Employment10 Feb 2023Simon Druery

Creating your Employee Value Proposition Framework

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a powerful marketing asset. Done well, it can be a key differentiator and competitive advantage for businesses of all sizes. A strategic-led EVP can help attract top talent and build employer brand awareness. In short, an EVP answers the question: "What makes my company an attractive place to work over other employers?" The right process, tools and knowledge are essential to taking the right steps to creating your EVP. With time and dedication, your EVP will develop; helping your Employer Brand become more recognisable, memorable and support your business goals.

Organisations that take the time to consider their Employee Value Proposition increase their chances to become a more attractive employer for top talent and as a result, become a more sustainable business in the long run.

This blog will provide you with insightful tips on how to create an impactful Employee Value Proposition. 

Components of an EVP Framework

Several factors come together to create an Employee Value Proposition that will accurately reflect how your employees and candidates perceive your organisation as an employer. A company's EVP is made up of many things, some of which will be tangible (e.g., free access to the local gym) and others experiential (e.g., flexible working hours). There are five critical elements to a comprehensive EVP: Benefits, Environment, Career Development, Culture and Journey. You can focus on these vital areas to build a magnetic EVP for your company.

Process of creating an EVP Framework

Businesses must invest time and resources into creating a strategic-led EVP that accurately represents their brand, vision and values. After all, your EVP’s purpose is to attract and retain top employees - essential talent to help your business reach its goals. If you're looking to create or improve your EVP, there are a few key steps to consider:

1) Evaluate - Research Employees and Competitors

It is essential to start by defining an objective. Doing so, will help ensure more accurate and helpful input from key stakeholders, leaders and employees regarding both their experiences and what information you seek to learn. This, in turn, will provide greater insight into how well needs are currently being met, as well as areas where improvements could be made.

This includes planning your research to ensure the right insights will be uncovered. Key activities include; reviewing any relevant existing research, leadership interviews (to garner the aspiration), employee focus groups (often segmented by business area which can help draw out specific themes that will attract and retain different types of employees). Additionally, further quantitative research via surveys may be held to validate the qualitative findings from the focus groups across the organisation.

Importantly, you can brand in a bubble. So researching your key competitors for talent is essential. Benchmarking how you are performing against other employers can help you identify ‘white space’ or your competitive advantage in the market.

This first phase delivers clarity on why employees love working at your company and what sets you apart from other employers.

2) Calibrate - Align your strategy with vision, values and brand

Your EVP must be developed in context with your business vision, values and overall brand strategy. Creating this alignment is critical to your EVP.

Consider the aspiration; where is the business headed and what do talent need to bring to be successful? Consider the market; what trends are in play that you can turn into an opportunity? Consider what talent segments you need to recruit for as a higher priority to support the business’ growth strategy.

Once all the data has been analysed, explore some strategic directions the EVP and Employer Brand can take. This is called an Employer Brand Essence.
An Employer Brand Essence allows your senior leadership team to buy in and set the direction of your EVP. An Employer Brand Essence is not a marketing tagline, but rather inspiration to help guide the final EVP messaging and Employer Brand creative.

This phase delivers a draft EVP and Employer Brand Essence that strategically aligns with your talent and business objectives.

3) Create - Conceptualise, Test and Refine

This is your opportunity to craft something only you can own. You don’t want to fall into the trap of selling an entire industry. While you want to make sure your creative complements your corporate brand, consider ways that your Employer Brand can stand out from competitors.

To make your Employer Brand more ownable, leverage a unique tone of voice, develop iconic graphics, hero ‘real people’ and their stories via video and photography, enlist ambassadors across all business areas and levels to amplify the exciting work and projects that teams are doing right now. It’s also important to share the journey ahead. What is the vision employees will be required to follow? What will be the challenges ahead? What will be the attributes needed to be successful here? All these elements can make your employment story come to life like no other. 

Explore different ways of bringing the Employer Brand to life, based on the approved essence. And then test these concept visualisations with both employees and senior leaders. Refine if necessary to ensure the creative resonates authentically.  

This phase delivers a magnetic Employer Brand that is authentic, relevant and differentiating to attract, engage and retain the right employees.

4) Activate - Produce assets and empower stakeholders

Now it’s time to take your approved EVP and bring it to life using testimonials from real employees. Authentic stories are the number one way to help showcase your unique employee experience in a way that is relatable to candidates and employees.

Source a diverse and representative group of employees who are keen to share their stories. Pre-survey them to ensure their stories are aligned with your EVP key messages. Then get creative. Be efficient and do a multi-day video and photography shoot to maximise time with your employees. With a 3-day shoot you should expect to build an extensive library of diverse assets you can leverage in different ways across all your employment marketing channels. Maximise all your asset generation by extracting micro content from macro content. That is turning 1 video into; a podcast, many smaller videos, quote cards, blogs and more.

Make sure you launch your EVP internally first. Use company resources like the company blog, email blasts and launch events. Look for ways to operationalise your EVP into all employee touchpoints. This way your EVP is much more than a marketing tool, but a guide for creating and improving systems, processes, hiring, firing and rewarding people. 

Externally, showcase your EVP on all your owned platforms like your careers website, social media and job boards. Doing this will show potential candidates what your company offers and what sets you apart from other businesses.

This phase is key to bringing your EVP to life via branded collateral build for key channels, toolkits to empower internal stakeholders and taking your new brand to market both internally and externally.

5) Elevate - Measure and optimise your content

Measuring the impact of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and Employer Branding is complex. Why? Because there are so many factors that come into play that affect the degree of success. It depends on a wide variety of factors, such as; level of brand awareness, brand association, your brand positioning strategy, the channels used, the creative deployed, the messaging crafted, the segment of your target audience, the industry, location and even workforce trends which come and go. While quantitative measurements in our digital age makes tracking your Employer Brand marketing activity, such as likes, followers and impressions much more easy….measuring quality - is much harder.

This is why just looking at 'recruitment metrics' doesn’t tell the full picture either. As they aren't a 'true' reflection on your Employer Brand on their own, due to all the aforementioned factors as well. A more contemporary way to measure your Employer Brand is in terms of 'activities' or campaigns, not just in terms of 'hires',

given there are so many other factors.

To measure EVP in your organisation what matters is how you have improved as an organisation. As the famous James Ellis quotes:

“The only benchmark or metric that matters is whether you are getting better or not. You can’t compare yourself to others. You can only compare yourself to yesterday, and only you can decide what metric you want to base that comparison on.”
James Ellis

Employer Brand Expert

Consider first and foremost your 'objectives' for your Employer Branding or recruitment marketing activity and then align your metrics to it.

Some of the questions you can ask to help with this assessment may be;

- Are the quality of applications coming through of a better standard?

- Are the candidates more like the ideal candidate you want in your business?

- Has engagement on your social media channels increased?

- Are you experiencing less employee churn?

- Are you getting more applications from passive candidates?

Article by Simon Druery

Simon Druery is Director and Brand Strategist at Belong Creative. What gets him jumping out of bed each day is helping business owners and marketers craft brands that people want to belong to. When he’s not working you can find him travelling Australia in the family caravan and enjoying a tawny port by the fire.