How to Develop an Employer Value Proposition That Attracts and Retains Top Talent
We want to create an environment for our team to perform at their best.
That’s Zavvy’s employer value proposition.
A profound statement that guides our decisions regarding the way we collaborate, develop, and hire.
And there's just no way around creating a competitive employer brand without it.
Until a decade earlier, companies controlled the "hiring game." Candidates, experienced and inexperienced alike, waited for hours to be scrutinized during tedious recruiting processes.
Stopping to question whether the company would be the "right fit "was unheard—nay, unthinkable.
The employer knew about the candidate, and that was it. It didn't matter that the candidate had little to no knowledge about the employer or its processes, core values, and culture.
"You're hired" was all the candidates wanted to hear.
Nearly 90% of the U.S. job market is candidate-driven today. Candidates have more control and opportunities in their hands. In fact, it's the employers who are fighting the war of talent.
We want our employees to know they are Zavvy's most important assets. So an employer value proposition is essential to market Zavvy to ideal candidates. And looking at the solid team we've built, we're strong EVP advocates.
We've created this guide to help you develop your own, unique employer value proposition and communicate it to the right talent.
🏆 What Is an Employer Value Proposition?
An employer value proposition (EVP) is a company's promise to a potential employee, describing what they can expect in exchange for their talent, experience, and skills. It's a strategic statement explaining a company's core benefits and perks that make up the wider employer brand.
Employer brand highlights real-life experiences and perceptions of what it's like to work at a company.
How does an employer value proposition work?
A well-rounded and robust EVP emphasizes your company's identity and culture. It strengthens your employer brand and facilitates better recruitment by giving you access to top-quality talent.
According to a LinkedIn report, 72% of business leaders now acknowledge that employer branding significantly impacts their ability to recruit high-quality candidates. Top candidates are spoilt for choice when it comes to jobs today. A candidate-attuned EVP gives candidates a reason to apply and be a part of your company.
Who should develop your employee value proposition?
Generally, it's the HR department that creates a company's EVP. But we highly recommend gathering inputs from everyone—executives, senior managers, regular employees, or people responsible for recruiting talent—so it's aligned with your overall company strategy, core values, and working philosophy.
❓ Why Does a Company Need an Employer Value Proposition?
A university survey of 2,500 HR, talent acquisition, and marketing managers from over 50 countries concluded the following companies had an employer value proposition:
- 67% of large companies (more than 10,000 employees)
- 55% of medium-sized companies (1000-9999 employees)
- 30% of small companies (fewer than 999 employees)
Moreover, 84% of the world's top hundred most attractive employers (as per college students) had a solid employer value proposition.
All these numbers prove employer branding is critical today. But to give you more perspective, here are a few straightforward reasons why a compelling employer brand is vital for your company.
1. Attract More Top-Quality Job Candidates
You have to position yourself as the first-choice employer in your industry to attract the best talent for the job. Before applying or accepting an offer, the best candidates interact with an average of 12-18 touchpoints, including your 'Careers' page and social media profiles.
How do you stand out? Figure out ways to improve your overall candidate experience and communicate it to potential employees. Think about the following:
- Are you providing enough information at every touchpoint to encourage people to move forward in the application process?
- Does the information address factors most critical to a job seeker?
- Is your brand message effective and consistent across all the touchpoints?
Your EVP and employer brand strategy should cover the above issues to provide qualified candidates with all the information they need to make an informed decision. Once you do that, you'll see an influx in the number of job applications you receive for an advertised role.
2. Lower Employee Turnover
Additionally, you make many investments in your staff over time, including their onboarding and training and development. As a result, long-tenured employees become paramount to your business's productivity and bottom line, too.
It's why Fortune 500 companies readily make massive investments in retaining the top talent. It's also why you don't want to lose your top employees to a competitor just a few months after hiring them.
Luckily, investing in your employer brand and EVP can have a positive influence on your business's bottom line, as well as deliver a substantial down investment (ROI). A strong employee value proposition can lower your turnover by 69%.
An EVP concisely describes why anyone would want to work at your company, and when used correctly, can increase your new employees' commitment by 30%.
3. Reduced Cost-Per-Hire
When hiring new employees, you aren't only paying for job advertising and background checks—you also pay the recruiter who sources, interviews, and negotiates compensation with those employees.
Multiple hidden recruitment costs add up over time, increasing your talent acquisition costs. But if you invest in building a strong employer brand, you can cut down your total cost-per-hire by 50%.
A strong EVP attracts and familiarizes more candidates with your organization, which, in turn, will make them more proactive towards applying for jobs. Eventually, you can build a strong talent pool and entice more qualified candidates organically.
This means fewer field interviews and less expenditure on job board fees, sourcing, and social media ads—all the while you deliver a better candidate experience.
4. Increasing Your Talent Pool
Having a talent pool is a strong advantage, which is why we've unpacked this benefit in more detail.
Gartner found companies with well-managed employer brands can source from more than 60% of the labor market. Another polling suggests that 84% of candidates consider company reputation a critical factor in their decision-making process.
An attractive and informative EVP can position your company as a better place to work than your competition. If employees see something they like, they'll naturally apply for the job.
5. Boosted Employee Engagement
Gallup discovered an employees' alignment to their company's core values directly affects their engagement. Another survey by Ladders states that 67% of workers gave an organization's mission more critical than the offered pay.
An authentic EVP can help you hire more engaged candidates who are genuinely committed to your company's mission, vision, and values. When you clearly convey your core values, you'll attract people who believe in them. Communicating your mission and vision both internally and externally also becomes easier.
Unfortunately, many companies still don't understand this.
Gallup conducted another study that discovered that only 41% of employees understand what their company stands for and how its employer brand is unique from the competition. This means 59% of the workforce isn't interested to learn more about their company, clearly showing their lower engagement levels.
If you want to improve employee engagement, you need to develop a strong employer brand and EVP that effectively communicates your 'why 'to current and potential employees.
6. Faster (and More Effective) Hiring
Lengthy recruitment processes are already frustrating and costly. And when you're done hiring candidates, you also have to successfully onboard new employees, which can again be expensive if you don't do it well.
The solution is simple: a practical and faster recruitment process, and luckily, your employer brand can ensure just that.
According to LinkedIn, a positive employer brand can make hiring one to two times faster. In addition, candidates are more likely to reach out to you, which reduces the overall sourcing time for your recruiters and speeds up the whole hiring process.
Additionally, when candidates know your company and what it stands for, they can determine whether your environment is a good fit. This discourages unqualified candidates from applying and gives you access to qualified candidates faster.
📝 How to Build Your Own Employee Value Proposition?
We've experienced first-hand the impact a strong employee value proposition can have on your ability to attract and retain high-quality talent. But how can you create an EVP that convinces a potential candidate to apply at your company?
Here's a list of questions to consider when developing your employer value proposition:
1. What Kind of Remuneration Do You Offer Employees?
Remuneration is a solid starting point when creating your EVP. Moreover, it's one of the major factors that prospects consider when applying or accepting jobs.
Evren Esen, director of the SHRM's survey programs, commented on remuneration's impact on employee satisfaction scores:
"Many workers over the last decade have been frustrated by stagnant wage growth. In addition, younger workers may be particularly focused on compensation as they pay off college loans and try to establish their savings so they can purchase homes and start families. So while factors such as respectful treatment and trust remain important, compensation is a critical job satisfaction factor—especially among Millennial and Gen X employees."
If your offered remuneration is higher than the industry standard, applicants will positively perceive your company. But a higher remuneration package doesn't make up for a bad work environment or toxic work culture, so you can still attract skilled employees at average or low pay if they have other USPs.
2. How Would You Describe Your Company's Working Environment?
Your EVP should highlight your workplace's engaging and healthy work environment. In addition, you want to assure the candidates you'll provide them with the necessary tools and resources to boost productivity and grow their skillset.
Here are a few tips from Sarah Gibbons-Scheets, Senior Director and Solution Leader, Workplace at CBRE, that you can use to design a healthy workplace:
- Enhance your employees' quality of life
- Encourage teams to act independently
- Create opportunities for employees to connect and engage with each other
- Invest a greater part of your office investment in services
Anything that facilitates employee enablement counts. Perks like a state-of-the-art office, access to snacks, and a healthy work-life balance can sway more people to apply for the role. Post-pandemic, offering employees the option to work from home is also a considerable advantage, especially for candidates who value flexibility when looking for jobs.
3. How's the Job Security at Your Company?
Think about what you can offer to appeal to your ideal candidate.
Growth opportunities? Respectable company history? Market-leading position? An agile environment?
Employees love the feeling of security. They want to be reassured that their position isn't threatened from a commercial perspective. Therefore, mentioning job security can help you sway risk-averse candidates towards your company.
4. Do You Offer Career Growth Opportunities?
58% of employees agree that professional development and growth contribute to job satisfaction, which, in turn, makes it essential for employee retention. Employees are also 15% more engaged in the workplace when they're happy with the way their career is progressing.
So if you have good career opportunities and promotion prospects in your company, highlight them in your EVP. Here are a few guiding questions to help you go about this:
- Do you encourage your employees to develop their skillsets and abilities?
- Does your company offer free training courses?
- Does a specific role offer faster promotion?
- Can you provide examples of home-grown talent rising in the ranks?
If you answer yes to even one of the above questions, try incorporating that in your EVP. Companies who present a transparent outlook to new employees will always score brownie points among high potentials on the job market.
5. What Are Your Company's Biggest USPs?
What makes your company better/unique than your rivals?
You want to discover your strengths from an employees' perspective. The best way to do this is to ask your current employees directly. Prepare a questionnaire or do face-to-face interviews to learn what your employees have to say about working for your company, and incorporate that in your EVP.
Alternatively, you can use Zavvy's Connection Programs to connect with your employees and have meaningful conversations regarding this.
Ask employees why they decided to join your company, why they are still working there, and why they'd recommend the company to their friends.
You can also take a peek at your competitor's value propositions and company culture examples for inspiration. Don't copy blindly, though. It's your company's unique selling points that you want to highlight.
Once you figure out the answers to the above questions, sit down and follow the steps below:
- List all your benefits or reasons people would like to work for you.
- Identify common themes in your list, and consolidate the most significant benefits into 3 to 5 main pillars you'll use to develop your EVP. Choose elements that work best for you and your company to attract the right candidate.
- Start writing your EVP's rough draft. A good tip is to write three sentences describing each pillar and then narrow them down to build a single EVP.
- Keep refining your draft until you're satisfied with the result.
Congratulations! You have a brand-new, employee-oriented employer value proposition ready for circulation.
📣 How to Effectively Communicate Your EVP?
At this stage, you have your employer value proposition ready. But all that effort won't mean anything if you don't communicate it with your current and potential employees.
Below are a few ways to leverage your EVP to create more brand awareness and support.
- Job Boards. Contextualize your EVP for the position you're hiring and add it to the job description. Speak to the persona you're trying to reach, giving them a brief idea of your company culture. Even better if you can add a few employee testimonials demonstrating the positive work environment.
- Website and Social Media Platforms. Update your employer brand on social media, showing your EVP to candidates and visitors. Present it across all social channels, and add it to your website's 'Careers' page. A few companies also post it on their LinkedIn, again a great idea.
- Company Blog. Your EVP can be great fodder for content, especially if you want to build your employer brand. For starters, you can design content around the main pillars of your EVP. If a healthy work-life balance is one of your benefits, you can create blog posts, images, and videos around that topic and share it with your audience.
- Events and Career Fairs. Your EVP can be a powerful piece of communication when recruiting in large numbers or from colleges. Since it highlights all the benefits of working at your company, you can attract more talent and create a talent pool. But don't get carried away and end up promising things you don't offer. Stay authentic.
- Employee Referral Program: If you have an employee referral program, you have another opportunity to share your EVP. Use it to strengthen your referral program and encourage employees to share their love for your organization socially, and refer good candidates from their network who would make a good fit for a specific role.
Remember, it takes more than one channel to change the market perception of your company and employer brand. So experiment with a wide range of messaging—blogs, interviews, sponsored content, slideshows, and videos—to tip the scales in your favor.
🏢 Best Examples of Employer Value Proposition for Inspiration
Below are our top seven Employer Value Proposition examples.
"We're building a company people love. A company that will stand the test of time, so we invest in our people and optimize for your long-term happiness."
"We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world."
"Do cool things that matter."
"We're Shopify. Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone – but we're not the workplace for everyone. We thrive on change, operate on trust, and leverage the diverse perspectives of people on our team in everything we do. We solve problems at a rapid pace. In short, we get shit done."
"You can make a difference by helping to build a smarter, safer, and more sustainable world."
"Lead the future of Beauty. When you love your work and the people you work with, amazing things can happen."
"From empowering mentorships to customized coaching, PwC provides you with the support you need to help you develop your career. You'll work with people from diverse backgrounds and industries to solve important problems. Are you ready to grow?"
📈 3 Best Practices to Strengthen Your Employer Value Proposition
Let's look at a few EVP best practices that can help enhance your proposition further.
1. Aim for Distinctive and Impactful
No two EVPs are the same, but one is always more impactful. So you want yours to be the one that differentiates with impact.
Think about what your company can offer the best applicants who are already overflowing with job opportunities. Provide tangible and honest benefits that strike a chord with potential employees. If candidates don't find your EVP relatable, they won't be interested in working for you.
Use action words when describing tasks and responsibilities to make the copy more engaging and meaningful. For example, don't say 'You'll be responsible for XYZ;' say 'You'll drive results for XYZ.'
2. Be Clear, Concise, and Specific
Your choice of wording makes a world of difference in how employees and candidates react to your EVP.
Avoid unnecessary jargon or generic phrases, and focus on making the proposition scannable. Candidates mostly skim through job descriptions, so long paragraphs or sentences are an absolute no.
That said, you can use industry jargon when customizing the proposal for specific jobs, especially if the role is technical.
3. Refine, Refine, Refine
Look for opportunities where you can tighten, trim, and enhance your EVP copy. While you don't want your proposition to lose meaning, it shouldn't have unnecessary words.
Here are a few guiding factors that helped us refine Zavvy's EVP:
- On Brand and Relevant: Replicate your brand's tone of voice and personality. If you have a more serious niche, make your EVP formal; keep your copy upbeat if you're targeting millennials and Gen-Z.
- Crisp: Use short, concise sentences. Communicate your company's benefits and perks without overwhelming the reader with flowery and vague language.
- Descriptive and Specific: Paint a (strong) picture of your company with the power of words. Originality is key here—avoid anything generic to stand out to applicants. No stale information, please! Try to incorporate the latest company or industry trends for relevance.
- Authentic: Your EVP isn't just a tool that helps you attract and retain talent—it's a promise you make to employees. Ensure you only include statements you can deliver to build loyalty and a truly productive work environment. Otherwise, you'll find yourself seeing your highest ever turnover rate along with a bad reputation.
EVP is Job Market 2022's MVP
Emphasizing your employment value proposition model will help you win the war for talent in 2022. Once you've hired your dream team, use Zavvy's employee enablement suite to help your people onboard, connect, and continuously develop. Put them in the driver's seat and boost company performance.