How to Develop an Employee Value Proposition That Will Turn You Into an Employer of Choice

September 11, 2020
by Damian Keane

Are you already familiar with the concept of employee value proposition? We hear you. Skip directly to our 5-step action plan, and get to work on developing an attractive EVP that will draw in your ideal candidate like a binge-worthy Netflix show draws in people stuck in a lockdown.


Not sure how having a fleshed-out EVP can help your business? Start from the beginning — we’ll let you in on the cost-cutting & profit-boosting secrets of a strong EVP.

Just ten years ago, the top concern of any business was getting the sale — the war was on for customers. In 2020, the battle is on for the best employees… and the battlefield is brutal.

In this battle, your most effective weapon is a strong and attractive employer brand.

That’s your reputation as an employer. 

It’s what you communicate through your comp and benefits packages, corporate culture, and recruitment communication and efforts. In short, it’s what your employee value proposition (EVP) projects out into the job market.

A strong and well-thought-out EVP allows you to stand out in the job market (and saves you money in the long-run):

  • with an attractive EVP, an organisation can reach 50% deeper into the labour market, even when reducing their compensation premium by half;
  • delivering on the EVP can reduce annual turnover by around 70%, and strengthen new hire commitment by 30%;
  • in organisations with a strong EVP, current employees act as sponsors and mentors to new hires (47%), facilitating better integration and retention. 
Sources: Gartner & LinkHumans

Itching to learn how you can make your EVP work harder for you?

To find out how to line up the best possible people for your interviews, and to keep your top performers happy? 

The answers to all those questions are in this post so let’s dig right in.


What is the Employee Value Proposition

Wikipedia defines employee value proposition as: “a set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization.”

That’s a bit dry, but true.

Your EVP is both that and the optics of that — what you offer to your new and current employees, and how well you communicate that through your recruitment advertising, employee advocacy, and employer branding social media campaigns.

“Your employee value proposition is a compellingly clear answer to the burning question that’s on the mind of every candidate at the top of their professional game: “why should I work for this company?” You need to know how to answer this without immediately defaulting to money or benefits. This is your brand’s promise of who you are as an employer — there should be more to it than fat bonus checks and corporate lunches”.

Koen Stevens, CEO, Ambassify

Notice how both Wikipedia and Ambassify’s own Koen Stevens talk about ‘sets of associations and offerings’ and downplay the role of money in an effective EVP?

That’s because money and perks don’t play much of a role for most candidates (especially millennials) when compared to the other four categories that shape the EVP.

Rewards - is your remuneration package in line with what your competitors are offering for similar positions? Is it in line with industry averages, especially for the location where you’re hiring? [Components: salary, bonuses, equity, health insurance, holiday scheme, paid sick leave, retirement benefits, fitness benefits, company-sponsored meals, etc.]

Work - are you doing a good job matching people to job descriptions? Are you delivering the work-life balance that the candidates are expecting? [Components: overall workload, communication, manager-employee relationships, recognition, work-life balance, etc.]

Organisation - how do your company values compare to those of your ideal candidate? Does the overall goal of the company inspire potential candidates to do great work? What about your company culture? [Components: collaboration, transparency, trust, organisational support, organisational values, personal-company goals alignment, etc.]

Opportunity - are your current employees satisfied with internal opportunities? How much are you investing in training and professional development? [Components: advancement opportunities, paid training, company-sponsored seminars, paid-for industry conferences, subsidised personal growth, etc.]

People - are you attracting those people who are a cultural fit for your organisation? Do employees feel connected to their peers? Are they forming friendships? [Components: relationships between peers, peer-to-peer support system, value alignment between colleagues, organised team-building, etc.]

What Are the Core Benefits of a Strong Employee Value Proposition

Yes, EVP can look like a lot of extra work, especially if you’re already swamped with more pressing HR obligations (engagement work, organising different training sessions, and similar).

After all, you advertise a vacancy, get through a couple of interviews, and poof… someone gets hired.

But, are you hiring the right person for the job (and the culture)?

Fine-tuning your EVP now will save you time and money in the future because it’s going to remove that ambiguity from the equation. Every time you hire someone, you’ll be 100% sure that you’ve made the best possible choice in a barrel-full of qualified candidates.

The benefits of a strong EVP are:

  • Competitive advantage - want to stand apart from your competitors on the job market? Make sure your EVP is the talk of the industry. There’s a reason you’re not seeing people talking about Yandex… it’s all Google, all the way.

  • Broader reach - landing on a few “Employer of Choice” lists (and there are plenty online) will result in free publicity, such as mentions in industry journals and on social media sites.

  • Stronger attraction - you’ll likely halve the time needed to find a perfect candidate for any of your openings. In part, that’s because you’ll get a bunch of unsolicited resumes every other day. Mostly, though, it’s because you will attract those candidates who are a good fit.

  • Higher retention rates - back-to-back candidate interviews will become the thing of the past. Unless your organisation is growing rapidly, you won’t have the need to hire that often because your employee churn rate will remain low and stable throughout the year.

  • Improved employee advocacy - you’ll see an increase in employee advocacy once you build a strong employer brand based on a thought out EVP. A great company-employee fit = a satisfied employee = an employee that wants to brag about you. It’s as simple as that (and it’s going to save you a lot of marketing money).

[Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Advocacy]


5 Steps to Creating a Compelling Employee Value Proposition

Now that we’ve identified why your EVP is important, it’s time to take a look at how you can build one that will work for your organisation.

Generally, you’ll want to follow these five steps (especially if you don’t have a codified EVP right now):

  • analyse your current EVP (and confirm it with your employees)
  • create the avatar of your ideal candidate;
  • develop key components of your new EVP  (based on ideal candidate persona);
  • craft your EVP statements & messaging (don’t forget to segment);
  • market and promote your EVP to the right audiences.

Let’s start with the analysis of your current EVP.


What Are You Offering Right Now (& What Your Employees Have to Say About That)?

Never even thought about your EVP until you heard about the concept a few weeks back?

That’s okay — the good news is that your organisation still has one. The bad news? It’s likely not the one you’re hoping for.

When you don’t put in an effort in creating an EVP (and the kind of a workplace that attracts the people you’re looking to hire) from day one, the first step is identifying where you stand with your employer brand.

Start by going through five EVP categories mentioned above: rewards, work, organisation, opportunity, and people. 

Take a hard, long look at all the components, create a checklist, and self-assess. 

Give yourself points for those components you’re crushing, like having an above-average compensation and benefits plan that keeps your employees satisfied and happy. That said, don’t forget to factor in negative points for the components you’re missing or not doing enough to ace (like not offering paid leave or not continuously training your line managers).

[Recommended reading: What’s the Difference Between Satisfaction & Employee Engagement]

Also, don’t skip current and past employees interviews during this process. Often, management feels they’re doing relatively good in some areas only for those to turn out to be wildly unpopular with employees. Interviews will quickly set the record straight. They’ll give you a chance to ask more probing questions to see what’s motivating your top-performers to stay (and what caused past employees to leave):

Here are some of the questions that you can use during EVP research interviews:

  • Do you like working here and why?
  • What would inspire you to engage more?
  • What’s your biggest work-related need right now?
  • How can the company support you in achieving your professional goals?
  • Could we have done more to keep you in the company?
  • What’s the single, most important change you’d like to see?

Once you’re done with the checklist and the interviews (and you have everything written down), it’s time to move to step #2 — fleshing out the avatar of your ideal hire.


Define the Ideal Candidate for Your OrganiZation

What is EVP-01

Essentially, the profile of your ideal candidate is like a blueprint of the person that you would hire in a heartbeat.

They can more than handle the responsibilities of the job; their personal values are in sync with company values; they’re a perfect match for the company culture and your current employees.

When creating a candidate profile, the more personal you get, the more valuable it’s going to be. 

This means not focusing purely on demographics and education but also trying to figure out what your ideal candidates like, how they think, and what makes them tick. 

Here are a couple of ultra-specific candidate qualities that a fast-growing, egalitarian SaaS company might find desirable:

  • not afraid to voice an unpopular opinion
  • dislikes the traditional, lengthy review process
  • plans ahead but doesn’t rigidly stick to plans
  • knows when to bend the rules to get results
  • always learning something new (skill or software)

What is EVP [Recovered]-08

As you’re mapping out the qualities of your ideal candidate, think about where you can usually find them. Are they hanging around in Facebook groups, giving advice to industry newbies? Or are they rubbing elbows with other professionals at industry conferences? Knowing this will help you when the time comes to market your employee value proposition.


Map Out the Key Components of Your EVP

Now that you know your current EVP and you have an outline of your ideal candidate, you can start reconciling those two things.

Keep an eye on the information you’ve gathered in previous steps when answering the following questions:

  • What’s most important to our ideal candidate - salary and benefits, career advancement opportunities, or alignment with company values?
  • What do we need to change in our current EVP to get closer to what our ideal candidate is looking for?
  • What’s an approximate salary range/type of benefits that our ideal candidate would find attractive?
  • What type of work environment does this person find stimulating and engagement-driving?

Once you have the answers, see how closely you can match your EVP to candidate expectations. At a minimum, match career growth, development, and work environment expectations since younger candidates value those more than money or benefits (but make rewards a non-issue by staying within industry averages)

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to check all the boxes; that won’t matter as long as you focus on improving those components that your target audience values the most.

What is EVP-02


Craft Your EVP Statements & Messaging (Segment When Appropriate)

Distilling your EVP to a single sentence is hellishly difficult so don’t even try to do it. Stick to saying as much as you need to say to get your message across.

For example, Human Interaction, a dev agency, keeps it short but homes in on the important bits right after the first sentence.

What is EVP-03

What are they really saying there?

Well, #1 — they’re no strangers to grabbing a beer after work. Also, candidates can expect first-class benefits on top of being competitively paid.

And #2 — who you are and how you do your job matters at Human Interaction. You either bring your A-game or you stay at home. Also, you’re expected to check your ego at the door.

But Human Interaction knows that they won’t have a chance to hire people at the top of their game every single time. And, they know they’ll have a need for those candidates who are just entering the job market. That’s why, on their Careers page, they speak directly to potential interns:

What is EVP-04

When hiring for specific positions, segmenting your EVP is often the key to attracting the right candidates. You’ll still want to stick to your overall theme but also tailor your messaging to resonate with those audiences that would be the best fit for the role.

  • interns/recent graduates EVP - emphasise learning opportunities, career advancement, and how great this job experience would look on their resume.

  • leadership roles EVP - experienced professionals will appreciate challenging and fun projects, organisational support, and a flexible work environment.
  • independent work EVP - hiring writers, designers, and others with a creative bend? Centre your messaging around a not-so-serious work environment and flexible hours.

Before we move on to marketing and promoting your EVP, here are a few examples from the world’s top organisations that you can use as an inspiration when putting pen to paper.

What is EVP-06

Notice something interesting here? Not a single mention of compensation and benefits in any of these EVP statements. It really puts the overriding importance of other categories into perspective, right?

Promote Your EVP Using the Right Channels

So you’ve analyzed your current employee value proposition, identified where it falls short, and made changes that bring it more in line with what your ideal candidate expects.

Your next step is to promote the heck out of it by taking a two-pronged approach:

  • internal EVP promotion - make the changes known internally — use your newsletter, blog, careers web page, town hall meetings, and employee advocacy programs to get the word out to your current and past employees. If you have an employee advocacy program set up, don’t forget to create specific campaigns to encourage social media shares and referrals.
  • external EVP promotion - share your new, better, and bolder EVP with potential candidates by taking the social media by storm. During the initial push, make sure to invest in paid promotion on those platforms that make sense (use your ideal candidate profile as a guide). Additionally, don’t forget to update your current job openings and your profiles on recruitment websites.

[Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Employer Branding]

What is EVP-05-05

Once you’ve gone through the lengthy process of creating a new, targeted EVP, create as many touchpoints with it as possible throughout your recruitment process. You want it to be visible to passive job seekers, potential candidates, and your current employees because that visibility will make your company more recognisable and more attractive.


Unleash the Power of Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) With Ambassify

Don’t be mistaken - every time your company publishes a job opening, the race is on.

Who will your ideal candidate choose — you or one of your competitors? And will your opening even register on their radar?

Well, it all comes down to how strong your employer brand is, and how much thought and effort you’ve put into building up your employee value proposition.

And when it comes to promoting those two things (both internally and externally), there’s a way to supercharge your efforts. 

That’s where Ambassify comes in. By leveraging Ambassify’s built-in employer branding features, you can:

  • keep everyone informed about current job openings (segmented or company-wide)
  • create a tight-knit community of employee advocates who are active on socials
  • incentivise referrals, encouraging employees to recommend their best connections
  • quickly share brand-building information and initiatives by tapping into your advocates
  • reach deeper into the job market than with standard recruitment efforts

Take the first step towards a better, more magnetic employer brand by booking your Ambassify demo today (pick the day and time that suit you). Our experts will be more than happy to share brand-building and engagement-growing Ambassify tips with you.


Book Your Demo Tour With Us Today!


Heads up: LinkedIn Elevate is being discontinued. Are you currently using this platform for your employer branding, employee advocacy or employee engagement initiatives? Then Ambassify is the perfect LinkedIn Elevate Alternative for you.

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