In the competitive job market, employers must do more than ever to convince potential candidates that they are the organization worth investing in. It is no longer enough to pay on time and provide free coffee. A good company needs to present itself as a complete, interesting entity that offers a wide array of benefits.

A crucial element of this approach is an EVP - Employer Value Proposition. This term is commonly misunderstood or at least conflated slightly with things like Employer Branding. I think it deserves a broader explanation. Essentially EVP is a palette of value-based promises that the employer makes towards the workforce. It is what makes that particular employer unique, and should ideally be reflected in daily life at the company. EVP is, therefore, one of the elements that factor into the decision-making process of potential candidates and current employees. Let us focus on the particular elements that make or break the EVP in most companies!

Why even have an EVP?

First of all, all companies have an Employer Value Proposition - the difference is how formally they express it and in what form. But in general, I think it is a good idea to have a concrete, transparent list of your EVPs, and I would like to expand on the why question.

  • EVP gives you broader awareness of your strengths and weaknesses as an organization. It is pretty hard to get a birds-eye view of the company we are deeply engaged in, which makes it easier to miss potential issues and identify advantages over the competition. The process of creating EVP forces you to look at your organization through the lens of potential candidates and current employees, giving you valuable insight into that what is usually obscure.
  • Having a well targeted and realistic Employer Value Proposition makes you a more attractive employer. It allows you to quickly present what you believe to be your strongest suit and informs your communication efforts - especially external.
  • EVP allows you to present the benefits of your company that do not require high financial input from your side. The Proposition does not refer to what we commonly understand as benefits, like sports card or remuneration. Instead, it focuses deeply on non-monetary aspects of your offer, like company culture, values, mission and structure. Those can be important parts of your company positive image without a large investment.
  • A written-down EVP is a good guide for your communication where none was present. Multiple companies we’ve worked with do not have a complete and specific communication policy (both external and internal), often because of lack of certainty in how they would even go about such task. EVP is essentially a tailor-made set of ideas on how to communicate what to whom, and where.
  • EVP can possibly lower your employment and recruitment costs - when prospects are engaged well by your EVP, the candidates are internally more motivated to join you - and possibly, for less. In this regard, EVP facilitates becoming a real employer of choice if done correctly.
  • Finally, a well-crafted EVP can serve as an additional motivator for your current workforce, who then, in turn, are one of the best tools for finding more future talent through personal referrals.

What makes a good EVP?

It should be… true

There is hardly a more disappointing situation than a company that brags about its make-up and the values it professes but critically fails to deliver. Smart employees see through false declarations in next to no time. A good example is organizations that on the face of it declare an open communication policy, only for you to discover innumerable barriers to information and opinion sharing when it is actually needed. This can rightfully lead to disillusionment, which in turn has a negative effect on the whole company image at best - and at worst, can impact a decision on a job change or to pick competition over you.

It should be… achievable

The employer needs to uphold his/her promises, period. The values offered must be well-aligned with business goals, and it is directly the employers' responsibility to facilitate life in a company in such a way, that fulfilling EVP is natural and easy. This should also include all the resources needed to reach the chosen goals.

It should be… consistent

While EVP does not have to be carved on stone tablets, it should nonetheless be consistent in time with what your company really is and should not fluctuate wildly. Your company does change through time and EVP must evolve as well. However, as with most aspects of good management, too frequent changes sap the focus from the process. It also simply makes it harder to deliver results in changing time.

It should be… unique and attractive

The main goal of EVP is to make the company more desirable in the eyes of job market participants. To make this a reality, a company should positively stand out from the competition. To do this, a company must provide things that the rivals do not. Truth be told, in the era of globalization of the world economy this is a real challenge. Thousands of companies in your business environment strive to be the ones who stand out. To provide value to your employees you need to know them well, as senior managers will look for diametrically different things than recent graduates. EVP should also simply evoke positive feelings and associations among the target group.

What can go wrong?

As with every process, working on your company value proposition carries some risk. Most importantly, if your EVP does not reflect the reality of where the rubber meets the road - it can scare off potential prospects from your company and lower engagement of your current staff. Additionally, it directly impacts company long-term perception and believability.

How to go about defining your EVP?

An Employer Value Proposition lays on the crossroads of three elements. First, what the company is today, what it would like to be, and finally - how its environment perceives it. Crafting EVP requires a deep look into the company’s inner workings and its current situation. You need to know what it does and in which way, and what values the company wants to espouse. From an outsider perspective, it is what a company actually communicates outwards. After analyzing the broad situation and culture, list the aspirations and what elements should change for the full result to be achieved. Finally, let your current workforce give you feedback on the insights collected. It is their collective opinion of the EVP that is probably more valid than that of the manager him/herself. A good EVP is a direct result of this analysis and fulfills the above-mentioned criteria.

What do you think of EVP and how does it look in your company?