( Photo courtesy Produce Marketing Association )

Apple does not have to fight the war for talent; great people line up to join the tech giant. Nearly as famous for its workplace culture as it is for its innovative products and services, Apple offers a compelling example of how employers can use the concept of employee value proposition to attract, engage and retain the best people. 

What’s employee value proposition? Society for Human Resource Management defines this as strategic statement(s) that define how a company wants to be perceived by its employees. EVPs outline clear reasons for workers to choose and stay with an employer, conveying what employees can expect from their employer — and vice versa. 

Committing to employee value proposition is a must-have HR strategy for companies that want to be talent leaders. 

As former president of the regional grocery retailer Hannaford and former senior vice president of HR at Hannaford and Delhaize America, Brad Wise knows firsthand the power of EVPs. Hannaford’s employee value proposition established its reputation as an “employer of choice,” helping the company get and keep great talent, which ultimately positively impacted its profitability.

“Talented people drive results, and a well-thought, realistic EVP can have a significant influence on the long-term, positive impact of any company,” said Wise, who is now a partner and president at pro-voke, a strategy and culture consulting firm. “Our people had a high expectation of growing and developing within the company, and they thrived and fully contributed as a result.”

To begin creating your company’s proposition, enlist your HR professionals and take an employee-centered approach. Get feedback from current employees to ensure your offerings are relevant and meaningful to them. Ask employees why they stay, and what attracts them to your business and company culture. Ask how traditional and — increasingly, particularly with younger employees — nontraditional benefits could set your company apart. 

This leads to another observation: different age groups want different options. Gen Z employees tend to stay at a job for a shorter time, so long-term benefits are less important than flexible work schedules allowing them time with their kids. Baby boomers want flexibility too, but for different reasons. Generations Z and X thrive on early and frequent feedback, whereas annual performance reviews satisfy boomers. Younger workers have higher expectations of a company’s social responsibility and sustainability than older workers.  

Stay curious and keep asking questions until your company’s essence surfaces and resonates with your people, Wise advises. 

Tap into Center for Growing Talent for industry-specific advice on establishing your EVP and other employee retention resources, as well as for help attracting and developing talent.

Most produce and floral companies won’t soon compete with Apple for a robust EVP. That said, our companies can employ EVPs in the same way to differentiate themselves from their competitors — and in the process, foster a workplace that gets people lining up to join your team. 

Margi Prueitt is executive director of Center for Growing Talent and senior vice president of Produce Marketing Association.