Why your company needs a well-crafted EVP to attract and retain women

by | Mar 5, 2020

Create a well-crafted EVP to create an attractive job opportunity

A well-crafted EVP is vital to attract and retain the top candidates and achieve business success. This is the guide you need for how to do it.

Attracting and retaining the best and right talent for any organisation is a challenge under any circumstances. It is a challenge which requires a strategic and well-crafted EVP (Employer Value Proposition). But for companies aiming to increase the number of women they want to hire into their organisations, it requires some additional effort. One size fits all doesn't work. A carefully honed and delivered EVP is one element of the complex foundation that any business needs to set down in order to achieve gender balance.

What is an EVP?

An EVP is a mission statement that outlines the distinguishing factors between any organisation and their competitors. It is the "why you should work for us" stake in the ground. Often it is the key differentiator that sets out the benefits an employee can receive as compensation for their contribution (qualifications, skills, experience and energy); what they bring with them to an organsiation. It is the key core message of the value that a company offers as well as what it represents, both in the market place and to their workforce.

Components of a well-crafted EVP

There are a number of obvious benefits to a compelling EVP:

  • Market leadership: A strong EVP allows you to broadcast to the market about why your company is so great.
  • Attraction: It is the magnet in the talent attraction process, the beacon which draws top talent in.
  • Retention: It's also the glue which binds people to your organisation. Research from Gallup suggests that 66% of all employees are not fully engaged. 81% are open for a move. So if your organisation wants to reduce churn, then a strong EVP is vital.
  • Reach: If employees are aligned with the culture of their organisation, they are more likely to stay. All organisations need each and every employee to act as an ambassador. Research from Catalyst indicates that women, more than men, prefer to pursue careers internally rather than keeping their eye on the market. Other research tells us that 50% of employees don't know what their organisations' culture and values actually are.

Check out our FREE e-book for 12 key steps to attract, recruit and retain top female talent.

Designing and delivering your EVP

well-crafted EVP

1. Carry out an audit

Your EVP is based on data. At its core is how your employees feel about your organisation in terms of:

  1. Career opportunities:  Including training and development. Do they feel their future is with you?
  2. Benefits: It is critical to include all your benefits up front- these are more important to women than salary.
  3. Culture: This includes the mission and values, plus how employees feel about their workplace. HBR notes that less than 33% of organisations identify an internal employer brand, with a majority of employees suggesting that their companies do not have a strong company culture.
  4. Rewards: Compensation.
  5. Work environment: Focused on team building, relationships. Research from TinyPulse indicates that employees credit their peers for making their workplaces enjoyable.

If you don't know what your culture is, and HBR suggest that less than 33% of companies do know, then now is the time to start. Send out a survey to your female employees to get a handle of their perceptions of your company or create a focus group. You can also start running "stay interviews." It's imperative that your EVP reflects the people working in your business, and not just the senior management who want to project a rose-coloured view.

2. Communicate it simply

An EVP should be concise, compelling and punchy. It should include "you" / "we" style language to engage everyone, but especially women. Here are two excellent well-crafted EVP:

"Together we achieve more" - DSM

"Let's write the future. It begins with you" - ABB

3. Make it visual

If possible, convert your EVP into a infographic or visual. Pay special attention to male coded icons and images. The language should also be gender neutral. Male coded language and images actively discourage women from engaging with your organisation.

4. Share your EVP

Try to do a beta-test to market and measure the feedback. Share your EVP with your employees at all levels across all platforms, ie. fish where there are fish. Focus on areas where women are found - not where they are not. Make sure that it's used on all branding documents.

Problems

  1. An EVP should be a living experience. It is not just something to aspire to on some executives check boxes wish list. This is especially important when trying to hire women to avoid accusations of gender washing. Setting up "stay interviews" - why women want to work and pursue their careers with you is as important as a supportive onboarding process. Achieving the balance between the two concepts can be challenging.
  2. Understand your target market. Which demographic are you appealing to? In multi-generation workforces this can be more nuanced and complex. As such, it may require several initiatives within the same framework. The work needed for entry-level women will be different for those who are in different stages of their careers. This may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised how many hiring managers keep returning to the same places for candidates, only to say "there are no women."
  3. Manage your digital footprint. Prospective candidates will tap into social media  to research an organisation, so making sure that your online message is aligned with reality and your EVP is vital to creating a brand with sustainable integrity. This also means your senior executives need to be visible and openly supportive of gender balance. Someone needs to monitor this on an ongoing basis.
  4. Showcase benefits. Incorporate the benefits into your branding story. Women will take a salary cut for a job with strong employee benefits. Benefits are also key to retaining them. Women prefer to pursue careers within their organisations. They tend to leave due to a change in personal circumstances or a bad experience.

Talent management and acquisition to create gender balanced workplaces is becoming increasing complex in today's fast paced environments. Building a well crafted EVP that speaks to women is significant part of that process.

Contact 3Plus today for our specialist services in Executive Search and Diversity Recruitment.

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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