A well crafted Employer Value Proposition can increase the commitment of your new hires by 50%.
It can also reduce the compensation premium that your company pays to hires by 50%, and increase your labor market penetration by 50%. Plus it can decrease annual employee turnover by about 70%.
The Employer Value Proposition, or EVP, posted on your website has a direct, quantifiable impact on the company’s bottom line. So how do you design one?
Why would anyone work for your company?
That is essentially the question that the Employer Value Proposition should answer.
Universum defines it as “the unique set of offerings, associations and values to positively influence target candidates and employees.”
It’s a blend of concrete elements and abstract concepts. It contains aspects of life at the company, information on the opportunities and advantages it offers, commonly shared values among its employees, and aspirations and goals for what the company wants to accomplish and stand for.
It also contains elements of the culture and work environment of the company, as well as a promise of positive impact on the career development of the employees. Some examples of what could go in the EVP are the reputation and prestige of the company, the location of the headquarters, the sense of community, or benefits that employees receive.
The right format for your Employer Value Proposition
The EVP can be displayed clearly in a section of the career page as a small paragraph, for example, or even just a few lines.
Your EVP could also be a full memorandum or a separate page with sections on different types of health, career, and social benefits. It can even simply be injected throughout the career page design, in the form of perks in the job descriptions, quotes or interviews with employees, or even statistics about positive aspects of the work environment, such as diversity, inclusion, community work, corporate responsibility initiatives, innovation…
The format is not as important as the message itself; as long as candidates coming to the career pages understand what advantages they would get from joining your company, the EVP has done its job.
Here is an example from Balfour Beatty...
A framework to design your Employer Value Proposition
The company’s EVP exists outside of the company website or the Talent Acquisition team’s whiteboard. All those elements we mentioned above (the culture, the values and brand, the perks and career opportunities) already exist in real life, but you need to properly identify and communicate them. That is why this exercise has to be collaborative.
1. Identify the informal components of the Employer Value Proposition
You can collect the different pieces of the company’s EVP by inviting employees from different departments to informal drop-in sessions or focus groups, for example. You can send out surveys, or analyze exit interviews and Glassdoor data. You might find out that people put value on a wide spectrum of things: the criteria to get promoted, the free daycare, the location of the offices, a rent subsidy in expensive cities, or even just a nice habit of socializing outside of work hours.
A good way to ensure you’re being comprehensive is to list 3 or 4 categories for the elements of the EVP, and brainstorm each one separately. You can use the framework below for a small workshop, for example, and collect suggestions from the attendees using sticky notes.
2. Identify the formal components of the Employer Value Proposition
Sometimes employees are not aware of initiatives that are in place but might not be communicated properly. Ask department leads and hiring managers about rewards and perks that they have in place, such as team events, internal competitions, regular recognition awards…
3. Package the EVP
The decision on how you package your EVP will depend on 2 things: what is your target audience? And what is the preferred communication style of the company?
The target audience will influence where the EVP should appear: on your career site somewhere, of course, but where else? If you feel that your current employees don’t have a good grasp of what the company’s EVP is, then it might be a good idea to share it in company internal comms. It could also have a place on your Glassdoor profile, or your Twitter page.
The communication style of the company will influence how the EVP is written. If your tone of voice is usually formal and detailed, a short, fun, and slightly self-deprecating EVP is totally wrong. The opposite is true: what would a serious manifesto look like on your career site is everything else is written with tons of embedded jokes and exclamation points?
4. Align with stakeholders
The rest of the organization is affected by what you choose to say in the EVP, so make sure to align with the relevant stakeholder before publishing anything. Make sure your promise matches the reality of the workplace, for example, and that you have the support of Marketing and Leadership in your message.
A word about culture
Part of designing the Employer Value Proposition is identifying the company’s culture. “Culture” is a tricky concept, and can become vague, hand-wavey and pretty much useless if not used right.
You should definitely ask employees to define the “culture” of their work environment, but for their answers to be anchored in reality, you need to also identify what tangible processes make that culture possible.
For example, if your workplace promotes family values and a balanced lifestyle, what supports that culture? A generous flex-time policy? Day care on the premises? The possibility to work from home?
A harder example to illustrate is honesty. Say your employees repeatedly mention that there is a culture of “honesty and integrity” in the work environment. What tangible process can you point at to illustrate this? Does it appear in formal employee reviews, for example? Do you have an employee engagement tool where people can point out and encourage “honest” behaviours ? Are hiring managers asked to give positive feedback when an employee is open about a delicate issue?
Culture is an intangible, but is definitely rooted in defined and tangible behaviours, systems, and processes. These tangible elements make the cultural dimension of the EVP much more authentic.
There are no shortcuts to a successful Employer Value Proposition. It’s a work that takes time and may need to be updated from time to time. It has to be authentic, and rooted in tangible things, to create the kind of bottom-line impact mentioned above. But it’s the kind of element that sets great companies apart, and makes them truly attractive to the right talent. In other words, well worth the effort.