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Flexing that EVP muscle - your best weapon in the war for talent

It’s easy to get confused by some of the HR terms we throw around so easily. “Employee value proposition”, or EVP, is one such. And “employer brand” is another. But surely if you’re bringing the two together in one place, they must be two sides of the same thing?

So you’d think. But in fact they’re complementary, but distinctly different - and equally interdependent. And if you’re not working them hard enough, you might be missing something very, very important.

In some ways, then, it’s as clear as mud. Both your employer brand and your EVP show the candidate whether he or she might be a good fit with your culture, and why they should hit that button and apply. But there are some clear differences.

Firstly, your employer brand is how you present yourself - outwardly - to the viewer, as an employer. It’s what people take in about what it’s like to work for you, to be part of your workforce, your team. What the culture is, the structure, the vibe. The progression opportunities, the workspace, the ethos, your mission, your plans for the future. All of it. Even the colours you use.

Your employer brand, then, is what you show the outside world, to attract the right kind of candidates, those with a good fit with your culture and your way of working, to be confident and intrigued enough to apply.

In contrast, your EVP comes from within. And it can’t be faked. It’s the real experience of working for you. And it comes first.

A well-defined, clearly-articulated EVP does many things. It connects people, increasing emotional contact. It’s beautiful! It builds your brand, and commitment among employees. It reinforces a competitive edge that is hard for competitors to imitate, and it grows employee referrals.

If your staff absolutely love the idea of the culture your employer brand portrays, but then find it surprisingly competitive or dull when they get there, or nothing like they understood from your campaigns, there’s something awry with your employer brand.

Your employee value proposition is the absolutely fundamental part of everything you stand for as a company. And it can’t simply be created. The EVP comes from within your organisation. It’s part of your DNA. It’s what employees themselves feel about being part of the business. It’s your company’s ‘why’, it’s why you offer something better than all the other options candidates might have.

It has to be clearly defined, and then led from the top. It’s what your organisation is. What the mission is, the culture, the long-term direction. And if there’s any misalignment in this, it will show in your EVP - and you need to take a look at your organisational health. But that’s another story for another day!

So suddenly there appears the line of action.

Understand your EVP; investigate and work with your organisational health if there’s any disconnect between that and your outward employer brand; promote your employer brand as part of the attraction process; and then - this is where it gets really interesting if you get it right - bring your EVP into every stage in your recruitment lifecycle.

You can start with the attraction part; but that’s comparatively simple. More importantly, does your EVP continue to flex your employer brand message across other parts of the lifecycle? Through all your stages of induction, internal comms, reviews, social media, email messaging, rewards? Do you use it to create real employee advocates? With those, life becomes so much easier. There’s no better way to ensure consistently successful, high-quality hires than letting your existing employees do it for you!

And finally, you might be thinking - this seems like a lot of hard work. So why’s it all so important?

The stats don’t lie. Companies with positive employer brands get twice as many applications than those without, and are three times as likely to make quality hires.

So, make sure to utilise that EVP in the war for talent - it may well be the smartest move you can make.

Your EVP has to be an absolutely fundamental part of everything you stand for as a company