How to make a great Employee Value Proposition?

Volodymyr Bilyk
26 August 2020

Employer Branding is like a puzzle. There are numerous elements at play, and the more of them are in place, the more effective becomes the effort. Employee Value Proposition is one of the central components of the Employer Branding strategy. 

In our previous employer branding article, we discussed the importance of the company’s mission, vision, and values. This time, we will talk about the role of the employee value proposition in attracting and engaging candidates.

What is the Employee Value Proposition?

In one way or another, EVP explains what employees get in return for their effort and value they generate for the business. It is a layout of rewards and benefits an employee receives as a result of his workplace performance.

In a nutshell, Employee Value Proposition brings together what the talent wants and what the company wants in a mutually beneficial way. Its goal is to engage job seekers and convince them to apply to the position.

Employee Value Proposition is a natural extension of employer brand, albeit formulated from the job seeker perspective addressing their needs and requirements and informing about the benefits. Career Page is its usual place on the company’s website.

  • In essence, EVP is what Unique Selling Point (aka USP) is to the product or service – the decision-defining reason for choosing your company as a workplace and not that other one. 

Now let’s take a closer look at what makes EVP click with the candidates.

How to make a compelling Employee Value Proposition? A short guide

What makes Great Employee Value Proposition?

It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all EVP solution. It all depends on the company’s context. 

On the other hand, EVP still needs to reflect Company Culture and Values between the lines. So what makes a compelling Employee Value Proposition?

However, there are common elements—the reasons why the candidates are applying to the position.

Overall, the employee value proposition breaks down into three elements.

1. What is the best way to communicate Career Opportunities through Employee Value Proposition?

  • Career development. The ability and chance to develop are amongst the biggest motivators for employees. When the company communicates this benefit from the get-go – it implies that it is interested in a long-term relationship with the employee, not limited to one position.
  • Assurance of Company’s Stability. This one is tricky because the concept is overused. The message you need to communicate is, “we won’t go out of business anytime soon, and sure won’t drop you off the cliff.” The best way to do it is to elaborate upon the company’s mission, emphasizing building a robust business infrastructure that can withstand “trying times.”
  • On-site training and upskilling opportunities. Many job seekers are eager to grow within the company. Upskilling is especially important when it comes to junior specialists. Investing in their growth often results in loyal, long-term employees.
  • Evaluation and feedback. The evaluation system is like the ground rules of employment. It covers performance and compensation (more on the latter a bit later).  The goal is to relay the message, “the company appreciates the job done well.”
    • The performance part revolves around key performance indicators. Usually, there are several tiers – realistic, optimistic, and pessimistic. 
    • Also, it is crucial to communicate that the company prevents an employee from failing by providing timely and constructive feedback. 

2. How to address Compensation benefits in the Employee Value Proposition?

Here are the things EVP needs to address:

  • Salary and compensation system satisfaction. Whether you like it or not, the job seekers are in for the money. Because of that, it is essential to communicate that “the money’s right.” 
    • Pretty much every job opening has this enigmatic phrase “competitive salary.” Recruiters should elaborate on this point during the interviews.
  • Salary Evaluation. The compensation part of the evaluation system communicates cause and effect mechanics. It is critical to avoid any negative implications such as fines for failing to deliver KPI.
  • Raises, and promotions. Getting on the next level is the other important aspect. It is also vital to explain its hows and whys as a result of efficient work and consistent results.

3. How does the Employee Value Proposition reflect Work Environment?

Describing Work Environment in EVP is a big challenge from the semantic point of view. These aspects are often reduced to buzzwords and rendered meaningless. Because of that, it is important to elaborate on key points. 

  • The employee’s role and responsibility in correlation with the company’s goals and plans. It is all cause and effect. For example, marketing contributes to the brand awareness of the product that results in the increasing demand that enables the company’s growth.
  • Recognition and Personal achievements
  • Collaboration and team spirit. It is important to emphasize that no employee is left on their own and that everyone is there to help. 
  • Trust and Autonomy – no one likes micromanagement. It is essential to point out that the company respects employees’ skills and knowledge and trusts them to achieve goals on their own.
  • Work-life balance – it is crucial to point out that the company respects the personal life. In addition to that, this aspect includes such benefits as providing time-off, sabbaticals, and other breaks.

But what about the challenges?

How to Avoid Employee Value Proposition Challenges? 

How to avoid employee value proposition challenges?

The thing with composing an Employee Value Proposition is that it is really easy to get into the warp and lose track of your ultimate goal.

1. Employee Value Proposition is Indistinguishable from the Competition

One of the most common employee value proposition challenges is differentiation from the competition. 

  • While it seems evident from the outside, it is tough to pull off when your goal is to present the company’s benefits. Mostly because the benefits itself are generic and nondescript (like “competitive salary” or “growth opportunities”).

How to make it right?

  • Provide context for the benefits. If it is a “competitive salary,” then elaborate on what makes it such. If it is “flexible working hours” – explain what it means and how it works.
  • For example, a “competitive salary” is based on market study and designed to satisfy the needs of job seekers. Or “flexible working hours” reflect the differences in operating on the remote workplaces (this is a big deal these days).
  • On the other hand, you can explain that “competitive salary” is built upon a multi-factor employee performance evaluation that includes guaranteed compensation and performance bonuses. Similarly, you can interpret “flexible working hours” as the company adopting an asynchronous approach and adjusting to different work patterns.

2. Employee Value Proposition takes a Wrong Point of View

Taking an incorrect point of view is the other common mistake that happens when defining EVP

  • Such EVP present a slightly reiterated version of the mission statement with no coherent indication of what employees get in return. 
  • However, it fails to reflect on what potential candidates are looking for in potential employers. The narrative is about the company, not the employees. The result – EVP doesn’t work.

How to make it right?

  • As was previously mentioned, EVP works when it engages the candidate. In the case of job seeker, there are clear-cut needs and requirements, and you need to reflect them (see EVP components). 
  • Think about composing EVP this way: it is an answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?”

3. Employee Value Proposition is Much Ado About Nothing

The other common problem with EVP is too much hype and too little substance

  • For example, Company X states that their company employees “make an impact,” but none of the surrounding messaging explains what it means. 

It is evident that the company promotes a proactive mindset, but its delivery is too broad. Of course, the employee “makes an impact,” that’s the whole point of doing a job. 

  • A better way of communicating it would be something like, “Company X gives you a platform to make an impact.

In Conclusion

As you can see, if done right, the employee value proposition can work magic in attracting and engaging potential candidates. Well-defined and fine-tuned EVP answers basic questions the job seeker has regarding the company and helps him to decide whether he wants to apply.

If you need assistance with the polishing of your employee value proposition or need to iron out its contents, our employer branding consultants can help make it work.