Employee Value Proposition: Why You Need One

Learn more about the meaning of an EVP, why employers need 1, what goes in it, and best practices for developing an EVP for your business.

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Employee Value Proposition: Why You Need One

In the wake of the Great Resignation, employers are prioritizing talent attraction and retention. Many are pulling out all the stops to secure the most talented people. One increasingly popular strategy is the employee value proposition (EVP).

This article explores the meaning of an EVP, why employers need 1, what goes in it, and best practices for developing an EVP.

What is an employee value proposition and how do you define it?

“An employee value proposition (EVP) is part of an employer’s branding strategy that represents everything of value that the employer has to offer its employees.” — Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“Everything of value” refers to the compensation, benefits, perks, incentives, and support systems an employer can provide, in exchange for optimal job performance. These are all components of an employer’s brand, which is central to talent attraction and retention.

Per SHRM, “Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.”

In simple terms, employer branding deals with how you market your organization to current and prospective employees. It is what shapes their perception of you as an employer. The employee value proposition falls squarely within this marketing strategy.

Per SHRM, “Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.”

Defining an EVP ranks in SHRM’s top 5 things to consider when developing an employer branding strategy. Here’s the order:

  1. Identify your company’s mission, vision, values, and culture.
  2. Perform internal research to measure how current employees and prospective candidates perceive the company.
  3. Conduct external research to gauge your competitive position within your industry.
  4. Define an EVP that clearly conveys the value of the employer brand you’re creating.
  5. Establish an employee marketing strategy that enables you to reach targeted applicants and consistently communicate the EVP to current employees.

Those are only some of the steps to building an employer brand. The point here is to demonstrate the importance of the EVP when crafting an employer brand strategy. In other words, employer branding and the EVP go hand in hand.

Why do organizations need an EVP to attract and retain workers?

If your branding strategy properly incorporates your EVP, employees and candidates are likely to view you in a positive light. This improves your chances of attracting and retaining talented people.

According to Gartner, companies that appropriately deliver on their EVP can reduce annual employee turnover by 69%. What’s more, an EVP can increase new hire commitment by 30%.

Gartner says employers can attract substantial talent plus bolster employee engagement by investing in a strong EVP. “For example, your organization can reduce the compensation premium by 50% and reach 50% deeper into the labor market when candidates view an EVP as attractive.”

As an employer, your reputation plays a gigantic role in your ability to attract and retain talent. HubSpot reports that 86% of workers would not work for or apply to a company with a poor reputation among prior employees or the general public.

A well-thought-out EVP can enhance your reputation — though keep in mind, this reputation should be positive in practice and not only in theory.

The statistics listed in this section are major incentives for employers to create and deliver an EVP. This is especially true if you’re having trouble finding, engaging, and keeping qualified people. At the end of the day, employees and candidates want to know what you can do for them. Your EVP allows you to show them just that.

Now that you know what an EVP is and why you need 1, let’s look at what it typically contains.

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What goes in an employee value proposition?

This depends on what your target candidates and current employees want and value, plus what you can afford to provide.

A successful employee value proposition may focus on the following:

  • Compensation — competitive wages/salary, fair and timely evaluations, raises, promotions
  • Benefits — paid time off, holidays, insurance, health, wellness, retirement, financial, education, family, flexibility
  • Career — training, feedback, development opportunities, mentorship, career advancement, job stability
  • Work environment — location, work-life balance, autonomy, recognition, employee responsibility, workplace safety, personal achievements
  • Culture — diversity and inclusion, equitability, communication, collaboration, healthy interpersonal relationships, social responsibility, support systems

Examples of real-life EVP statements

A strong employee value proposition has a compelling statement that sums up the EVP’s objective. Below are real-life examples, published in February 2022 by Workology.

HubSpot

“We’re building a company people love. A company that will stand the test of time, so we invest in our people and optimize for your long-term happiness.”

Goldman Sachs

“At Goldman Sachs, you will make an impact.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

“From empowering mentorships to customized coaching, PwC provides you with the support you need to help you develop your career. You’ll work with people from diverse backgrounds and industries to solve important problems. Are you ready to grow?”

Honeywell

“You can make a difference by helping to build a smarter, safer and more sustainable world.”

Another worthwhile entry is the EVP statement on Deloitte’s career website (as of this writing):

“Are you looking for more than a job? Do you want your work to create tangible, meaningful, and inclusive impact, both inside and outside the walls of your workplace? Sounds like we’ve got a lot in common. See how Deloitte can support your professional goals while advancing our shared values.”

What are the best practices for developing an EVP?

  • Understand the goal of the EVP, which is to attract target applicants and inspire employee loyalty. Therefore, your EVP should be written in a way that speaks to your specific organization and workers. It should stand out from your competitors by revealing what makes your company unique.
  • Survey your employees to know what matters to them the most. Although answers may vary, employee surveys can give you a general idea of what your employees want and need.
  • Perform exit interviews to uncover any shortcomings in your company that might have contributed to employees voluntarily leaving.
  • Examine your current offerings. Determine whether they accurately depict your current and future talent needs.
  • Test the EVP multiple times — through focus groups and employee surveys — prior to launching it.
  • Tailor the EVP to match the target candidates. For example, if the roles are entry-level, the EVP can cater to candidates who want to grow with the company. In this case, the EVP can highlight growth avenues for entry-level employees.
  • Make the EVP appealing to candidates and employees with in-demand skills. This way, it will likely be difficult for your competitors to nab them. For instance, if they want to collaborate on exciting or challenging projects, include those opportunities in your EVP.
  • Communicate the EVP to candidates and employees. Make it hard to miss. For example, talk about it on your career website, during job interviews, in your job offers, and on your social media pages.
  • Make sure candidates and employees know that the EVP is reciprocal — meaning they are expected to deliver in terms of performance.
  • Keep the EVP current by adding new programs periodically, based on the needs of your company and workers. Remove unnecessary or underutilized programs; this will help ensure investment in the right programs.

Considerations when changing and enforcing your EVP

One expert quoted in an SHRM article warns against making too many changes too frequently to the EVP. They caution, “If you try to change your stripes too much, a company might look like it has no identity.”

Another expert (from the SHRM article) says, “The most effective EVPs need to last awhile and become part of the organizational fabric.” Employers should hold themselves accountable to ensure they are enforcing their EVPs consistently and appropriately.

An EVP can help you attract, engage, and retain employees. But in the end, its success depends on your enforcement.

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