When the doorbell rang, I couldn’t help but grin because it meant my all-time favorite meal was here! My workspace was set up like a pro, ready for the evening’s Zoom call. Each year, the Steople team pulls off this amazing global planning session, spanning time zones from Australia to New Zealand and, of course, the U.S. It’s a night (for us in the U.S.) and a morning (for our Aussie and Kiwi buddies) filled with connection, planning, and, most importantly, amazing food. This is hands down one of the best times of the year for us because not only do we get to shape the company’s future, but we also get to hang out with our colleagues from around the world.

Picture this: the U.S. team was soaking up the late afternoon sun, donning short sleeves and sandals, while our mates down under in Australia were all cozied up in sweaters, enjoying fireside chats. This year, our global planning session had a laser focus on our Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and it was a blast exploring all the reasons that make our company so special, backed up by stories from our valued team members.

Now, as for the EVP champions, they’re still rounding up the data from our offsite adventure, but certain themes have already emerged. These themes are all about the heart and soul of our organization: our fantastic people, the flexibility we offer, and the endless chances to learn and grow, just to name a few.

Speaking from my own experience, our company has an incredible knack for supporting our folks when they’re going through tough times. If someone needs to take medical leave or deal with a family emergency, we all pitch in to help with work and anything they need on the personal front. We’ve done everything from sharing food to helping with chores, and I’ll never forget the time a tornado left many without power, and a colleague offered up their fridge space to save everyone’s food from spoiling. That’s what we call integrity and teamwork at Steople.

Now, let me share a heartwarming story I stumbled upon while diving into the world of EVPs. It’s about a former Dodgers player named Andrew Toles. Despite his battles with schizophrenia, the team leadership’s response was nothing short of inspiring. Instead of parting ways with him, they extended a helping hand, allowing him to continue working with the team year after year, primarily for the sake of maintaining his health insurance coverage to address his mental health needs. Talk about taking care of your people!

Ever wondered what makes your company stand out in the crowd? Check out Mark Mortensen and Amy Edmondson’s article, “Rethinking Your Employee Value Proposition.” They break it down into four super interesting categories:

1. Material Goods: These include things like pay, physical office space, location, commuting perks, cool tech gear, flexible work hours, and a bunch of other awesome extras.

2. Opportunities to Grow and Shine: Think about all the ways your company nurtures its employees’ skill sets and enabling them to become more valuable in the job market. It could be through new roles, job rotations, training, or promotions.

3. Feeling Connected and Part of a Community: This is about being appreciated for who you are, having a sense of belonging, and forming great relationships at work. It all starts with having a vibrant culture that lets people be themselves and encourages a sense of togetherness or belonging.

4. Finding Meaning and Purpose: This is your company’s aspirational objectives, aligning with employees’ desire to make a positive impact on local and global communities. These objectives answer the fundamental question of why employees dedicate themselves to the work they do. It’s all about matching your team’s desire to make the world a better place with the work they do every day.

Remember, your Employee Value Proposition isn’t just about the money. Sure, we all need to pay the bills, but think about all the other cool reasons people might want to join your company. We recently helped out an organization with their EVP by doing something called “listening tours.” Basically, we gave every employee a chance to share their thoughts. After a couple of weeks of daily sessions, we collected all their stories (anonymously, of course) and shared them with the big bosses for a day of “sense-checking.” This day was all about understanding the stories and figuring out what truly makes the company special and why people choose to be a part of it.

It was a privilege to be a part of these listening tours, and it was an incredible experience hearing stories from all levels of the company. When the senior leaders joined the sense-checking session, they were blown away by the stories and distilled them into five overarching themes. These themes now guide their talent acquisition playbook, from hiring to development, engagement, and career transitions. So, having a clear Employee Value Proposition can really set the stage for everyone involved.

So, what’s your secret sauce that makes you stand out in the business world? What forms your unique moat in the business landscape?