Recently I spoke with a company that is embarking on an employment branding exercise to improve employee engagement and talent attraction. The first step in its journey is building the employee value proposition (EVP) to define competitive positioning. So far, so good.

But then it went all wrong: The company invites employees from different departments to get a really good cross-section. Some are being invited because they have been with the company for many years. Others because they would be upset if they wouldn’t be involved  and another set because they say what they think. This is when it all goes wrong!

An employee value proposition isn’t an egalitarian, all-encompassing exercise. It is an elite performance program. Instead of using it like opium for the masses, use it as the cornerstone for the company you desire to be. As a consequence, the people invited to define your EVP are the people that already behave according to your future culture, that fit your playing philosophy. The people that you will entrust you company tomorrow and that combine your values with top performance today. This doesn’t mean just people with the ability to be or become a manager, but the people who are subject matter experts in critical areas for the future health of a company.

As a leader that requires you to be clear about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Identify your most valuable players of today and your MVPs of tomorrow. If they fit your culture, build everything around them to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed.

Three tips:

  1. Focus most of your investment on your top performers. Most managers focus their attentions on underperformers. They rely on top performers to remain so, regardless of changing environments, instead of giving them the attention to improve their own performances, overcome their own inadequacies and permanently ensuring that the environment is conducive to the performance. (Think Ax in Billionaires)
  2. Identify who of the rest (and please don’t see them as one homogenous blob) can be transformed into a top performer and how. Be proactive and clear about it (Think Van Gaal and Schweinsteiger).  
  3. Release the people who won’t make it, even if they have been important for the company in the past (Think Guardiola and Joe Hart).

If you are interested in more information about how to increase the participation of your employees and turn your brand into a talent magnet, download our white paper ‘The unity of HR and Marketing’. If you have specific questions, get in touch.

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