Why Your Employee Value Proposition Isn't a Silver Bullet for Employer Branding

Why Your Employee Value Proposition Isn't a Silver Bullet for Employer Branding

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EVP stands for employee value proposition. It can be thought of as what it means to work at a certain company; a combination of physical, psychological and functional factors that make working at Company X different to (and perhaps better than) working at Company Y. It’s a means of comparison, and one that an increasing amount of top talent is utilising to choose their next employer.

A lot of employer branding teams see the EVP as the be all and end all of their work. And it’s easy to see why.

As employer branding has found its feet over the last 12 years, organisations have begun to compete intensely for the engagement, acquisition and retention of talent. It has become a noisy space, and one where an organisation can struggle to distinguish itself.

What makes a good EVP?

Packaging your proposition up into a perfectly blended EVP that aligns to your corporate brand is a way to cut through that noise. But there are good EVPs and there are average EVPs.

A year ago I was doing some research on organisational messaging, looking specifically at the banking sector. I couldn’t work out whether I’d want to work with Company X versus Company Y, because they all looked the same and said exactly the same things: we’re agile, innovative, diverse, inclusive. There was little to no distinction. Consistency in your own EVP is great, but you don’t want to be consistent with your competitors’ EVPs, because you won’t cut through the noise.

Credibility is essential in an effective EVP. You need to share genuine stories from current employees.

These stories need to feature a tangible sense of lived experience, because talent can recognise authenticity in messaging, content and tone of voice. If a current employee goes to your careers page and doesn’t recognise what they see, your credibility instantly slips, and the effects will stretch far beyond your four walls.

The secrets to a consistent and effective EVP

It’s important to understand that your EVP is just a small part of your overall employer branding strategy. A lot of people announce the launch of their EVP as if it’s the end point of their employer branding efforts. But in some ways employer branding is like the heartbeat of your organisation – it always needs to be beating away, and you’ll face serious consequences if it stops. Employer branding is never ‘done’.

Employer branding will evolve with your organisation, through pivots, growth, expansions and acquisitions. This also means that you should regularly evaluate your EVP.

Is it still credible? Is it realistic? Does it mean something to your current team?

Keep examining and testing it with all stakeholders: your leadership, your team and the candidates that it’s aimed at.

Measuring the effectiveness of your EVP

Measuring the effectiveness of your EVP is vital, but how do you examine and test such a seemingly subjective thing?

A good EVP is a microcosm of a good employer brand strategy, in that it will touch every part of the hiring journey: awareness, attraction, consideration, through to the in-team experience, and finishing with an employee leaving.

Let’s look at the top of the funnel. Useful EVP metrics at this point might include:

  • Website visits
  • Employer reputation (Glassdoor)
  • EB content engagement
  • Visitor/viewer drop-off points (webpages, points of an EB video)

EVP is not a HR exercise. It's a business-first effort, and as such, it has to work for the organisation. Your measurements can’t just be recruitment related, but should extend beyond the hiring process, to retention and even offboarding.

The true measure of the quality of your EVP can be summed up like this: how does your company want to be seen, and how is it really seen? In tangible terms, how does your EVP describe the experience of working for your company, and what does a (somewhat) objective third party like Glassdoor say the reality is?

A good EVP is one that is aspirational and sells the dream while being grounded in reality.

Leveraging a good EVP throughout the EB journey

To know your EVP is to know yourself.

If you’ve done a proper evaluation, your organisation should be able to talk about its USPs in an objective way. You should be able to tell prospective employees how you work, and what they need to do to thrive in your company.

By being specific with these things, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and better retain your current team. It can even help with productivity if the right messaging is used.

Developing, maintaining and delivering on an EVP is a group effort that extends far beyond the employer branding team.

An organisation should work to ensure seamless collaboration between media relations, marketing, employee communications, employee experience, HR and talent acquisition teams.

Do all that, and you’ll be well on your way to using your EVP as it is meant to be used – not as your one and only EB strategy or the be all and end all, but as a super effective tool at your team’s disposal.

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