This is a Guest post by Bertrand Duperrin, Digital Transformation Practice Leader at EMAKINA.
Acknowledging the new and growing importance of employee experience in employer branding questions the role of EVP as the building block of employer brand. As a matter of fact, EVP has been around for a long time, it’s been very disruptive for HR since it forced them to really adopt an employee-centered approach so it’s quite understandable that they can be reluctant to what can be seen as one new shiny buzzword.
I don’t see employee experience as a replacement for EVP but rather an extended version of EVP that goes beyond HR.
Businesses pushed EVP to various levels. At the very beginning some had a very narrow approach to EVP and used it only to better communicate on compensation and benefits, what was what employees were supposed to value the most. Once it became clear that employees were expecting much more and that compensation and benefits were nothing but the first level of their Maslow Pyramid, the scope of EVP became broader. It started to include all the HR processes aiming at developing people. Ultimately, some businesses started to include « experiential » elements in the EVP.
That’s where businesses are standing today : somewhere between a compensation and benefits approach and a more experiential one, depending on their maturity.
That’s where EVP shows its limits and where Employee Experience should take over : EVP is about HR and candidates while we need an more comprehensive approach that would be about work and employees.
So the move from EVP to employee experience should mean at least two shifts.
The first is from HR to work. For most businesses, EVP is about the part of people’s life that’s under the control of HR : compensation and benefits, learning programs, well being etc…. That’s mandatory but not enough. Once the candidate becomes an employee and on-boards, 99% of experience won’t be about HR related processes and programs but real work. Workplace and digital workplace design, managers, colleagues, collaboration. Employees don’t (or seldom) become disengaged and leave because of bad HR practices and policies (except if a company really excels at being terrible in this field) but because of work experience. How easy and fulfilling is it to get things done ? Do they have the right tools to get things done, organize, collaborate and communicate ? Are managers servant leaders, facilitators or control freaks ? Are they empowered or blocked ? That’s what matters, that is what employees talk about, this is what candidates ask them about, this is what will make them engaged or disengaged, join, stay or leave. It accounts for a growing part of an employer brand. Good HR processes and policies are the least of courtesies. Necessary but not enough. Enough to have people coming to the office and sit at their desk, not enough to have them loyal, engaged, productive, happy and eventually willing to go the extra mile.
Candidates want to know what they work will look like, not only how HR will take care of them.
The second is from candidates to employees. The purpose of EVP is to have candidates joining, but what happens next ? They become employee and no one cares about how the promised is delivered. More broadly, there’s a lot done and spent to attract new talents but very little in comparison to retain current ones and even to make sure the original promise is still being delivered to them over years. Employee experience is about people’s journey and life-cycle while EVP is mainly about attractiveness. Candidates become employees, employees one day retire or leave and become alumni, then they sill can recommend new talents or come back years later. This should be a seamless and coherent journey but in fact it’s not : there are programs for the ones and the others, managed by various teams and people and nothing is done to ensure everything is consistent through the journey. Businesses learned the hard way the importance of being consistent through the customer journey and need to do the same for employees.
EVP is about the lower levels of employee’s pyramid of needs. A successful employer brand in a digital world where one’s employer brand is depends on voice of the employee requires to move the concept to another level, really care about the work experience and make the employee life-cycle consistent.