Is the grass greener on the other side? Addressing the EVP (Employee Value Proposition)

Is the grass greener on the other side? Addressing the EVP (Employee Value Proposition)
Leanne Visser, General Manager at 21st Century

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

For most organisations, people are their biggest cost but also their biggest asset, and, often a source of competitive advantage. It has become increasingly challenging to not only attract but also retain talented individuals in today’s world of work. Many factors impact an individual’s motivation to seek new employment opportunities, and, in some instances, these are outside of the organisations’ control. However, more often than not, there are at least some organisational factors at play when employees seek or entertain new employment opportunities.

It could be a case of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ but where staff turnover and finding new talent is causing a concern, organisations should look into their brand as an employer and their overall Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

EVP can be understood as a set of unique value adding factors that an individual would benefit from by choosing you as their employer of choice. Every single organisation has an EVP, regardless of whether they are aware of what makes theirs up or not. It is not something an employer has complete control over either since it relates to employees’ unique needs and perceived experience of those things that they regard as value-add.

Previously, EVP was seen to be mainly focused on tangible perks and monetary incentives. However in today’s complex employment landscape, the value proposition needs go far beyond offering competitive salaries and the most comfortable bean bags. The biggest contributing factors to EVP are often intangible and much harder to identify and quantify, let alone impact. Organisations leading in talent and retention clearly understand this and as such, have a competitive advantage in the talent market over other employers who are not looking into their total offering.

Intentionally understanding the organisation’s EVP should be a key focus area when developing People Strategies.

So, what are some of the factors that could be considered when trying to unpack your EVP?

  • Remuneration and benefits – Organisations should strive to ensure these are fair and equitable, both internally and externally. Beyond this though – remuneration alone is not a motivational factor for an enduring length of time.
  • Company culture – The intricate, unique and tacit characteristics of the organisation that largely steer the attitudes and behaviours of all employees. Often developing organically over time, it shapes the way the organisation operates to a large extent.


  • Leadership – A big factor impacting employee dissatisfaction, and ultimately staff turnover, is very often related to their experience of their direct managers or others in leadership roles. Conversely, a positive experience may often foster stronger organisational commitment than almost any other factor. Leadership skills do not necessarily come naturally to many that find themselves in a people management role – Investing time and resources in developing these skills can have a great positive impact on EVP over time.
  • Flexibility – The expectation from employees regarding flexible working arrangements has changed significantly over the last 3 years. For many, this holds much weight in how they value the organisation as an employer of choice due to the work life balance flexibility offers.
  • Job satisfaction – The employees’ perception of how well their job experience provides the things that they view as most important. As examples: work that is meaningful; a sense of purpose; interesting or challenging tasks; opportunities for creativity; support from managers and colleagues; etc.
  • Opportunities for vertical or horizontal growth – Either through external study support, internal learning and development programs, coaching and mentoring opportunities or being involved in special projects etc.
  • Recognition – From managers and among colleagues can significantly impact employees’ experience of working for an organisation over another.

Each organisation has a unique and complex set of factors that combine to determine their overall EVP so the aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive. An employer could be at a competitive disadvantage in the talent market if they did not take the necessary time to objectively determine what is believed to be their current value proposition; assessing if this belief is shared by employees and devising a strategy to attempt to remedy any identified gaps over time.


Written by: Leanne Visser, General Manager – Western and Northern Cape


About 21st Century:

21st Century, a level 2 BBBEE company, is one of the largest Remuneration, Reward, HR, Organisation Development and Change Management consultancies in Africa, specialising in sustainable business solutions, with a team of more than 60 skilled specialists, servicing over 1700 clients – including non-profit organisations, unlisted companies, government, parastatals and over two-thirds of the companies listed on the JSE. 21st Century offers bespoke business and strategy planning services, operating model and organisational design, creative reward practice modelling, change, stakeholder and culture management, training courses and comprehensive human capital and talent plans. These are all underpinned by our analytic and survey capability tailored to the African environment. 21st Century continues to offer solutions via a combination of virtual channels and on-site presence.

21st Century has expanded its services to offer a full turnkey sustainable business and remuneration service. Beyond remuneration and reward consulting, 21st Century offers local analytics for business advantage; remuneration and HR training; change management services; talent and people solutions; and end-to-end organisational design and development.

21st Century is the Africa representative for the GECN group of companies, specialists in global executive remuneration and governance.