Defining a strong EVP

Defining a strong EVP

A good employee value proposition, or EVP, can help an organisation draw the attention of top talent. It is a clear and consistent message about the experience of working at your organisation and highlights the unique aspects you offer that attract, engage and retain top talent.

More than a HR buzzword, it helps an organisation understand and share what its successful employees like best about working for you. Remember, your organisation is unique. It may make the same products or provide the same service as your competitors, but it is unique in its own way.

What is an EVP?

An EVP seeks to identify these unique benefits. Covering both tangible and intangible factors, from your company values and culture to rewards and opportunities, it communicates the experiences of working for you that attract and retain your best people.

In short, an EVP communicates the unique benefits and value that you and you alone offer. It’s a message that describes why your organisation is the right place for the type of people who succeed there, and nobody else. It explains why successful employees are motivated and retained.

It’s important to make a distinction here with your employer brand. While your EVP communicates to your potential and existing employees what they can get in return for working for your organisation, your employer brand refers to the reputation the wider world – not just potential employees – have of you.

two do overlap, since an employer brand aims to take your EVP and present it to the outside world in a creative and captivating external message. For this reason, the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, you can think of your EVP as the promise you offer your employees, while your employer brand is the message you tell the wider world about what you stand for, how you do business and what it’s like to work for you.

Why is an EVP important?

How often have you seen dull and predictable EVPs, such as “Our people are our greatest assets” or “We value our people”? Such statements do not describe what’s unique about working for your organisation.

An EVP is important because it tells a candidate what they’ll get in return for working with you. By communicating the experience of working at your organisation, you’ll attract candidates who are a natural fit and value the benefits they’ll get from working for you. In addition, those who do not align with your EVP will be less inclined to apply.

But defining the essence of what your organisation offers its staff is not a simple matter of sitting down with your marketing team and crafting a catchy strap-line or captivating image. It takes genuine reflection of the real value you offer. With that in mind, here’s our advice on how to go about developing an employee value proposition.

Tips for defining your EVP

1. Firstly, identify what your organisation offers that attracts and retains top talent. Run anonymous surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews with current employees to find out what’s important to them, what engages them and why they remain with your organisation. The aim is to find out what they think is unique about working for your organisation and why they stay.

You can also ask candidates in job interviews why they applied for a role in your organisation.

Don’t ignore departing employees either. Exit interviews will help you understand why they left and what may have helped to retain them.

The recruitment agency you use can also give you feedback on the benefits that attract candidates to your roles.

When conducting this research, go beyond simply the salary and financial benefits you offer to identify the intangible experience and rewards that staff value. For example, do you provide mentorships that allow employees to grow and develop their career or clear and transparent promotional pathways so that everyone is aware of exactly what must be achieved to qualify for a promotion? Or does the value you offer your staff comes in the form of a hybrid working model, flexible working hours, regular upskilling or a culture of collaboration?

2. Highlight the common unique selling points. Once you collate this data you will be able to clearly identify the core values and unique selling points that your employees rate highly. Being able to define what your top talent values the most about working for you gives you clear direction when it comes time to write your EVP.

3. Write these in uncomplicated language. You can then write down what it is that makes your organisation unique. Your message should be succinct and clear. It should highlight what’s most important to your employees, why they stay and what employment at your organisation offers that’s unique in your market. This is your EVP.

4. Check it’s based in truth. Your EVP should be more than just descriptive sentences. It needs to be based in truth and should represent the sum of the experience of working at your organisation as simply and truthfully as possible. This will ensure you attract people who will thrive in the everyday experience of your workplace, rather than those who are attracted to the message but fail to be engaged by the reality.

To do this, you can test your EVP with your top talent to confirm that it accurately conveys the experience of working for your organisation.

What next?

Once you’ve defined your EVP, you can creatively bring it to life in your external employer brand.

Consistency is the key when communicating your EVP and building your brand, both internally and externally. Keep the messages uniform across all channels and throughout every stage of the employment relationship, from the initial job description to the career progression available.

Remember though that your EVP isn’t just a message you communicate during the recruitment process – it should be brought to life in every interaction your organisation makes. For example, if you claim to support work-life balance or ongoing development, but do not provide training, career progression, study leave or flexible working hours, the reality of your workplace does not match your promise.

Finally, it’s also advisable to review your EVP from time to time to ensure it remains relevant and is brought to life throughout your employees’ day-to-day experience.

For more, see our dedicated article on how to creatively bring your EVP to life in your employment branding.

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