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Humans are natural storytellers (and story-listeners). We use stories to share our experiences, relate to each other and make sense of the world around us.

Your employee value proposition (EVP) is how you tell your healthcare organization’s story to current and future employees in the most effective, authentic way. It’s your chance to connect with people on an emotional level, tell them who you are, remind them of who they are and share how they, as a member of your team, help transform the lives of patients, families and communities.

A well-crafted EVP brings your culture and values to life.

Your EVP is more than just details about compensation, benefits or mission. It’s how you differentiate yourself and give people a glimpse into what it’s like to work for you. One of my favorite examples is captured in the legend of a want ad that Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton, placed in the paper for the 1912 voyage of the Endurance: “Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.” Folklore has it that 5,000 would-be crew members showed up the next day.

A much more current example is highlighted in the Netflix Culture – Seeking Excellence memo:

  1. Encourage independent decision-making by employees
  2. Share information openly, broadly and deliberately
  3. Be extraordinarily candid with each other
  4. Keep only our highly effective people
  5. Avoid rules

So how do you make your story stand out?

  • DO: Be relatable. Share stories about your employees and highlight the reasons they stay with you. Speak directly to the people you’re trying to attract and retain, telling them what makes them special and why. And how they can belong on your team.
  • DO: Be unique. What makes your organization truly different? Tell people about it in an unexpected way. A true differentiator is not the amount of investment, but the where and why. You want your EVP to have current and future employees saying, “That’s me! I want that.” Identify the experiences and opportunities current and future employees can’t find anywhere else. Netflix, for example, proclaims a willingness to challenge the bureaucracy that often depletes the energy of even the most engaged employees. Now did that make you just say, “That’s me! I want that.”?
  • DON’T: Believe your own hype. Your story should be based on reality, not wishful thinking. Employer review websites and social media make it easier than ever for current and former employees to spill the tea on what it’s really like to work for you. Are you truly delivering on what you promised? Many organizations struggle with overly bureaucratic processes, it’s actually the norm for most. But, if Netflix allows it to become their norm, you can expect the most talented candidates who love their culture memo to quickly “Skip intro!”

A well-crafted EVP can be a powerful tool – a competitive advantage even – for attracting and retaining the talent your organization needs. It’s more than just your benefits, your mission or your culture.

Author: Kevin Kearns, PsyD

Image Credit: Shannon Threadgill

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