How to Create a Great Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

1 October 2021
12 minute
How to Create a Great Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Whether you know it or not, you will have experienced EVP in your career… “why should I work for you over anyone else, what’s in it for me?” That in a nutshell is Employee Value Proposition, an unwritten contract or better yet, an understanding of what the business is going to do to not only attract the best talent but also keep them and turn them into brand ambassadors. 

Developing a great EVP for your business is hugely beneficial. It is what is going to attract great candidates to your company, and build a brand awareness of your business at the same time. Another way of understanding EVP is, “what makes my company so attractive to work for?” Over time, your EVP will have been developed without any structured consideration but with the right tools and knowledge, you can take the first steps into creating your own EVP and attract the right talent to see your business grow.

In this guide we are going to look at what EVP is in more detail, why it is important, the elements of a great EVP and finally look at how you can start building one.

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

Minchington (2005) defines an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as a ‘set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization.’

EVP, is derived from the marketing term: Unique Value Proposition which describes the value provided to customers from a supplier. EVP is then the value provided to employees from their employer.

These values are unique, or should be unique to the employer and what they are giving the employee in return. It’s more than just a financial value too. A Gallup poll showed that whilst 82% of employers thought their staff left because of higher wages, in fact, it was only 12% of employees who believed the same thing. What a company can offer in terms more than fiscal remuneration is key in EVP.

Why is an Employee Value Proposition important?

It is becoming increasingly harder to attract the right talent which opens the door for strategies like EVP to resonate with the active recruitment market. Clear, consistent and efficient communication of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) has become extremely important.

With people facing tough decisions about how they want to work, keeping a good work-life balance and even spending less time commuting, finding the right kind of candidate that ticks all the boxes is becoming tougher for businesses.

However, when you clearly define what your EVP is, you can show your employees, potential recruits and even your own business the many benefits it brings including:

  • Ensures the role is attractive to top talent

What is going to make a great candidate choose you over a competitor? It’s not always about money (although it helps), it’s about other qualities like work life balance, development in the business, taking ownership of tasks etc.

  • Enables candidates to determine whether they are a good fit

EVP is a branding exercise for a business just as much as it is a recruitment tool. Clearly defining the corporate culture helps candidates understand if it is somewhere where they fit into it.

  • Enhances a brand’s employment opportunities

The more attractive your package is, as a whole, the better. You can attract talent without even putting out a recruitment post.

  • Presents a clear vision which is attractive to top talent

What does your company stand for? What does it believe in? How does having the best talent mirror those ideas, philosophies and objectives?

Elements of an Employee Value Proposition

This ‘how to’ guide is designed to give you more information about Employee Value Proposition. When making your own specific EVP, these are the core elements that you should consider for inclusion in your own EVPs.

Compensation

Not everyone is motivated by salaries and not everyone leaves because of their salaries. However, having a structured compensation system, one that reflects the role of the salary and financial compensation on offer is essential. 

  • Salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Share option schemes
  • Raises & promotions
  • Fairness 
  • Evaluation system

Benefits

Customise your benefits package to your industry - that way it provides a like for likeness with your competitors but also, it gives you flexibility to be creative with the kinds of benefits on offer. 

  • Pension plan
  • Health insurance
  • Paid leave
  • Company sponsored holidays

Career development opportunities

One of the key reasons why anyone joins and stays with a company is the career development opportunities. Employees want to see growth in their roles and their positions - offering a clear plan to do this is a must especially if you can’t compete on a financial level.

  • Training programmes
  • Promotion paths and opportunities
  • Opportunities to work in other locations
  • Opportunities to work in other departments
  • Opportunities to learn in a university/structure 
  • Develop new qualifications 
  • Evaluation and feedback to develop

Work environment

Employers must recognise the importance of creating a work environment that makes it easier to work for a business but also one that gives employees a purpose to work for them. Sustaining a positive work environment and experience helps keep employees engaged and motivated.

  • Office design
  • Office location and commuting
  • Work-life balance
  • Wellbeing
  • Management interaction 
  • Autonomy 
  • Personal achievements 
  • Recognition for their work

Company culture

Company culture “eats strategy for breakfast” as the famous Peter Drucker once famously quipped. But having a corporate culture which addresses cultural factors is key.

  • Company values
  • Diversity
  • Support
  • Existing staff
  • Socialising opportunities
  • Collaboration & team spirit
  • Trust

Employee Value Proposition examples

There are some great examples of Employee Value Propositions from companies all over the world and the internet. 

Ansarada

Ansarada is an Australian private company that develops AI-powered virtual data rooms and Material Information Platforms. Their EVP says:

Our business involves confidentially managing the flow of information between buyers and sellers in financial deals including M&A, tenders, fundraising and IPO.

Our world-class team love what they do and are on a mission to revolutionize the complex process of deals by engineering powerful but simple software that gives our customers confidence they are in control.

We are looking for people who are passionate, curious and collaborative to join our innovative fast growth global company.

Things like, ‘world class team love what they do and are on a mission’ clearly demonstrates not only corporate culture but also that they have great people in place already within the company. It’s very subtle, but it makes you think that if you joined them, you would be surrounded by great talent. 

Ellevest

Ellevest is a robo-advisor investment platform and financial literacy programme primarily for women. Their EVP says:

Ellevest is a leading tech company in New York City, with a thriving team across our engineering, product, marketing, client experience, investments, and operations organizations. We place a major emphasis on building a team and working environment where individuals can succeed professionally and personally.

As a team member at Ellevest, you can expect to make a difference through your work, to have a direct impact on the achievement of a very meaningful mission, to significantly advance your career trajectory, and to have room for fun and fulfillment in your daily life. We know that achieving a mission as critical as ours requires incredible talent and teamwork, and team is the most important thing to us.

The purpose of this EVP is to place a clear emphasis on two areas; the mission of the business which is to create a platform for investments for women, and to deliver work-life balance fostered through ‘fulfillment’ in daily life. 

Mimecast

Mimecast Limited is a Jersey-domiciled, UK-headquartered company specializing in cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office 365, including security, archiving, and continuity services to protect business mail. Their EVP reads:

We set aggressive goals and work together to achieve them. Want to join us?

Our distinctive culture, created by ‘Mimecasters’, is our greatest asset. It is built on openness, a willingness to take on the toughest challenges, and our tenacity in identifying and solving the big problems – our warrior spirit, our sense of fun and our ability to do the right thing naturally.

Mimecasters work together on health, wellness, community volunteering and sponsorship activities as well as social events where we can celebrate and share in each other’s success.

We see that the EVP is pointing to a corporate culture which includes, “a warrior spirit, sense of fun and doing the right thing” as well as clearly promoting their social programme to help celebrate success as part of a bigger project.

This upbeat view of their own business challenges the norms of not saying anything to the wider world about what makes their business so special. It's a powerful language designed to build unity and a rallying call for existing employees and new recruits. 

Creating a great Employee Value Proposition

Creating an EVP should be a point of strategic value for your business - it is about defining your brand, your vision and ultimately, attracting and retaining your best talents in order to develop your business and hit your goals.

Whether it is management that starts the ball rolling or someone tasked within the business to understand the EVP and develop a unique one, there are certain stages you can take in order to create or improve your offering.

1. Scope out what your company currently offers

Understanding what your company branding currently is and what it stands for/sounds like - and what you actually do is the starting point. 
What core elements are ticked off in your own business? Do you have a great remuneration package but very little else? Go through that list and tick off what applies to your business. Remember to be very objective at this part of the process.

2. Collate feedback from employees (past and present)

Part of being objective is about reaching out to current and past employees for feedback about how they perceive the business, and what it is that the business can and cannot offer.

Use surveys, internal focus groups, exit interviews to get a better understanding of the challenges faced with creating the EVP. 

Asking the right questions also matters such as; Why do you like working here? What motivates you at work to engage more? What improvements would you like to see? What kind of support do you expect from the company to help you achieve your professional development goals? 

Approach your best performers for one-to-one discussions to identify what motivates them and incorporate into the development process of your EVP.

3. Identify and define the key points to include in the EVP

Evaluate your findings, look at what really stands out to you. This is what will help to attract and retain your top talent. Think about your target candidate as well, what language are they going to use and understand? What is attractive to them?

A recent graduate candidate will be different to someone who has years of experience. Your EVP should be tailored to both in job listings and a careful combination in your website/social media communications to attract the right candidate based on where they will see your business advertising.

Think of words like, loyalty, fun environment, positive experience, employee perks for graduates. For experienced candidates use language like, work-life balance, childcare availability and pension scheme.

4. Draft your EVP

Now that you’ve spent time understanding what is out there, what the perception is, what you can offer and what your focus should be - you can spend the time developing your EVP.

You need to create something that is clear, unique and inspirational. This is the only way you can get through to the best talent.

You also need to align two key areas; what your company can offer vs what your ideal candidate wants. The EVP is where there is an overlap of these two key areas.

4. Compare and evaluate your EVP

Once you have drafted your EVP, take a step back and look at it. Analyse what you have created and then give it to someone who isn’t in the business.

What do they take from it? What is their feedback? Take it back in and evaluate it against what the market has. How does your EVP compare?

5. Communicate your EVP via relevant channels

An EVP is only effective when people see it. You have to know how to promote it, and how to get that message across to the candidates you want applying and to the team that is currently working for you.

You need to promote it and spend the time doing so through the right channels. Internally, you can use the company blog, send an email blast to all staff, have a launch about it and even take a snippet and use it in the email footnotes so it becomes ingrained in the psyche of your team.

Externally, you want to reach out on different platforms like your website (a careers page), social media and importantly, turning it into boilerplate information about your company in job applications.

6. Assess responses to your EVP

Understanding if your EVP is working or not is key so you need to assess it.

  • Are the quality of applications coming through of a better standard?
  • Are the candidates more like the ideal candidate you want in your business? 
  • Has engagement on your social media channels increased?
  • Are you experiencing less employee churn?
  • Are you getting more applications from passive candidates?

Go over your EVP at least once a year to see if everything on the brief stacks up. What other things could you improve on?

Remember, one of the best ways to do this is by having focus groups with different people in the business and developing the EVP to match what they’re saying as well.

In summary

Finding the very best talent is going to be the big race for many businesses over the coming decade. The competition can be fierce and being able to stand out from the rest is getting harder. That’s where a strong EVP can help.

An EVP is about developing your business brand and asking the questions, “what makes my company so attractive to work for?” Fulfilling the needs of the ideal candidate is never going to be easy, but an EVP helps set out your business goals from the very beginning.

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