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5 things you need to do before defining your EVP

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Deciding to create an EVP for your business is a great step – you’re already on your way to improved recruitment, higher employee engagement and greater retention.

But before you jump in and start creating your EVP, here are five things you can do to lay good foundations. Without them you could spend time and money creating an EVP that doesn’t reflect you as a company – and doesn’t do the job you want it to do.

…Understand what an EVP is for

First up, your EVP isn’t a magnet. Its purpose isn’t simply to attract more people to apply for your roles – that would result in a high number of applications but wouldn’t improve your recruitment or retention, because you might be hiring the wrong people. Think of it more like a filter – a way to encourage the right people to apply while deterring those who are not suitable for the role or your company. That way, your conversion rates for applicants will go up, your cost-per-hire will go down and – most importantly – your retention rates will soar.

…Know the difference between an EVP and an employer brand

It sounds obvious, but before you start defining your EVP you need to know what it is. Here’s a clue: it’s not your employer brand, although the two are inextricably linked. Your employer brand is about how you present yourself as an employer to the world. It’s the reputation your company has as a place to work and how your people might describe what it’s like to work there. You could think of it like a window.

Your EVP, on the other hand, is what your employees get in return for working for you – a ‘give and get’ approach. It’s unique to your organisation and embodies what’s special about working for you. You could think of it like a door.

…Be real

To develop a strong EVP, you need to be realistic. As much as you think you know what your company stands for, you won’t really understand it unless you ask the people who work there.

To find out what perceptions your existing staff have about your company, your brand and your culture – ask! You could set up focus groups or an internal survey that will tell you what attracted your employees to the company in the first place, what they value about working there and why they stay.

You can also ask them what they think makes the company unique and which attributes someone would need to enjoy working there.

The more you know about how your existing staff feel, the more accurate your EVP will be.

…Define the ‘get’

I talked about an EVP being a ‘give and get’ process. Well, before you start to create your EVP you need to be clear on what the ‘get’ actually is. And by this I don’t just mean the benefits and perks – although it’s great to outline those to future candidates.

I’m talking more about what personal and professional benefits your company has to offer. To do this, focus on finding your strengths as a business. Once you’ve identified a strength, understand how that could benefit a potential employee. For example, if your strength is that you have a diverse workforce, the benefit of that for the candidate is that they will work somewhere where everyone is accepted and there are many different ideas and perspectives.

…Understand your true culture

It’s all too easy to define your culture by thinking of one of your values and extrapolating it out to behaviour. But just because you value something doesn’t mean you’re living it out day to day. For example, you might value personal growth for your employees, but that’s a far cry from a culture where people are free to fail without blame.

Your culture is defined by the behaviours and attitudes you and your people display consistently day to day. It’s not what you’d like to be, what you think you should be or what you tell yourself you are. So be real. Talk to your employees about their experiences and find out what the culture is actually like in your business before you share it in your EVP.

In summary

Before you can define and shape your EVP, there’s work to be done. But by putting in the groundwork now you’ll reap even more benefits from sharing your unique message to the world.

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