Driven by Data

Designing an EVP to think beyond salary & benefits

We have conducted several compensation studies helping schools develop a compensation philosophy and strategy that is best for staff and financially sustainable. Compensation, after all, is the most important factor candidates consider when evaluating multiple offers. However, we always push school leadership to remember that salary is just one factor and should be considered alongside many others.

A meta-analysis across industries found that pay only explains 2% of worker dissatisfaction.(1) A nationwide survey of teachers specifically showed that only 13% of teachers cited “pay” as very important in their decision to leave.(2)

You heard that right. Only 13% of teachers cited salary as very important – behind nine other factors. Despite the anecdotes about schools poaching staff, and staff resigning because of a $500 pay bump, that is not the reality shown by the data. Staff is not leaving jobs for a few thousand dollars.

Are you excited yet? You should be. School budgets are often constrained and it can be very difficult to significantly raise salaries. So if satisfaction was simply correlated to pay you’d most likely just be stuck. The good news in this data is that you can increase satisfaction and retention in areas where you have more control.

Staff satisfaction and engagement are driven by your school’s entire Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP is everything offered to staff for working at your school. There are many ways to conceptualize the components of the offerings. Below we have broken down the EVP into Affiliation, Work Content, Career Progress, and Compensation and Benefits.

The first step is to realize that in exchange for staff’s work you are already offering a lot more than just salary and benefits. The next step is to honestly assess your school’s offerings and how those are viewed by employees. Take a few minutes to think about what your school currently offers in each pie slice of the EVP. 

  • Where are you strong?
  • Where you are weak?
  • Where are you strong but fail to recognize that this is a value to staff? (e.g., having a small class size for programmatic reason can be a great value for staff experience or development)
  • Where are you strong but fail to communicate it? (e.g., do half your staff not even know about your tuition benefits) 

Once you assess your current offerings you can start the hard and iterative work of strengthening your EVP and communicating it to both prospective and existing staff.

[This post contributed by Vera Krimnus, Consultant/New Markets Ambassador]

(1) Judge, T., Piccolo, R., Podsakoff, N., Shaw, J. & Rich, B. (2010). The relationship between pay and job satisfaction: a meta-analysis of literature. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 55, 157-167.

(2) LPI analysis of the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), 2014, from the Schools and Staffing Surveys. National Center for Education Statistics.