How a good Employee Value Proposition can benefit your hotel

Your EVP can improve commitment of new hires, increase measurable performance and reduce attrition. It can also improve your ability to attract the best applicants.

But what is your hotel’s EVP? Not even sure what an EVP is?

Your EVP is your Employee Value Proposition and provides a measurement of the balance between what a team member receives from the hotel in return for their performance on the job; it is the “get” versus the “give”.

That sounds like an EVP is going to be expensive for the hotel, but in fact most elements of an EVP are the exact opposite – they are free, and are already in place. The EVP is more about utilising existing resources to the hotel’s advantage – so please read on to find out what an EVP can do for you.

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For any hotel, the challenge is to find and retain quality people – people with the skills, knowledge, experience, competencies and values that provide a match for the roles within your business.

The person – whether they are an existing team member or an applicant looking to work in your hotel – faces a different challenge: they look around, think about their personal circumstances, compare options, and then choose to take up or stay in positions on the basis of the best value for them on offer.

So, the EVP is the comparison between reward and benefit, work policies and practices, experienced by an employee in return for the performance they are expected to deliver: it describes why the total work experience is better than at any other organisation and accordingly it may be critical in attracting and retaining quality people.

In short, the EVP is “the deal” struck between the hotel and team member in return for their contribution and performance, and it characterises the hotel’s “brand” as an employer and differentiates it from its competition.

During the recruitment process, to generate the most traction from an ad placement, a business must answer the candidate’s most important question: “What’s In It For Me?”, because the candidate is also assessing the potential employer. The EVP is developed as a direct result of the need for employers to sell themselves, particularly in this market of easily transferable skills and skill shortages.

For the hotel, there are a number of distinct benefits of having a clearly defined and effective EVP. According to the Corporate Leadership Council’s research, a well thought through, executed and delivered on EVP can:

  • Reduce the salary levels offered and still attract quality staff – these can be up to 10% lower
  • Increase measurable performance by around 20%, significantly impacting the organisation’s productivity
  • Improve the commitment of new hires by an average of 29%
  • Improve maintenance of that level of commitment for the entire first year by an average of 28%  
  • Increase the likelihood of staff acting as advocates from an average of 24% to 47%
  • Significantly reduce attrition
  • Positively impact a hotel’s pool of applicants – organisations with managed EVPs are able to effectively source from over 60% of the labour market, compared to those with unmanaged EVPs who are able to source from only 40% of the labour market.

So…..what makes a good EVP? In order to be really effective, your EVP should be:

  • built around attributes that genuinely attract, engage and retain the talent you want
  • be consistent with strategic objectives and clearly demonstrate your hotel’s uniqueness
  • must also be real i.e. a large proportion of it must be true now. It should however also contain elements that are not true now but that are aspired to (for example, development opportunities may not currently exist, however planned expansion through the brand may create those development opportunities in the future)
  • must be articulated in a style that appeals to the audience
  • must be at the core of other organisational processes. The characteristics of the EVP need to be reflected in the corporate and employer brands

Interestingly, the EVP is not just about conditions and benefits. Career opportunities, reputation of the company (both the individual hotel and the group) and the professional development and training offered are some of the top reasons for choosing the most attractive employers, and are generally nominated ahead of salary or benefits. This demonstrates the value of creating a strong employment brand.

Research has suggested:

  • A company’s reputation as an employer is important in a candidate’s decision to work for them in almost 9 of 10 cases – 86% would not work for a company with a bad employer reputation who offered a higher salary than a company with a good reputation.
  • In determining a company’s reputation as an employer, 68% of employees view treatment and support offered as ‘extremely important’. Also rated as ‘extremely important’ were the relationship between management and staff (65%), training and development offered to employees (51%) and quality of products or services (36%).
  • People judge a company’s potential as an employer primarily on their ‘fit’ with the company’s vision, culture and values, followed by the company’s products or service and experience received as a customer of the company.

Finally – what can form part of your EVP? It is important to remember that elements of the EVP can be tailored according to the individual needs of the applicant or team member as the same item may have a different meaning for different employees within an organisation. These include, but are in no way limited to, things like:

  • Reputation of the property and group in the marketplace
  • Job security
  • Development opportunities
  • In house training programs
  • Working conditions
  • Insurances, superannuation etc
  • Flexible hours
  • Team dynamics
  • Prestige of the brand
  • Culture of the hotel
  • And so on….

One strategy for formulating a really meaningful EVP would be to ask team members themselves why they value working for the hotel – don’t just assume that they value the same things that you do!

An example of this comes from a hotel of my experience – we offered the hotel team the opportunity to reduce the working week from 5½ days to 5 days thinking this would be highly desirable, given that salaries would not be impacted. The offer was rejected because meals in the staff canteen were provided free of charge to all staff, and the reduced half day meant that free meals would be lost. Those meals were more important than the increase in leisure time.

The employee’s satisfaction in their working life will be directly related to their value experience. It is this balance between the cost to them for the work delivered and the quality of the perceived, subjective benefits received that will lead to competitive advantage for the hotel in the attraction and retention of quality people.

About the author
Timothy Millett’s training roles have seen him deliver programs across Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and America ensuring cultural sensitivity as well as a broad base of experience in lecturing, teaching and training.

A graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, his hospitality career spans management and director positions in Front Office, Guest Relations, Public Relations, Food & Beverage and Training with organisations including the Regent of Melbourne, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Mövenpick Gastronomy. He was also a founding staff member of the internationally renowned Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia.

Tim is currently the Director of Training and Development at iperform, an organisation that specialises in Sales and Service, Leadership and Effective Personal Organisation programs.

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