An effective employee value proposition (EVP) helps position your organisation to attract, grow and keep the right talent – which happens to be the biggest challenge Australian CEOs are grappling with today.

    To be a workplace great candidates seek out, make sure you understand what they’re looking for, have a solid EVP, and always walk your talk.

Our ‘Keeping us up at night’ 2022 survey of CEOs showed that 70 percent of respondents are finding talent acquisition, retention and digital re/upskilling is their top immediate challenge. For context, cyber vulnerability came in second.

Added to this, many sectors across Australia are experiencing challenging labour market conditions, with high vacancy rates putting business sustainability and growth strategies at risk.

This is particularly serious in those occupations already experiencing shortages but foresee a strong future demand — including information and communications technology, engineering and a range of health services such as nurses, aged care workers, psychologists and pharmacists.1

The difference a year makes

Compared to the 2021 survey, more occupations overall are in short supply in 2022, with 31 percent overall shortage in 2022 compared with 19 percent in 2021. When combined with persistently low unemployment rates, and a 37 percent increase in the number of jobs advertised in Australia between 2021 and 2022,2 competition to secure talent at all levels is now the norm, placing increasing power in the hands of employees to take their pick of potential employers.

To successfully navigate these challenging employment conditions, it’s critical to plan for the workforce you need, ensuring the conditions within your organisation attract those workers and maximise their retention.

    Your EVP is a promise to current and future employees, and answers the question:

    ‘Why should I work for you?’

Planning for, and achieving the workforce you need

Workforce strategy for the future considers both human and digital labour and determines which capabilities will be most critical to success.

Based on sound strategic and business planning, workforce planning enables organisations to outline an approach for the numbers and skills required for the future workforce, which can then inform sourcing strategies.

But it’s not enough to know who you need – you also need to know what will make great talent want to work for you and stay with you.

So, standing out is not the only aim, your EVP needs to be both compelling and true.

These days it’s easy for prospective employees to find out how current employees feel about working for their employers, and determine whether your pitch matches reality. 

Most organisations are working on elements of their EVP, but few have closed the loop by highlighting the initiatives required to meet their EVP, then aligning them with business capability and outcomes. 

High impact initiatives

    In addition to competitive remuneration, the following initiatives are likely to create a disproportionately high impact:

Flexibility in working arrangements

While there are exceptions, it’s clear that the greater work flexibility during COVID-19 was welcomed by many employees. The ability for people to manage their life and work commitments was a big plus.

A recent Taking the Pulse of the Nation survey by the Melbourne Institute (July 2022) shows that almost all workers (88 percent) would like to work from home at least part of the work week, with 60 percent wanting hybrid working.3 However, there is also no doubt that there is real value in the human connection that comes from being face-to-face.

So it follows that employers who can effectively integrate the best from the COVID-19 experience and move to a ‘new normal’ rather than snap back to old ways will hold an advantage in the competitive labour market. We’ve seen many examples where employers are deliberate about balancing the need for social connection and belonging with flexibility, so there is a positive effect on the employee experience. So give your people a say – listen to them and set some parameters. Our experience shows that people perform best in systems they have been involved in developing.

Meaningful and purposeful work

As a result of digital transformation enabling the automation of repetitive, transactional work combined with the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) agenda and job reconsiderations triggered by COVID-19, there is an increased focus by employees on clarity of purpose.

Some argue this is more the case with millennials than older workers, however, the evidence is mixed, suggesting that many, regardless of their generation are asking the question, ‘Does this organisation align with my values?’

Do you have the leaders you need?

Do you have the leaders you need? Leaders at all levels generate the culture people want – or don’t want – to work in. In particular, frontline supervisors are critical – do they have the skills to engage, develop and inspire their people to continue to adapt and change?

We’ve helped clients across the private and public sector identify the type of leaders they need and then support their people to build the mindset, skills and capacity to be those leaders.

Agility in talent development

Agility in talent development. With the labour market so competitive, it’s unlikely you will find a new hire who has 100 percent of the skills you need. This means you need to be able to build these skills quickly, which will then feed into your EVP by supporting your people to build their careers.

This is where a targeted effort to align the learning you offer with the skills you need – delivered through a seamless digital platform – can provide all-round benefits.

This could be done through a careful curation of existing learning – or designed in-house so it can be specific and agile to meet your changing needs.

Rather than having to carve out chunks of time for offsite training, employees can now engage online in short sprints of very specific learning. The result is a stronger delivery to the EVP and improved employee learning experience, while helping solve the labour shortage issue.

Advanced digital technology for a better employee experience

Advanced digital technology for a better employee experience. Outdated practices or legacy systems in areas such as HR, Finance, or IT, can dramatically impact the employee experience all the way from onboarding to exit. The question to ask is, ‘What functions, operating models, legacy systems or processes are putting our EVP at risk?’

One client of ours had a key failure in delivering to their EVP during the onboarding stage. Their process wasn’t digital and contracts were in outdated regulatory language – all adding to significant delays in getting new hires signed on and productive. There was a risk new employees would get frustrated before they even began.

We helped this client focus specifically on this pain point. We optimised the onboarding journey with the right processes and digital capabilities, which led to a much faster, smoother experience from hire to productivity. This very targeted change is now underpinning stronger EVP delivery for the organisation and is adding to a more attractive sell in the competitive labour market.

Our Powered Enterprise approach helps make any back office transformation human-centred by combining best practice, sector-specific operating models, processes and technologies. Employees are able to touch, feel and see up to 80 percent of the transformation on day one. This not only accelerates benefits and reduces risk, but also provides a distinctly better change experience while bringing people on the adoption journey early.

Knowing the workforce you need

Knowing the workforce you need, is one part of the talent challenge associated with digital business transformation.

In an era where organisational culture information is readily available, where competition for talent is extreme and where digital transformation can’t occur without that talent, knowing what appeals to your ideal candidates, and being able to deliver on that promise in practice, has never been more important.

    Delivering an employee experience that attracts the talent you’re after doesn’t happen by accident – it takes a concerted effort across a range of people-related initiatives – and the five we explored in this article are fundamental to your success.

Get in touch

Digital transformation at KPMG


1. 2022 Skills Priority List (
2. 2022 Skills Priority List (
3. TTPN 11 July 2022 (