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The Meaning of Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
An employer value proposition (EVP) can be a complete game-changer for your company culture, employee development and how much top talent comes on board. That's why it's essential to know what an EVP is and how you can create one that truly lasts the test of time.Become an employer branding expert with our trusted guide.
What is an employer value proposition (EVP)?
An employer value proposition (EVP) refers to your company's core benefits that make up your wider employer brand. Think of it as a promise between an employer and a potential applicant. What can your company and culture offer them in exchange for their talent, skills and experience? An EVP is where you can build the case for why top talent should choose your business.
Why do you need an EVP?
A well-rounded EVP can sharpen the identity and culture of your company, strengthen your employer brand and facilitate better recruitment overall. But it’s also necessary because the balance between applicants and employers has shifted.
The ‘war for talent’ has arrived and top candidates now are spoiled for choice when it comes to new roles. So an EVP is important both when sourcing potential candidates or when they come across your job posting.
So if your company wants top talent, you need to have a well-defined, attractive and candidate-attuned EVP to give candidates a reason to apply. Not only that, but you need to give them a reason to want to work at your company.
Who should develop your company’s EVP?
The creation of your company’s employer value proposition should be led by HR, but should also take a page from almost every corner of your organisation. That can include executives, senior managers, regular employees or people specifically tasked with recruiting talent.
But your EVP should also be aligned with your overall company strategy, guiding vision and working philosophy, so it helps to have buy-in directly from the top.
Employer value proposition example: how do you write an EVP?
An EVP should serve as both an attractive and realistic statement for potential employees. While buzzwords might make things sound better, they lack the substance to truly compel applicants to do what you want them to: apply.
The structure of an employer value proposition should typically follow this line of thought:
What your company can offer.
What the competition is also offering.
The experience an employee should (and will) find from their first day on the job.
In order to write a great EVP, you need to balance all three of these things. That’s because you want to strike the perfect balance between who your company wants, what top talent wants and what they will actually receive.
Let’s use the image below as a quick guide:
|Status quo||What do employees currently enjoy about working at your company (roles, responsibilities, progression, etc.)?|
|Key differentiator||What does your company offer that competing employers can't or won't?|
|The bigger picture||What kind of talent will help you achieve your big-picture goals and what matters to them?|
Should you segment employer value propositions?
Ideally, you would have one singular employer value proposition that can be tweaked and attuned to many different roles, departments and functions across your organisation. This will afford a certain sharpness to your messaging and will also help with consistency as you scale.
That means you should have one singular statement, tailored to meet different requirements (but not so tailored that they are indistinguishable from one another). Let’s illustrate this with a handy chart:
Employer value proposition example template
Let’s start off with a statement that can help anchor the core message of our EVP: "We offer a place to do great things with great people."
It's fairly generic statement and sentiment, right? Let’s see how we can tailor it to match the needs of certain groups:
|Employee type||Potential EVP|
|Interns or junior employees||We offer a place to do great things with great people and grow within our organisation.|
|Managers||We offer a place to do great things with great people, with autonomy to make decisions that spark real change.|
|Executive level||We offer a place to do great things with great people, while leading an industry into the horizon and beyond.|
As you can see, the core of the text remains the same, but the second half is tailored to match the needs of the audience you’re targeting with your EVP. Let’s call this ‘target group-specific branding.’
How to build your employer value proposition
Here’s something to keep in mind: No two employer value propositions are created equal. The challenge is preparing one to identify your own unique strengths as an employer. To do this, ask yourself: What arguments do we have that could really convince a potential candidate to apply here?
There’s a whole host of factors we might consider. Here are some of the most important:
1. Assess remuneration
Remuneration is a great starting point for thinking about your EVP. After all, a company that pays its employees at a higher rate than the competition ensures that applicants will have a positive perception of the employer right from the beginning.
Over the long term though, a high level of remuneration cannot make up for a miserable working environment. A company that offers its employees only average or indeed low pay needs other unique selling points in order to attract skilled employees and talented individuals.
2. Look at working environment
Along with pay, an engaging working environment is one of the most important factors. This includes propositions such as fitting out the workplace to a high standard, offering stylish office furniture and supplying the employees with soft drinks and snacks.
Furthermore, there is the option of allowing employees to work from home. These factors are particularly important for young target audiences who value flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.
3. Grow your corporate culture
It is important that applicants feel they can identify with the corporate culture, including all the values that a company stands for. The focus here can be very specific. The company culture can reflect attitudes towards human, social or even political issues.
For many applicants who are seeking long-term employment, it is important that their employer shares their views, at least when it comes to fundamental questions. In the end, most workers want to be able to go to work with a clear conscience.
4. Consider career progression
How good are the career opportunities and promotion prospects in the company? The answer to this question can also tip the scales in favour of your company.
Are employees supported and encouraged to develop their abilities? Are free training courses offered? Are there positive examples of home-grown talent rising through the ranks?
Companies who use their employer value proposition in recruitment marketing to present a transparent outlook to new employees will score points among high potentials on the job market.
5. Reinforce job security
How can a long-established company compete with the appeal of young, agile start-ups? One way could be to emphasise factors such as stability and job security.
A long history, constant growth or a market-leading position make employees feel secure. The feeling that a position is not under threat from a commercial perspective can be an essential decision criterion for the risk-averse candidate.
6. Track competitors
By no means should companies blindly copy their rivals when it comes to preparing an EVP. Doing so would mean that no unique selling point is created and their own intended audience is not targeted in the best possible way.
Nevertheless, it is advisable to keep track of direct competitors, their value propositions and their recruitment marketing activities in order to respond to them should it prove necessary.
For example, if a competitor cannot offer an especially good office location you should emphasise this value proposition particularly strongly.
As certain EVP factors, such as pay or tangible promotion opportunities are not always communicated openly by competitors, resorting to ‘undercover’ measures is certainly an option. For example, going to career fairs incognito to seek information from competitors is a common practice in many companies.
7. Identify your strengths
The easiest way to discover what strengths your own company has from an employee perspective is to ask the employees directly. Doing so in the form of a questionnaire or a detailed interview can bring important insights to light.
The focus of the questions should be on why an employee decided to accept a position at your company, why they still enjoy working there and why they would recommend the company as an employer to a friend.
Employer value proposition best practices
Once the target groups have been defined, your own strengths analysed from an external and internal point of view and the weaknesses of the competition taken into account, the final EVP needs to be drafted.
In doing so, companies should be guided by some specific best practices:
|Best practice||Why it matters|
|Be specific||The more specific wording you choose, the better. Avoid generic phrases, as applicants will have already seen them a thousand times before. Seek originality!|
|Differentiate with impact||Really think about what your company, as an employer, has to offer the best applicants. But, make sure to be tangible: present an honest depiction of your company and what makes you special.|
|Consider the full life cycle||An EVP isn't simply designed to get someone in the door. Make sure that it is accurate and reflective of your company across every stage of the employee journey: recruitment, motivation and retention.|
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