What is your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and why is it important?

By Peri Lyons, 30 November 2022 | 10 mins read

Why should someone join your organisation? What’s in it for them? What benefits can it offer? Why is it special? And is it a good place to work? The answers to these questions are what set your organisation apart and make it distinctive. Boil them down into an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and you get a powerful secret weapon in the never-ending battle for top talent. In this blog, we’ll explain why a strong EVP’s important, how to create one and how to put it to work. But first things first. Let’s take a second to find out how the experts define an EVP. Dictionary, over to you.

What is an EVP?

Employee Value Proposition [noun]: A set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization. [B. Minchington, 2005]

The concept of the Employee Value Proposition (sometimes known as an Employer Value Proposition) first emerged in the early 2000s, and the idea’s been gathering pace ever since. Today, the EVP is a must-have for attraction and retention, providing the logic behind employer branding strategy and conveying the essence of your business.

A little acronym with big impact, an EVP is the crystallisation of all that’s good about your organisation. Material benefits, intangible positives – your EVP crams all this amazing stuff into one neat, appealing package.

Stat attack

That’s all well and good – but do you really need an EVP? Do they actually make a difference? If you’re in any doubt, check out these statistics.

Employee Value Proposition and Customer Value Proposition: what’s the difference?

If the concept of a value proposition sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been borrowed from mainstream marketing. Customer Value Propositions (CVPs) do a similar job to EVPs, but with – you guessed it – customers as the target. Both types of VP are designed to express a Unique Selling Point to their intended audience, and there may well be some overlap. For instance, a CVP may highlight a company’s image just as much as an EVP.

If that’s the case, why not simply re-purpose your CVP for recruitment? After all, you want to keep your messaging consistent and aligned, right? While that sounds like a good idea in theory, there are some major flaws in this plan. To start with, customers are not necessarily the same people you want to attract as talent, which means you’re unlikely to meet your recruitment goals. Additionally, the relationship with a customer, who may spend less than an hour in your store, is completely different to the connection you have with a job candidate, who may end up spending a huge part of their life in your workplace. You can’t talk to them in the same way. Given that employees are the engine of the business, and the key to great performance, isn’t it worth targeting them separately? After all, engaging the best talent can turbo-boost productivity and drive better financial results. And that’s not the only reason…

What are the benefits of a strong, well thought out EVP?

Strong Employee Value Propositions are a game-changer on multiple levels. They help you attract and retain the best people – people who’ll drive the success of your business and help you beat the competition. A strong EVP achieves this by articulating all the great things that can make someone choose your organisation over another. It is not simply the pay and benefits; it’s the whole employee experience: the way people feel at work.

Since the pandemic, non-financial factors have become increasingly important to employees such as work life balance, supportive managers, career development, culture, ethos, ESG and company reputation.

  • In a 2021 survey by Gartner, 58% of respondents strongly agreed that the pandemic changed their perspective on the desirability of their workforce location, and 50% changed their expectations toward their employer.
  • In a 2022 survey by McKinsey, 41% of respondents stated that the top reason they quit their job was lack of career advancement.
  • 73% of employees in a global survey by Microsoft say they need a better reason to go in to work than just company expectations
  • For 20% of new hires, reliance on their managers for onboarding support increased compared to before the pandemic.

Ignoring this sea change in candidate attitude is a huge mistake. If you don’t pay attention to what potential employees want, you’re likely to struggle with recruitment and haemorrhage existing talent.

Bear in mind that…

It all comes down to a very simple truth: employees want to feel valued.  A strong EVP builds employee engagement, telling them how you’ll recognise their contribution and provide long-term job satisfaction.

Five steps to creating an EVP

It’s the $64,000 question: how do you create a killer EVP? Tackle the task in bite-size chunks with our Maverick crash course.

1. Decide who you want to attract

Before you do anything else, work out what sort of people you’re after. Think about all the different kinds of employees, their different skillsets and their target personas. You may need to segment your EVP statement according to groups, such as experienced hires and graduates.

2. Review what you currently offer

A typical EVP will span five key areas:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Career
  • Company culture
  • Work environment

You need to review what’s on offer at the moment, identifying strengths and weaknesses. Consider:

  • Salaries (and how they compare to competitors’)
  • Raises and promotions
  • Paid time off
  • Flexible working
  • Childcare and family
  • Healthcare
  • Wellbeing perks
  • Learning & Development
  • Any other benefits

You also need to analyse less concrete areas: career development, company culture and work environment. It’s crucial to get an accurate picture – and that means talking to current employees.

3. Ask your team

EVPs are only effective when they reflect the organisation accurately. To find out what your team members really think about your business, you need to carry out employee surveys or focus groups. Find out what they love about it, what motivates them, how they feel about career opportunities and whether they feel supported. What improvements would they like? How do they see the company? You also need to ask them about the other key EVP areas including rewards and benefits. Does your initial review tally up with employees’ experiences?

Other places to glean valuable insight include exit interviews, Glassdoor and candidate feedback given to recruitment consultancies. Got your data? This will form the building blocks of your EVP.

4. Define your EVP pillars

Take all the information you’ve gathered and begin grouping it into areas or pillars: financial rewards; professional development; and company culture and workplace. Think about the things your ideal employee wants, which you identified in step one.

5. Articulate your Employee Value Proposition

Here comes the tricky bit: writing your EVP statement. You need to refer to all your pillars, but make the statement inspiring, unique and concise. Think about what your organisation stands for, its workplace, values and vision. If you read the statement back and it could belong to any business, go back to the drawing board. Your EVP has to sum up what makes your particular organisation distinctive. Still stumped? Take a break and read about what we did for DHL (warning: incoming case study).

Get inspired

Need a few value proposition examples to jumpstart those brainwaves? Take a look at how the following household names have tackled the challenge.

A word of advice: don’t be tempted to crib these or anyone else’s Employee Value Proposition. EVPs have to come from within – you can’t cut and paste them.

Netflix is big on humanity, prioritising people over process. Its employer brand highlights its philosophy, with videos showing the reality of life at the streaming giant. The company’s cultural manifesto sums up its values (below). The result is a unique and powerful declaration that says ‘this is how Netflix rolls.’

  1. Encourage independent decision-making by employees
  2. Share information openly, broadly, and deliberately
  3. Be extraordinarily candid with each other
  4. Keep only our highly effective people
  5. Avoid rules

Airbnb exhorts its people to “Create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” The statement is supported by four core values – inclusivity, caring, support, and innovation – that describe what it’s like to work at the online rental giant. Airbnb puts its money where its mouth is by offering a slew of wellbeing and travel-friendly benefits, from paid volunteer time to annual travel and experiences credit.

PwC’s EVP is “Be well, work well”, which amps up the company’s focus on employees’ physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Dig down into PwC’s benefits and you’ll find access to mental health coaching, discounted gym memberships, a rewards programme, caregiver support and even a mentoring prorgamme connecting new and working mums.

How do you embed an EVP in a business?

Once you’ve established your pillars and your EVP statement, it’s time to put the whole lot into play. Your EVP should feature on all employee communications, both internal and external. Build your employer brand around it, translating the EVP across social media accounts, careers sites, blogs, newsletters, job ads and all recruitment materials. Then, go one step further and incorporate the EVP into daily operations: inductions, onboarding, reward and recognition schemes, policies and business plans. When employees feel that the EVP you’re selling matches their experience, they’re more likely to become ambassadors for your company – and that’s a game-changer. In a world where brands are all shouting for attention, word-of-mouth cuts through the noise effectively and persuasively.

How will you know if your EVP has been a success? Keep a close eye on the metrics. Signs that it’s working include an increase in job applications, lower staff turnover, more engagement on social media and an uptick in unsolicited CVs.

Companies can change quickly, so give your EVP a thorough review once a year to make sure it’s still relevant and reflecting your organisation. Periodic employee surveys can help you monitor team members’ thoughts on the EVP and what they’re looking for, so you can make improvements if necessary.

When an EVP is implemented clearly and consistently, it has the power to not only to attract and engage, but to unite employees around it. And when people feel an affinity for a company, something clicks, and amazing things happen. The problem is, only 31% of HR leaders think their employees are satisfied with the EVP. So, what about yours? Do you have one, and if so, is it working as hard as it should? If you’d like a hand from a team that’s created hundreds of EVPs for some of the biggest names around, we’re happy to help. Give us a shout. It only takes a second.