Developing A Standout Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

There’s a saying in recruitment that your company is only as good as its worst employee. That’s because, at its heart, every business is about the people that show up every day, and how willing they are to put 100% into delivering your company mission. Nothing is more vital than ensuring you have a strong and committed team, that believes in everything you stand for and your vision for the future. That’s where your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) comes in.

What does EVP mean?

Your EVP is the unique set of benefits an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to your company. It’s about defining the essence of your brand: what makes you stand out amongst your competitors? What will make prospective candidates excited to receive a job offer from you in particular? EVP encompasses the central reasons any employee would be proud to work for your company. This should include an inspiring culture, a unique vision, and an exciting mission statement your team can get behind. It’s crucial to ensure your EVP is relevant, unique, and compelling. When fully integrated into every area of your business, a powerful EVP will enable you to attract the very best external talent, and retain your top performers. In addition, it will help to inspire customer loyalty, and add shareholder value. The results speak for themselves; research indicates than an effective EVP leads to a 21% increase in profitability, and a 28% reduction in employee turnover. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best ways to craft an EVP that will set your company apart from the competition. 

Understanding existing attitudes

Building a company culture is something that shouldn’t come solely from your business leaders, although that is a mistake many companies make. For established businesses, it should come from the team members living and breathing your company values. In order to develop a compelling EVP, you need to understand the perceptions of your existing staff members. For example, it’s helpful to ask:

  • Why are candidates attracted to your company?
  • What do your existing employees think sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What do they like most about working there?
  • What makes them stay?
  • What compels them to leave?

The answers to these questions should be gathered through anonymous employee surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, and feedback from job applicants. Note that for startups, this process will of course look slightly different. You’ll need to start from scratch, and think about the kind of culture and working environment the founding team would like to build. As you establish your team, you’ll need to ensure you’re regularly gathering the above information from your employees, to ensure your EVP is developing in a manner everyone’s happy with. 

Defining your EVP

Now you understand the existing perceptions of your company, it’s helpful to build a cross-functional team to review the research you conducted and determine which aspects of your business that people value most. You also need to take a look at the disparity between how people currently feel about your company, and how you want them to feel. Then, you’ll need to determine exactly what you want to be known for as an employer. 

You should be asking yourself the following questions:

What do you expect from your employees?

A good EVP will detail exactly what you need your team to do in order to drive the business and meet customer needs. Think about how you expect employees to act, the values you want them to embody, and how you’d like them to treat one another. 

What are your business needs?

Although you’ll already have a good understanding of this, it’s a good idea to consider it thoroughly in order to understand the type of external talent you’re looking to attract. What kind of service do you want to deliver? How do you want your customers to feel when they’re interacting with your brand?

What do employees and candidates want in an employer?

Here, you’ll need to ask yourself some honest questions. What are you currently not offering that you could be? Why have previous employees left? What can you offer that your competition does not? For startups, try to think about the qualities you would want in an employer: why have you left previous companies and decided to go it alone? Which workplace factors have you valued most in the past?

What do you stand for as a business?

Employees like to know they’re working for a company with strong ethics and values. They also want to feel that they’re individually cared for and looked after, and that they’re working within a strong culture that welcomes honesty and diverse thought. If you haven’t set out your company values, now’s the time to do it. 

Where do you want to go in the future?

A successful EVP will support your business strategy, and will help you identify the specific skills, experience, and knowledge required to execute it. If there’s no connection between your strategic vision and the required personal attributes, it’s difficult to be successful in sourcing and retaining the people you need. Additionally, current and prospective employees want to be inspired by your vision, so they’ll be keener to stay on board long-term, and persist through challenging times.

What makes you different to your competitors?

Recent research looked at which workplace characteristics had the greatest potential to differentiate one employer from another. At the top of the list were: a workplace that’s fun, flexibility, and has above average pay and benefits. As most workplaces offer flexibility these days, consider what can really set you apart. For instance, here at GR4, all our team members enjoy every Friday afternoon off with no reduction in salary.

After you’ve defined your EVP, write out your thoughts in succinct, uncomplicated language. You should highlight exactly what’s most important to current and prospective employees, along with what you offer that’s unique in your market. Although it’s tempting to exaggerate, your EVP should truthfully represent exactly what it’s like to work at your organisation. This will help to ensure you attract people whose expectations are met, rather than those who are attracted by the message but disillusioned by the reality.

What’s the link between employer branding and EVP?

From its inception, every company has a reputation. Well before any applicant becomes aware of your organisation as a potential employer, they’ll gather information about your company from social media, news, internet searches, acquaintances, and other touch points. As soon as your company launches and starts onboarding employees, you have an employer brand whether you realise it or not, based on the way your organisation is viewed as a place to work by prospective, current, and former employees. This reputation is known as your brand, and it’s a powerful and synergistic force; according to LinkedIn research, candidates are twice as likely to consider a job offer from a company with a strong brand. In an age of social media and platforms such as glassdoor, happy employees are your loudest speakerbox. People who love the job they do and the place they work are likely become advocates for it – and the opposite applies too. Therefore, the next time you need to bring a new team member on board, attracting applicants will be easy – good people know good people. It’s easy to see then, how your employer brand is intrinsically linked to your EVP. 

How can a recruitment agency help with EVP?

  • Recruiters can be your strategic ally in bringing your candidate experience to life. They can work with you to fine-tune your company’s brand and present it to prospective employees, as well as help to manage your reputation. 
  • They can help you to develop brand-specific language, as well as to establish a mission and value set for your company that are steadfast and simple. 
  • Recruitment consultants possess a unique insight into the minds of people who would consider working in a company like yours. Speaking with them every day, they have an intimate understanding of their likes, dislikes, what they expect in terms of benefits, remuneration, and much more. Access to this information can work greatly to your advantage, and help you to fine-tune your EVP and employer branding accordingly. 
  • One of the most important parts of your EVP should be your onboarding process, and the experience your candidates have within the first 90 days. Recruitment consultants can work with you to streamline this process, and ensure you’re providing new employees with an experience which falls in line with their expectations. 
  • Job posts are often the very first contact candidates have with your company, so it’s absolutely vital to get them right. Recruiters are well-versed in expertly crafting job descriptions, in order to show off everything your company has to offer. 
  • Every day, recruiters work alongside many companies with fantastic, well-developed EVPs, who have no trouble attracting candidates. They can therefore be fantastic guides to help you to develop yours, and can coach you through the process. This is particularly important for startups, who may be unsure where to begin – not to mention short on time and resources. 

Here at GR4, we work hand-in-hand with startups as well as more established tech ventures within Berlin and beyond to help them attract, onboard, and retain the very best talent. Get in touch with one of our experienced consultants today through our contact form.

Download our complete recruitment guide for startups here.

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