This past week I was meeting with a growing architecture firm here is Seattle.  We had a very robust conversation around their upcoming needs and how, as any firm or company grows, the strategies that got you here never get you there.  Meaning that as a firm grows the old strategies and standard operating procedures can be a detriment to the growth of a firm as it moves into it next phase.

This got me thinking about what makes a firm grow the right way.  I believe that any growth and success comes from the people in the firm, leadership to intern.

To be successful, a firm must use every tool available to identify and hire top talent!

I believe this means developing strong relationship with a good recruiter focused on the industry (shameless plug alert!) but this cannot be the only tool used.  Employer Branding is the engine that leverages your own firm to attract top talent!

This post will help you discover the importance of the first component of effective Employer Branding; the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An EVP is a statement that defines how an organization would like to be perceived. It summarizes the ‘give and get’ of the employment relationship by expressing what the organization expects from its employee and the value that employees can expect from the organization in return.

Developing and actively implementing a strong EVP is a critical part of building a unique and attractive Employer Brand. Let’s take a closer look at six reasons why an EVP is so important:

  • First step toward becoming a recruiting powerhouse
  • Makes your firm into a ‘people brand’
  • Actively engages and helps to retain current employees
  • Reduces new hire compensation premiums
  • Improves new hire commitment
  • Turns your employees into advocates

#1 Recruiting Powerhouse

Edging out the competition in the minds of the candidates that your firm is after (both active and passive) is one of the keys to winning the war for talent. The architecture firms that are consistently the best at communicating their value to job seekers become the ‘employers of choice’ for top talent on the market while everyone else is left to throw elbows and fight for the leftovers. Developing and actively implementing an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) helps to ensure that your firm will stand out to candidates and give you the opportunity to secure the best talent out there for your team and your clients.

#2 People Brand

A firm that knows itself and can demonstrate that people are the key to the firm’s success is a firm that many candidates will find attractive when considering potential employers. The process of developing an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) helps a firm to know itself better. The implementation process and dedication to action around the elements of an EVP helps an architecture firm to demonstrate its investment in its people and organizational success. Gaining the reputation as a ‘people brand’ will help your firm gain positive mind share throughout the industry with job seekers, clients, and competitors alike.

#3 Engage & Retain

The process of developing an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) offers firm leadership an excellent opportunity to invite their current employees to participate in the improvement of the workplace. This is often done through surveys, forums, and interviews, that give employees the chance to talk about their experiences within the organization and to voice their perceptions of what makes the firm great and where it could use some improvement. This is a win-win because it gives leadership insights that they may not have had prior access to and it gives employees a sense of efficacy when it comes to their professional life. Employees that feel empowered to make their office/team better will also be less likely to look for career opportunities with a different architecture firm.

#4 Reduce Costs

Hiring new employees can be an expensive prospect in a competitive hiring market and make no mistake about it, when it comes to the world of architecture and design we are in one of the most competitive hiring environments we have seen in years. When a candidate is aware of the deeper value of a firm they are more likely to accept a lower compensation number in lieu of the other benefits that come along with being a part of that organization. Candidates know that it isn’t always about the money. Architecture firms that understand this and communicate value beyond the paycheck through their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) will be able to enjoy reduced new hire compensation premiums while securing the best talent in the industry for longer periods of time.

#5 Boost Commitment

When new employees join an architecture firm with an excellent Employer Brand and an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that demonstrates the value of that brand, they are typically more engaged and committed to that organization from the outset of their employment. Attracting people that start out in your firm with a higher level of motivation and commitment to organizational success benefits the firm on all fronts. Corporate productivity, morale, and turnover are all positively affected and can have lasting contributions in the way of sustainable success.

#6 Create Advocates

When people ask an employee of your architecture firm where they work, do you think they are excited to talk about your firm? Are your current employees likely to encourage others they know in the industry to join your firm? A firm that has a well developed and implemented Employee Value Proposition (EVP) often has employees that are eager to evangelize and naturally recruit for their firm. They are proud of where they work because they understand the value of being a part of that organization. Use an EVP to take your employees from team members to advocates. Doing this will make recruiting a team sport that reaches every corner of your firm, not just the desks of the human resources and hiring managers.

Creating an EVP

Now that you have a better understanding of why an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is important, you are probably curious about the process of creating an EVP. The next post in this series will explore the development and implementation of an EVP so you can begin to enhance your architecture firm’s Employer Brand and reap its benefits.