Creating Your Architecture Firm’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Creating Your Architecture Firm’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Last week I posted the first in the series on Employer Branding, I shared 6 reasons why your architecture or design firm needs to have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Now that you understand the reasons why your firm needs to develop and implement an EVP, it is time to explore the process of actually creating an EVP. Let’s break the process down into 3 stages: (1) development, (2) finalization, and (3) implementation.

Developing an EVP

The initial phase of developing an EVP for your architecture or design firm is the development phase. There are 3 steps in this phase: (1) gather data, (2) analyze that data, and (3) write the first draft of your EVP. You can follow the stages and steps of the EVP creation process in the graphic below.

EVP Creation Process

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Creation Process

Step 1: Gather Data Before you can create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) you must first understand how your organization is perceived. Start by gathering as much recent and relevant data pertaining to employee experience as you can. Seek out metrics relating to recruitment and retention and then gather as much data from past employee surveys and interviews (on boarding, exit, etc) as possible. While straight numbers are important, they are nothing without the context that actual opinions and answers from employees can offer (If you haven’t conducted an employee survey in the past, this might be a good time to think about creating your first survey or employee focus group).

Step 2: Analyze Data Once you have collected enough data, it is time to drill down into the numbers and the responses to find their true value in the EVP creation process. While you explore the data that you have collected, you are looking to identify important trends and key themes that will point to your firm’s greatest successes and opportunities for growth and improvement. Identifying these themes and trends will paint a picture of how your organization is viewed from the position of the employees.

Step 3: First Draft EVP When you write the first draft of your architecture or design firm’s EVP you want to make sure that your key leadership stakeholders are involved. Take the analyzed data from Step 2 along with the elements of how your leadership team wants outsiders to view your Employer Brand and now you have the raw materials to write that first draft.

As you write the first draft of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP), keep the following points in mind:

  • An EVP is a “statement that defines how an organization would like to be perceived. It includes the ‘give and get’ of the employment relationship by summarizing what the organization expects from its employees and the value that employees can expect to receive from the organization in return.”
  • Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) should be unique, relevant, and compelling for it to be effective.
  • A well written EVP will align with your firm’s HR strategy because it is employee focused. It is not just an external brand promise or marketing tactic.

Finalizing an EVP

The second phase of creating an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for your architecture or design firm in the finalization phase. This phase has 2 steps that build on the first 3 steps from the development phase. This is where you revise and refine the first draft of the EVP that you have just completed.

Step 4: Test the EVP Now that the first draft of your EVP is finished, it is time to put it to the test. The purpose of testing your EVP is to discover how wide its appeal is with your target audience and to identify opportunities to refine your first draft by enhancing or reducing certain aspects of your EVP. When you test your EVP, you should do so with both current employees and non-employees that fit the profile for type of professionals that your firm would like to recruit and hire in the future. Current employees should provide their feedback on how appealing they find the EVP in addition to their thoughts on the degree of accuracy that the EVP has in portraying day-to-day life as en employee of the firm. When testing with non-employees, focus on getting their feedback regarding the general appeal of your EVP and whether or not they find your EVP to be a motivating factor in considering your firm as a possible future employer.

Step 5: Final Draft EVP

Armed with the feedback from your testing sessions, it is time to write the final draft of your EVP. Considering that you want your EVP to be appealing to the overwhelming majority of your target audience (roughly 80-90%), you should take the feedback from your initial tests to heart as you craft the final draft. Once you have completed the final draft of your EVP, it is time to move into the last phase of the EVP creation process.

NOTE: Depending on how successful the tests on the first draft of your EVP were, you may want to re-test your revised EVP drafts until you find that you are achieving the correct amount of appeal from your internal and external audiences.

Implementing an EVP

The last phase in the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) creation process is the implementation phase. This phase is comprised of 1 last step: design and roll out.

Step 6: Design and Roll Out This final step is where you operationalize your EVP and make it a real component in your Employer Brand. During the first part of this step you will design the copy and collateral that will incorporate your new EVP into several aspects of your day-to-day operations, your HR strategy, and your recruiting and retention efforts.

EVP Element Pie Chart

Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) will play in engaging role in several aspects of your firm.

During this step you should consider the ways that you want to introduce and continually speak to your EVP both internally (current employees) and externally (potential employees). This can be done in a variety of ways from laying out your EVP in a white paper on your website, to incorporating aspects of the language from your EVP into company communications, or highlighting parts of your EVP in your recruitment marketing campaigns. In the end, how you communicate the message is up to you and should work for your firm and the audience that you want it to reach.

After you have created the copy and design collateral for your freshly minted EVP, it is time to roll it out. Your EVP should be an active, functioning part of the way your firm operates. When done right, it will enable the conditions that create higher levels of employee retention, in addition to attracting the type of talent that your firm wants to hire.


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