
Designing the right EVP message is only half of the solution; ensuring that message is received by the right audience is equally as important. Progressive companies prioritize investments in the communication of the EVP for maximum impact with both internal employees and external job candidates.

4. Implement consistent mechanisms to measure and monitor the impacts of your new EVP.
As with any change initiative, progress should be monitored to track success. Leading organizations immediately embed dashboards to track the return on the new EVP. Sample metrics tracked include the time to fill open positions, new hire turnover, and employee retention in critical markets.

Your company's ability to execute on these distinct four steps aside, the most important finding from these leading companies is that an effective EVP must be relevant for its target audience, strong in foundation, differentiated from your competitors and from other employers, and sustainable.

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