Evolving your EVP with an EX Blueprint (EXB)

Emma Bridger 

Minutes
15 Sept 2023
EX Practitioner
EX Tools
EX Architect
An EVP is an expression of what an organisation uniquely offers its employees that answers the question “What’s in it for me?” and acts as a key differentiator within the workplace. It should be consistent with your corporate brand and is most often partially descriptive of the current state and partially aspirational. By identifying and adopting an EVP, you can identify what makes your organisation a great place to work and focus activity on those experiences which will bring this to life. An EVP can help to motivate and inspire current employees and attract talent too.  An EVP will give you a blueprint for EX across the entire employee life-cycle.

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can be viewed as the employee deal: what is expected of employees within your organisation, and also what they can expect in return. But for organisations, an EVP is viewed in a narrow way; as the balance of rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance in the workplace.

We believe this approach is too transactional; you need to think bigger and broader if you are to deliver a compelling EX. Which is why we argue the case for broadening the concept of your EVP and moving to what we call the Employee Experience Blueprint (EXB)

Why both developing your EVP or EXB?

Your EVP or EXB sets out the experience you aim to deliver. Outlined in an inspiring way it helps everyone understand what good looks like.
It will:
  • Serve as the “north star” for all experience design work, to deliver a coherent experience
  • Serve as a compelling and inspiring vision which can be communicated across your organisation
  • Help you create a shared language about the employee experience across your entire organisation
  • Provide clear guidelines to create, develop and deliver a consistent experience.

Whatever you choose to call it, a strong EVP or EXB should aim to:
  • Align with the culture of your organisation, stating clearly what behaviours are expected of employees and then rewarded
  • Outline how it should feel to work within your organisation and what the EX should be
  • Be informed by your employees and culture
  • Be unique, relevant and compelling if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement and retention.

Step 1: Research 

We recommend starting with a research phase, involving your people to develop your EVP, rather than inventing it in isolation. Gathering insight from employees enables a true understanding of your organisations unique strengths, as well as the current reality of the EX.

Conducting desk-based research is a great place to start. What secondary data can you review? For example you might look at:
  • Engagement survey results
  • Exit data
  • Your company Glassdoor ratings and feedback
  • Any focus group data that’s been gathered
  • Internal comms insights

Analysing data that already exists which helps you build a clear picture of your current strengths and opportunity areas. And if there are still questions you want answering you can feed this into the next step – employee workshops.

We recommend running short workshops with a representative groups of employees using appreciative inquiry to facilitate rich conversations about the current and future culture and EX.

It is also helpful to run one to one interviews with stakeholders, which can include customers and other external partners if relevant. A good place to start to build your discussion guide for your employee workshops is to use the Best EX tool.

Step 2: Developing your EXP/EXB

Once you have completed the research phase you’ll need to analyse the data. This is something that benefits from collective sense-making. This is a critical stage, don’t underestimate the skill required to effectively analyse qualitative data; reach out to experts in your organisation, or externally, to help you if needed. We recommend bringing a selected group of people together to run an ‘insight workshop’ to do this. 

It can be helpful to review data in the following way:
  • The what; what are you seeing, and hearing. This stage of analysis is factual and does not invite personal opinions at this stage or explanation.
  • The why; this is where you get into your views and hunches about the data and make sense of the findings. Why are you seeing these results and what might it mean?
  • The ‘so-what’; this is where you’ll get into how you’ll use your insights. For example what there might be a clear theme centered around your organsiation being a place people can authentically be themselves. This could be a source of difference in your industry so something you want to shout about in your headline proposition and include as one of your EVP/EXB attributes.

As your work through the insight analysis you’ll be able to start plotting key themes which will form the basis of your headline proposition as well as your attributes. Some attributes will be more credible than others and that’s ok. Having elements of your EVP/EXB that are more aspirational are to be expected, no organization currently has the perfect culture they’re 100% happy with!

Your draft EVP/EXB can then be tested with employees and further refined if required. 
Challenge yourself with some tough questions:
  • Does it differentiate you from similar organisations?
  • is it unique and compelling?
  • if you were to build an EX using this as a blueprint what might that look like?
  • Does it have the right balance of credibility and aspiration?

Step 3: Using your EVP/EXB

Once you’ve landed on your EVP/EXB it is time to put it to work. It isn’t necessarily something you need to communicate across the organization. It is a blueprint for subject matter experts and others to use to help design and build your desired EX and culture.

For example for each attribute you can outline what the deal is, that is what employees can expect working for your organisation, but equally what is expected of them. You can also audit your current HR approach, EX and moments that matter to understand if they support or sabotage your EVP/EXP. And it can also be used as a tool for forward planning and prioritisation.
In summary, your EVP/ EXB can be used as the blue-print for your EX, helping to direct the design, build and implementation of your EX. 

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