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Would you be attracted to an organisation that values its people?


Updated: 18 Sep 2014

A poor cultural fit is one of the main reasons the employer-employee relationship fails, so why don’t employers put more thought into their marketing pitch to attract the people who will be right for them?

That’s the question recruiting expert Hays’ CEO, Alistair Cox, asks in his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog.

“With the market for talent picking up, employers need to revisit the impression they make on potential new recruits in order to compete for the very best future employees,” says Alistair.

“It's interesting how different organisations seek to do this and undoubtedly some are doing it much better than others. Unfortunately too often we see bland statements such as ‘our people are our greatest assets’ or ‘we value our people’.

"Frankly these statements mean nothing in terms of describing an organisation's uniqueness because no organisation would say ‘we don't care about our employees’. So why waste time on a generic statement?”

There is a name for this particular marketing pitch - it's known as an Employee Value Proposition or EVP. “Every organisation should have their own unique EVP,” says Alistair. “For example, PwC offers a different employment marketing pitch to that of Virgin, Vodafone or Cathay Pacific. Through your own unique employer brand you can communicate to potential employees the experience of working for your company and distinguish it from others.”

To come up with something that truly appeals to the type of person who will thrive in your business Hays has this advice:

1. Avoid the predictable: Avoid dull and predictable examples as well as the management-speak that so frequently creeps into business life. According to Alistair, “People tend not to speak in jargon, so why appeal to them in jargon? Think of your EVP as a description of why your business is the right place for the type of people who succeed there, and nobody else.”

2. Seek the opinion of your successful employees: Secondly, ask your own people why they chose to join you. “You may be surprised at what sent them your way in the first place,” says Alistair.

3. Base your statement on truth: Thirdly, make sure your statement reflects reality. You want people who are attracted by what you say and find it's true when they get there. “These days, discrepancies get found out and emblazoned publicly on a multitude of social media sites,” Alistair says. “It's so easy to check employees' personal experiences on sites such as Glassdoor, so don't run the risk of saying one thing and delivering another. People will write about it if you do and others will find it and be put off by it.”

4. What makes you unique? Finally, your organisation is unique. It may make the same products or provide the same services as your competitors but it's unique in its own way. Alistair says, “Identify what it is that makes your business unique and how it will appeal to the people you want and then write that down in as simple a statement as possible. There may be universal truths that all employees will buy into. There may also be specific points tailored to the type of role you are recruiting for, so you may need to tailor your EVP for different audiences. That's fine, but keep working on it until you have something that neatly describes your own business and not those of your competitors too. People are unique, businesses are unique, so why shouldn't your marketing messages be unique?”

Hays admits that creating an EVP is not a quick process. “It's not easy to land on something that really works,” says Alistair. “It may take hours or it may take weeks. It's worth sleeping on though until you get it right and you'll know when you have because it will say something unique and authentic. After all, we spend a huge amount of time and effort getting the messages right for our customers so why shouldn't we do the same to the people who we want to join us?”

To read Alistairs full post click here.

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