Skip to content
Employee Experience
3 min

Employer Value Proposition (EVP): Unlocking the Key to Talent Acquisition and Retention

by Erica Thomas November 15, 2023

Think you know how employees feel about your company? Odds are, you have an idea. You hear the gossip and the praise; you read sites like Glassdoor; and hey—you work there, too. But are you using this information to its fullest potential?

Knowing what brings candidates to your company and what keeps employees around can be your secret weapon for talent acquisition and retention. And while all elements of your employer brand are important, establishing an employer value proposition (EVP) is vital. Even if you have an established EVP, making sure you can validate it with your employment audiences is beneficial from time to time.

The goal of an EVP is to generate excitement about working for your company. It clarifies what employees receive in return for their skills and time. If you need a refresher on the elements of employer branding strategy, check out our article on the 6 tips for creating distinctive talent and employer brands.

So, whether you need to build an EVP from scratch or validate your current approach, where do you start?

Understand your audience

As I mentioned earlier, you likely have an idea of what people like about your company. While you can use this input to guide your research approach, don’t solely rely on this as the basis for your EVP. Otherwise, you won’t uncover anything new. Instead, take the time to engage employees and let them tell you what stands out.

Use this opportunity to uncover why new employees joined your company, and map their employment journey to a few key touchpoints. Understand what’s kept long-term employees around. Evaluate how competitors are addressing candidates. If you’re unsure what to include, try a Four Cs framework to ensure your approach is comprehensive. An approach like this will make the gaps in the market—and, more importantly, the opportunity areas—very clear.

Define EVP “territory”

Just like a market-facing brand, your EVP should be based on what motivates your audience (in this case, candidates and employees) and what makes your brand unique.

Your research likely pointed out a few things:

  • What messages are overused among competitors, and what positions are competitors taking when addressing talent?
  • What do employees love about your organization? Based on what you saw across the competitive set, which of these points are truly unique?

If you can answer these questions, you will have a clearly defined direction, or “territory” for your EVP.

Develop your EVP and communication tools

When it comes to the EVP statement itself, there are many variations to choose from. Whichever you decide to use, your statement should loosely cover:

“At [organization], we offer [benefit] to employees who value [goal or outcome].”

In addition to your EVP statement, you can develop tools to communicate it consistently with different audiences across channels. A well-defined messaging framework can distill your EVP and specific proof points to each audience. For example, current employees and candidates may hold different values based on where they are in their employment journey. A messaging framework helps you flesh out those differences to guarantee relevance to each distinct audience.

Activate your new EVP

An EVP can be expressed at physical events like career fairs, through digital experiences like job postings or career sites, and during verbal communications such as interviews. Use what you learned through research about your audiences to develop the perfect omnichannel launch plan for you. Just don’t forget to benchmark and establish metrics that will help track progress and prove the value of this investment.

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), replacing an employee can cost between 50 to 60 percent of that employee’s salary—or 6-9 months’ pay, not including other losses related to productivity. It’s more fruitful to retain current talent than it is to rebound from turnover. While much of it comes down to benefits like pay and PTO, a strong culture and employer brand foster greater loyalty and make employee relationships more durable over time as you weather inevitable ups and downs.

If you’re prepared to tell a compelling story that highlights your company’s distinct value, you’ll quickly gain an edge in a competitive hiring market. It’s never too late to begin investing in your employer brand. Even if you aren’t planning a hiring campaign any time soon, look at it as an investment in retention of current employees. Talent wants to know what’s in it for them, so don’t make them work for it. It’s your job to make it clear why your organization is the best choice.

Photo Credit: Jason Leung | Unsplash

Erica Thomas
Senior Brand Strategist

Erica is a Senior Brand Strategist at One North. She works with clients and other cross-disciplinary strategists to mine information, develop insights, and create stellar branding and marketing strategies that support business goals. Erica brings her unrelenting curiosity to everything she does, from political docuseries to target audience research. She graduated from Aurora University with a bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Marketing.