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How to create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

A strong EVP helps you attract and retain the right talent in your business.

October 1, 2019

Attract and retain the best talent for your organization with a strong employee value proposition

Attracting and retaining the right people and achieving consistently high performance is the holy grail for any business. Many factors work together to attain this, but a well-crafted and executed EVP is the foundation for building future success.

What is an EVP?

An EVP is a statement of intent that introduces the unique set of benefits an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities and experience they bring to a company. It’s about defining the essence of that company—how it is unique and what it stands for.

A strong EVP is a unique and balanced proposition between both parties. It could be thought of as a deal struck between what the employee wants and what the company provides.

The benefits of defining a clear EVP

A well-crafted and executed EVP can deliver many benefits to a company:

  • Competitive advantage. A strong EVP is an opportunity to showcase to the market why your company is a great place to work
  • Attraction. Its unique set of benefits and compelling proposition attracts more like-minded individuals aligned to the culture, realizing greater positive performance gains according to a Forbes article on company culture as a performance driver
  • Retention. According to research by Link Humans, an EVP can improve new hires' commitment by up to 29% and decrease annual turnover by 69%. In monetary terms, the cost of getting a hire wrong can be significant, with some research (cited in an article on TINYpulse) reporting that this cost can be up to 20% of an employee's annual salary. Taking time to create a clear value proposition and confirm alignment with the person you hire could significantly mitigate this risk of turnover and save time and money on rehiring
  • Advocacy and Engagement. The more aligned employees are to the company and what it stands for, the more likely they are to engage with and promote it. An effective EVP can increase employees' likelihood of acting as sponsors from an average of 24% to 47%, according to the above research by Link Humans

Creating and executing your EVP

Start by understanding existing perceptions within the company (perhaps through a survey or focus group) to make sure your EVP aligns with those it currently impacts. Many leaders often create their EVPs in a boardroom away from the people on the floor, which creates a disconnect between their ideals and the reality of their business.

Once you understand and define the 'status quo', spend time determining your key selling points, which typically include:

  • Company Overview
  • Culture
  • Mission, Vision and Values
  • Career Progression
  • Training and Development
  • Relationships (including company structure, team dynamic, how they're built)
  • Any other factors that make your company unique or different

Make your EVP short and visual so it's easy to share.

Once you have an EVP, communication is critical. Start by sharing it with your existing employees. Use all available communication channels and confirm that all potential new recruits and hiring managers are familiar with the EVP.

Remember: the EVP is a living and breathing document. After creation and communication, keep it up to date through regular reviews.

Common pitfalls and things to remember

Potential and current employees want to feel good about the place that they work, but it is important to understand your target audience and what engages them whilst being true to the company's ethos.

  • Be inspirational but not aspirational. According to Michelle Hord, VP at NBC Universal '[the EVP] shouldn't be a goal, it should be an experience that [you] can talk to candidates about and 100 days after they [join the company], they can confirm it'
  • Know your audience. It's wise to be inclusive but difficult to be 'all things to all people', so be clear on who you are targeting and align your EVP accordingly. Fostering engagement only with Gen-Z or millennials, for example, might not engage valuable candidates further along in their career journey
  • Talent Acquisition (TA) must 'walk the walk'. A TA team is often the first touch point a candidate has with a company, so it is key that these teams reflect the EVP in their interactions. Prospective candidates will use social media before applying for a job, so making sure online content aligns with the EVP is key for brand integrity
  • Money is important, but it's not the only thing. It is often tempting to wow candidates by disclosing salary and bonus potential, but when you put the employee value factors ahead of the financial ones, you are more likely to attract and retain the right person. The money might attract them to the role, but culture and opportunity will help retain them

Workforce attraction and retention is one of the hardest jobs in any business and is not an exact science. However, creating and implementing an authentic company EVP is one major factor in doing it well.