The challenge an organisation competing for scarce talent faces, is to set itself apart as employer of choice in the eyes of the people it needs to be effective.

The Employee Value Proposition is the central statement of an organisation’s employment brand. It expresses the quality and essence of the relationship between the organisation and its members. Like the customer brand, it differentiates the organisation in the eyes of its market.

We follow a three step process to develop an EVP:


Who are the people the organisation needs to be effective, that is, to execute its strategy and fulfil its mandate?

The first step in developing the organisation’s EVP is to identify the talent segments and profiles required to be successful. This relates both to the competencies required to be effective, and the qualities required to do so in a healthy way.

This can be done through:

• Desk research of existing organisational intelligence
• A consultative engagement with key stakeholders in the organisation


What work environment will attract and retain the right people?

There can be no better way than to ask the right people themselves. The work environment is essentially what is often called the “organisational culture”. It refers both to the structural elements of effectiveness, that is, the elements through which the work of the organisation is coordinated, and the way in which people show up, do the work, and relate to each other.

We ask the following questions:

• What about our workplace (the way things work here, and the way we do things here) right now do you like?
• What about our current workplace don’t you like?
• What would you love?
• What’s most important?
• How would this set us apart from competitor employers?
Our research design enable us to identify the issues most important and urgent to the right people, and to identify their desires with regard to all the attractors that are relevant and in line with organisational strategy and design, such as the organisation’s purpose and its customer brand identity, its leadership way, the nature of the work, people management and development processes, practices and styles, reward and recognition, workplace climate, workforce diversity, and so on.

The diagram below describes the design model on a high level:














We follow the following research and co-creative process:

a. Desk research and interviews to assess current employment brand perceptions, for instance feedback from the employment marketing channels and exit interviews.
b. Co-creative workshops with a representative sample of the targeted talent segments, to generate ideas and insights into what the ideal workplace would be, and how it would set the organisation apart from competitor employers.
c. A co-creative process, involving key organisational stakeholders as well as the required branding expertise, to crystallise and validate a clearly differentiated EVP.
We do not set out to change the entire workplace culture – that’s not feasible outside of starting a new organisation; and there are already essential elements in the existing culture that give the organisation it’s unique identity. We prefer to crystallise a clear employment brand proposition in line with organisational strategy, and to identify the critical shifts in the structure and in the ways in which people show up that are necessary to make that a reality.


How do we make our employment brand promise the everyday, lived reality of the organisation?

Our third step is to mobilise organisational stakeholders to shappe the workplace culture in line with the EVP. We believe that the EVP starts with leadership, organisational design and organisational strategy, and that the alignment of these three elements yields the desired workplace culture.

a. Leading the EVP. Leaders have the first responsibility to ensure that the organisation is structured and adapted in such a way that it becomes more attractive to the right people. Leaders firstly lead, and, through the way in which they lead, show “how we do things here”. Leaders have two other critical responsibilities:
b. Developing organisational strategy, whether on the organisational level or cascaded into division and business units. Core elements of organisational strategy, such as the purpose and vision of the organisation, its ambitions in the marketplace, and its selection of core capabilities are critical elements of a good EVP.
c. Designing the organisation to execute its strategy, once again, on organisational and on cascaded group levels. Organisational design may relate to macro-design of the overall organisational structure and processes, the choice of systems and technologies, and normative frameworks for values and behaviours, but also to immediate operational elements such as role profiles, performance metrics, meeting cycles and agendas, and so on. These micro-elements often represent some of the major EVP differentiators, and attentive and engaged leaders can make a big difference here.
Our approach here is:

a. Integrate the leadership of the organisation around the EVP and what it means to lead, develop strategy for and design the organisation in such a way that the right workplace is established for the right people. We do this through appropriate interventions for each leadership stakeholder, such as Nine Conversations in Leadership for the entire leadership cadre; Management, Supervisor and Team Leader development interventions; and team development interventions, e.g. to develop executive team cohesiveness.

These interventions are experiential and conversation-based, and provide stakeholders with opportunities, processes and tools to work through their real organisational issues. A key outcome of using these interventions in the EVP mobilisation process is that leaders are engaged and enabled to create the right workplace for the right people.

b. From the leaders, the focus shifts to then integrate the right ways of working in the larger workplace. Leaders are supported to establish the desired workplace culture in their workgroups and teams through the WVA Purposeful Teams intervention, as well as a comprehensive set of short interventions.
c. Specific projects may be identified during the leader engagement process. WVA provides consulting services, interventions and competency development offerings to support the effective execution of a variety of initiatives aimed at developing the right workplace for the right people.
d. The entire EVP development process, from the identification of the right people to mobilising the organisation to live the EVP, is supported by and managed through WVA’s Starfish Change Navigator software. The software enables the organisational practitioner to effectively plan, manage and track strategic development interventions.


Our consultants have experience in the development of employee value propositions, from conceptualisation to mobilising the organisation, in a variety of organisations in the financial services, telecommunications, logistics and mining industries, as well as in the development sector.

Our interventions have also been deployed in EVP and culture development issues in a number of cases, amongst others:

• Using Nine Conversations in Leadership to support the establishment of the E&A through the leadership in Barloworld Logistics.
• Using Purposeful Teams in large scale cultural transformation in Logan City Council in the Brisbane District in Australia.
We are currently involved in leadership development of entry-level managers and senior managers through two Leadership Bootcamps at an IT company to, amongst other things, address the issue of talent retention. We are also involved in a large-scale culture transformation initiative at a major South African bank.