Frontline Intelligence - HR recruitment: The HR EVP

by 16 May 2012

HR teams often spend a significant amount of time defining and articulating their organisation’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The clear intent is to position the company as well as possible to attract the best potential employees.

The same opportunity exists for HR Leaders to create a simple EVP for their HR function to attract the best available talent by understanding what HR professionals find attractive when considering career opportunities.

In last month’s editorial “Turnover in HR – Not pretty”, we discussed the significantly high turnover in HR teams. This month, we are taking a step backwards to discuss the attraction of the right HR talent in the first place. We ask: what are HR professionals seeking in their role and where do they want to work? Understanding these questions can be a useful asset when trying to attract the best HR practitioners in the market who will stay for the long haul.

The numbers

The role and organisation preferences of HR professionals was just one of the many areas examined by the recently published 2012 Global HR Viewpoint Survey, (Viewpoint). The Viewpoint Report is based on responses from almost 3,000 HR professionals within Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the UK/Europe.

There are some clear messages about the preferences of HR professionals regardless of their level, gender and background in the Viewpoint data. Two key results in the survey showed that in Australia/New Zealand:


  • 58.1% of HR professionals prefer a role that is end-to-end with both a thinking as well as an operational component.
  • 43.2% of HR professionals consider the most important thing to look for when joining an organisation is that the management team value the role played by the HR function.


The role

The numbers show that an overwhelming majority of the HR community want an end-to-end role. There is a clear message that HR professionals across the board are looking for a role with both a thinking contribution as well as the opportunity to implement their work.

For senior HR practitioners, this may be the building and delivery of the functional strategy. For the early HR career market, this may instead be the suggestion and implementation of process improvements. Very few HR professionals are attracted to a role that is solely focused on operational delivery (4.4%), specialised within a niche area (2.7%) or with a project orientation (4.0%). HR professionals across the board evidently want to do more than just execute.

The organisation

When it comes to organisational preferences, the Viewpoint data shows half of all HR professionals believe the position of the function within the business is the single most important factor when considering an opportunity. This suggests that there is a degree of pragmatism in relation to HR professionals and their work in 2012; what the organisation does and how it does it are secondary considerations after the need for the leadership team to value and endorse the contribution made by HR.

The most frequently quoted “turn-off” for any HR professional is the lack of commitment by an organisation’s senior management team to support pro-active people practices. There are very few HR professionals who don’t have this key cultural driver at the front and centre of their organisational preferences.

The final word

There are of course many other things HR professionals are looking for. The Viewpoint indicates that the more prevalent of these are:


  • Professional Development opportunities;
  • Strong brand image;
  • Best practice HR;
  • Additional annual leave entitlements;
  • Flexible work arrangements; and
  • Company-sponsored learning.


Whilst these factors are important, the data from the Viewpoint is clear in that there are two dominating themes evidenced:


  • HR professionals want an ability to both “think” and “do” in their roles (no matter the level); and
  • HR professionals want the leadership of the organisation to hold HR’s contribution in high regard.


Companies that are able to effectively articulate in their HR EVP that the organisation supports the function and allows their HR professionals a degree of original thought to their work where appropriate will be in a strong position when sourcing talent – everything else is secondary!

About the author

Lisa Robson is a Consultant within The Next Gen division of The Next Step, a specialist consulting practice in the human resources market. For more information call (02) 8256 2500 or email Website:

For more information about the 2012 Global HR Viewpoint Survey, please contact The Next Step.


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