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How to create an Employee Value Proposition

In this article we explore the concept and creation of an EVP and how having one will benefit your business.

Attracting and retaining the right people and achieving consistently high performance is the holy grail for any business. There are many factors which must work in harmony in order to attain this but starting with a well-crafted and executed Employee Value Proposition is the foundation upon which future success is built.

So, what is an Employee Value Proposition?

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.
It could be thought of as a deal struck between what the employee wants and what the company provides and, when done well, it should be a unique and balanced proposition between both parties.

The benefits of defining a clear EVP

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

Competitive advantage – it’s an opportunity to showcase to the market why your company is a great place to work.
Attraction – with a unique set of benefits and compelling proposition, the ability to attract like-minded individuals who are aligned to the culture becomes greater and positive performance gains can be realised. 
Retention – It is reported that an EVP can improve the commitment of new hires 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 reporting that it can be up to 20% of an employees’ annual salary. Taking time to ensure there is a clear value proposition and alignment with the person you hire could significantly mitigate this risk of turnover and save time and money on re-hiring.
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 the likelihood of employees acting as sponsors from an average of 24% to 47%.

Creating and executing your EVP

Start by understanding existing perceptions within the company (perhaps through a survey or focus group) to make sure that your proposition aligns with the those who it currently impacts. Many leaders often create their EVP’s in a boardroom away from the people on the floor and immediately create a disconnect between their ideals and the reality of the business they work in. 
Once the ‘status quo’ is defined and understood, spend time determining your key selling points, typically these will fall under the following topics;

  • 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 makes your company unique or different.

Once you have a proposition then communication is critical. Make it short and visual and start by sharing with your existing employees. Ensure all available communication channels are utilised and that all potential new recruits and hiring managers are familiar with the proposition. 
Remember, the EVP should be a living and breathing document that after creation and communication should be reviewed and improved regularly to keep it up to date.

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 proposition accordingly. Fostering engagement only with Gen-Z or millennials might not engage someone further along in their career journey.  
  • Talent Acquisition (TA) must ‘walk the walk’ – A TA team are 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 but to stay in the role, culture and opportunity need to be a match too.

Attraction and retention of a workforce is one of the hardest jobs in any business and is not an exact science. However, taking steps to create and implement an authentic company EVP is one major factor in doing it well.