Creating a Winning EVP in Life Sciences

How do life science organizations ‘win’ when it comes to attracting and retaining the people they need to succeed? An important answer may lie in creating an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that truly speaks to the people who power your business.

September 03, 2019

By Kristina Djokic, Vice President, Global Solutions , KellyOCG

The fundamentals of the talent landscape in life sciences have shifted dramatically over the last few years. Unemployment is low, the economy is booming, and scientific professionals are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to choosing how and where they want to work. This has created intense competition between life science organizations and this ‘war for talent’ is something leaders have to face up to if they want to remain competitive.  

So, how do life science organizations ‘win’ when it comes to attracting and retaining the people they need to succeed? An important answer may lie in creating an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that truly speaks to the people who power your business. Remember, an EVP is all of the ways you provide value to current employees and could provide value to potential employees. It is the crucial ‘why’ in why people want to work with you.

Below, I explore some of the key issues life science organizations should consider when creating a winning EVP.

Adapt your approach to speak to distinct audiences

Most life science organizations operate in a wide range of geographies and employ a diverse crowd of people. This means your EVP cannot be static – the value that appeals to a light-industrial worker in the US may not appeal to a research scientist in France. An EVP should flex between key geographies, key skill groups, and even key generational groups. To create this flexibility, an overarching organizational EVP should be punctuated by targeted iterations, and this level of specificity should be fuelled by detailed research and clear visibility of your global workforce. It may be that you need to drill down even further when it comes to highly specialized talent. I have worked with organizations requiring clinical experts who are one of only a handful of qualified people in the world. This means the EVP on offer must be uniquely targeted at an individual level to succeed.

Consider intrinsic value

An EVP is not only part of a strategic talent attraction approach, it is also a key part of retention and crucial to life science organizations operating in a competitive marketplace. A strong EVP can decrease employee turnover by up to 69% according to research by Gartner, a figure which can have a sizable impact on talent spend. Intrinsic value can come from lifestyle considerations like access to flexible work, remote work, and rewards programs, as well as organizational culture, and opportunities for upskilling and promotion. Life science organizations should ensure they continue to offer targeted value at every stage in an employee’s journey through their business.  

Create a strong story  

EVP is inextricably linked to employer branding and a strong story is a vital asset for life sciences organizations. You must be able to communicate the reasons why you do what you do – from creating a better and healthier world to helping people with debilitating injuries or conditions live independent lives. This must be supported by a clear strategy and strong leadership style. Your brand and your story provide value to employees and candidates looking for meaning in the work they do.  

EVP should never be a tick box exercise for life science organizations. It should be a carefully considered and constructed approach that reflects who you are as a business and the people who support your life-changing work. The benefits in attraction, retention, and in reducing talent spend are simply too important to be overlooked.


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