What is an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)? by Mile Živković on Dec 12, 2018

As many employers have found out, attracting and retaining top talent takes much more than offering a salary and some benefits. In today’s economy, fields such as IT have a surplus of open positions and a lack of candidates and getting the right people to join your team can become a daunting task that takes months instead of weeks.

One of the ways you can become a more desirable employer is by working on your employer brand, as well as your employee value proposition (EVP).

Today, you’ll find out what an EVP is, what elements it contains and how you can develop it to attract more candidates.

What is an employee value proposition (EVP)?

When establishing your company and products/services, you probably got closely familiar with the term unique value proposition (UVP). It’s a set of characteristics that state how you solve your customers’ problems, what makes you unique and better than the competition.

Your employee value proposition (EVP) is similar, only instead of your products/services, it revolves around your desirability as an employer. It is a set of values that a company offers to a candidate in exchange for what the employee brings to the organization. Similar to employer branding, the EVP is complex and consists of a combination of different elements. Here are some of those elements and how they contribute to the overall EVP.

Salary

Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round. According to a Stack Overflow survey from 2018, the total compensation package (including the salary and benefits) is the highest in priority for candidates when they assess new jobs to apply for. Once this is further broken down, salary accounts for 70% of the total compensation package for potential job applicants.

On the surface, it may seem like salary is the main motivator for people to apply for jobs and stay in their positions. However, it’s just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to your employee value proposition.

It often happens that employees stick around in companies, their position and duties changing with the salary remaining the same. In reality, the employee could earn significantly more if they started out fresh in a new position with another company.

Benefits

When it comes to attracting new employees and retaining people, companies often create attractive benefits packages for this purpose. While being creative is good, it’s often not enough and what may seem like benefits to the employer can appear as practically worthless to the employees.

For example, you’ll often see the company provided meals or snacks and wellness memberships as benefits. In reality, only 1.4% and 1.5% of employees polled stated that these are important benefits in the workplace.

For some ideas on what really stands out as a benefit to employees, here are a few that actually make a difference:

  • Health insurance
  • Computer/office equipment allowance
  • Conference and education budget
  • Stock options
  • Parental leave

In the end, the ideal workplace benefits differ as much as employees differ among themselves. For example, for someone commuting to work by car, a dedicated parking space means quite a lot more than a foosball table in the lounge room. To create an attractive benefits package, make sure it’s customized to your industry, culture, workplace and the employees themselves.

Technology

If you’re working in IT, you know that technologies change at a rapid pace. One framework can be popular at a given moment and completely obsolete within a few months. One way to stay ahead of the competition and attract top talent is to stay in the loop when it comes to the latest technologies. For example, if you’ve set out to hire a new developer, they’ll be very interested in the language and framework you’re working in.

By keeping up with the latest trends in technology, you’re providing employees with an opportunity to follow the latest developments, learn new things and become a more valuable asset to your company.

Opportunity to grow

While some employees may be fine with starting out in a position and doing the same job in the foreseeable future, others may be looking for a more dynamic work environment. In other words, employees may want to see opportunities to move up in the ranks and get more responsibilities and income in the years to come.

Especially for startups, this can be a great employee value proposition. If a company cannot offer a great salary and benefits at the very beginning, they can present a clear plan of progress within the company ranks. For someone applying for a position of a growth marketer, the ability to move up the ranks, become a CMO and lead a team of marketers in the future can mean more than any other perks you can offer.

The industry

Not all industries and jobs were created equal. If you’re a medical researcher working a platform for sequencing DNA which will move the entire world of medicine forward and move one step closer to finding the cure for cancer, this is a great mission to have and it can be attractive for potential candidates as a motivator.

On the other hand, industries such as tobacco or pharma sales have seen a decrease in popularity in the past decades, and it can be more difficult to attract new candidates to these positions.

Company vision and mission

In his famous TED talk from 2009, Simon Sinek said the following: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it“. Using Apple as an example, Sinek tells a story of how focusing on why persuades buyers and creates the loyal following that Apple has as a brand.

disney mission page

Something similar can be applied to the relationship between an employer and employees. A strong vision and mission can go a long way – here are some examples of great mission statements that you can learn from.

The importance of an employee value proposition

The employee value proposition is the key foundation of a good employer brand. As we’ve discussed before, investing time and resources into your employer brand can set you apart from your competitors and attract top talent in your industry.

Having a solid employee value proposition can benefit you as an employer in more ways than one. First, it will attract better candidates to individual positions, since they will immediately know whether they’re a good fit or not. Second, a great EVP lifts your entire employer brand, making the company in general a more attractive place to work in.

How to develop your employee value proposition

If you’re behind a young startup just starting out, the founders can rack their brains and come up with an employee value proposition on their own – since they are the first to see what they want others to see. If your brand has been in existence for a while, consulting your employees to develop your EVP is a great idea. Primarily, employees need to ask themselves this question: why do I work for this company and why am I helping it achieve its mission? Here are some other things you can do.

Define a compelling answer to the question “Why should I work for you?“. Imagine that somewhere along the line, an applicant will ask you this very question. It may or may not happen, but be prepared to give an honest, heartfelt answer to what makes the company a great employer, besides getting a paycheck at the end of every month.

Ask your employees for feedback. Who’s better to answer the aforementioned question than people already working for you?

List your employer brand’s key ingredients. Write down everything that makes you stand out from the competition and makes your company a great place to work in – the things that make you unique.

Make sure the EVP is aligned with the type of employees you’re looking to hire. Ensure that the EVP you’re developing is geared towards the kind of people who want to work in your specific industry, company and position.

Create an EVP survey. As we’ve previously written in our employer branding guide, creating a survey and asking your employees what they think about your company is one of the most efficient ways to build your employer branding, as well as EVP. Here are some example questions you can use in such a survey.

  • What do you think about your salary? (overpaid/underpaid/adequately paid)
  • What perks matter the most to you? (pay special attention to parents)
  • What motivates you to perform well in your role?
  • What motivated you to apply and accept the role from our company?
  • How would you describe the company to an outsider?

Questions like these can help you develop your EVP from a fresh perspective and get your employees to do the bulk of the work – perhaps even discovering values you weren’t aware that you can advertise to potential candidates.

Conclusion

The employee value proposition is a key component of every employer brand and a necessary element to becoming an attractive employer. As the battle for top talent gets tougher in the years to come, those companies with a clearly defined EVP will stand out from the rest and attract better applicants with more than just salary and benefits.

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