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A Holistic EVP Is More Important Than Ever

At Spotify we believe in building and maintaining a people-centric organisation and we always have an ongoing conversation about our employee value proposition (EVP). We try to strike the right balance between our band members’ short-term wants and needs, with their longer-term wants and needs (which might not be obvious at first).

In times of fast growth and a competitive labour market it’s easy to get caught up in the game of throwing great pay and perks to candidates to seal the deal when hiring them. However, it’s easy for competitors to copy, and if the paycheque is the foremost reason a candidate has chosen to join a company then when a better offer comes along that employee is more likely to go  where the monetary grass is greener. Imagine what it will do to your culture and long term ambitions if you have employees that firstly choose you for monetary rewards or other material offerings, when you’re striving to be (or are!)  a purpose-driven company where employees are inspired and driven by the impact of your company’s work. We’re not saying that monetary offerings are not important – they are, but if you are looking to run a sustainable and purpose-driven business, and are striving for long term commitment, they can not be a single focus. It just won’t work.

Being a people-centric company doesn’t mean that we can guarantee lifelong employment, or that everything will be tailored down to every little detail to each individual. That’s not it. At Spotify, it means that we aspire to make each Spotifiers’ tour with us one of the best they’ve had in their (working) life. We will treat our employees with respect and sincerity. We will see to it that they have the opportunity to grow and develop, feel valued and heard. And it means that they will understand their contribution to the success of Spotify, our mission as a company, our aspirations as an employer and our responsibilities in society. We’re not perfect, but we always strive to be better. We bring a growth mindset and playfulness along the way, as that will help us learn from our mistakes and dare to try new things.

Why do we do all this? We do it because we both believe and see proof that healthy and engaged band members drive better outcomes, create a better working environment (we, as band members, are each other’s work environment!) and will be able to be and do their best. As a byproduct a sense of belonging can grow stronger, and we will be able to retain our people longer. 

A Practical Model

Models are simplifications of the world and seldom cover everything, but they bring the power of clarity and as an entry step for understanding and shorten the gap to application. For any company trying to craft a mindful and comprehensive EVP, we’d recommend the integrated EVP-model (iEVP) by Mark Mortentsen and Amy C. Edmondson. The model makes it easy to explain your offerings in a more clear way. 

The iEVP-model structures the components of an EVP into the 4 main areas of Material offerings, Connection & Community, Growth & Development and Meaning & Purpose. The areas are then organised according to how they are perceived by workers (short term with more immediate benefits, or long term with a more anticipated pay off). This structure makes it easier to determine the strengths and weaknesses in an EVP. There’s no one solution that fits all companies of course, and the mix needed may change over time. But this gives an overview to review and discuss when you are planning your EVP and the type of company culture you strive for.

Source: The iEVP-model by  Mark Mortensen (Ass.professor INSEAD) . Amy C. Edmondson (Professor, Harvard Business School)

Systemic Approach

To take a holistic grip when crafting our EVP means using an approach that aligns the company’s culture, values, and mission with the benefits and experiences it provides to its employees. The EVP should include all aspects of the employment experience, from compensation and benefits, to work environment, equity, professional development opportunities and work-life balance. 

The iEVP-model gives us a way to structure our thinking around four interrelated areas. At Spotify, we navigate complexity on a daily basis, also known internally as Controlled Chaos. As a result, we use a systemic and holistic approach to our work and know that if we change a parameter somewhere, something else might be affected. We work with paradoxes, such as flexibility vs community. As humans, we tend to ask for what our needs and wants are here and now, not taking into account what we need in the longer term and will miss eventually. This is where we, as HR professionals and behaviour scientists, can help set the right mix of short and long term incentives to have a thriving workforce.

Spotify’s iEVP

Spotify’s iEVP is outlined in our Band Manifesto, which includes our core values, beliefs, and the behaviours that guide the way we work and treat each other. Our manifesto puts people first, emphasising the importance of creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture where everyone feels valued and supported. From flexible work arrangements to investment in personal and professional development, we strive to create an environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and a sense of community and belonging.

One of the key components of our iEVP is our commitment to offering a wide range of benefits that meet the diverse needs of our band members. This includes competitive pay and benefits, comprehensive support via our employee assistance program and our Heart & Soul offerings, paid time off for mental health and our global parental leave program. We understand that the traditional workday no longer applies to many people, and our flexibility, including our Work From Anywhere program and Flexible Public Holidays, allows employees to create a schedule that’s most suited to them.

Another important aspect of our iEVP is our investment in professional development. After all, growth is our mantra. We believe that investing in our employees’ growth and success not only benefits them, but also drives innovation and success for the company as a whole. That’s why we offer a wide range of learning opportunities, from in-house training and workshops to leadership development programs and coaching sessions. As well as connecting our employees with learning opportunities across the company via our internal talent marketplace Echo.

Our iEVP is also firmly grounded in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We understand that a workplace that values and celebrates diversity drives innovation and creativity, and we are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. This means providing a safe and inclusive workplace, as well as actively seeking out and promoting underrepresented voices in our hiring and development processes. 

These philosophies guide and make-up our integrated and holistic EVP, and you’ll see them mirrored in our People Strategy. All the work we, in the Spotify HR team, do is grounded in being people-centric and taking a holistic view of the entire employee experience. 

Engagement And Success

We’re dedicated to creating a positive, inclusive and supportive workplace culture. By considering all aspects of the employment experience and aligning our culture, values, and mission with the benefits we offer, we are able to create a compelling and unified message that attracts top talent and fosters a sense of engagement and loyalty among our current band members. The iEVP model is a powerful tool for organisations and HR professionals to craft their employee value proposition. To attract and retain the talent they want, that will thrive together with the organisation. By aligning your culture, values and mission with the benefits and experiences you provide for your employees, you’ll be able to create a clear, consistent and compelling message that sets you apart from your competitors. 

A successful iEVP requires a holistic view, and a focus on creating a positive work environment, providing opportunities for growth and development, and valuing work-life flexibility. By incorporating these elements into your EVP, your company can build a strong and engaged workforce that drives success for years to come.

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